The first time an influenza virus was found to be transmitted directly from birds to people, with infections linked to exposure to poultry markets. Six people in Hong Kong died. This virus was different because it moved directly from chickens to people, rather than having been altered by infecting pigs as an intermediate host. In addition, many of the most severe illnesses occurred in young adults similar to illnesses caused by the 1918 Spanish flu virus.
Despite Sotheby’s branding the two-part auction as “The Bernheimer Collection,” his stock proved a hard sell. Only 22 out of the 42 lots at the Nov. 24 evening sale found buyers, with a top price of 197,000 with fees for the 1732 Nicolas Lancret painting, “Le Menuet” — a frothy “fête champêtre” scene with childlike dancers — that had been purchased for 4,000 at auction in 2005.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “Whenever I see someone with a gun, I take it away and report it to police.”