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Donald Trump’s signed drawing of the New York City skyline (image courtesy Nate D. Sanders Auctions)

A doodle by Donald Trump of the Manhattan skyline has sold at auction for a grand total of $29,184 — over three times its starting price of $9,000. Placed on the market earlier this week by the Los Angeles–based Nate D. Sanders Auctions, the drawing is typical Trump, featuring the Trump Tower right at its center and the President’s nightmarish signature scrawled below it in gold marker. It’s an otherwise nondescript and childlike portrayal of New York City, with unadorned buildings lined up in a row like Tetris blocks, topped with triangle roofs.

It’s the kind of zero-creativity doodle you’d expect from a bored adult at a tedious meeting. But you’d think Trump would have put in a little more effort — perhaps add a few windows and ornaments, or at least attempt to depict the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building — for this drawing, considering the reason for its creation. Trump had inked this in the less dark age of 2005, as part of a literacy campaign. Along with personalities including John McCain and Charlize Theron, the reality TV star had been asked to decorate an envelope to be sold on eBay, with all proceeds going towards charity. Honestly, it probably took him longer to sign his illustration than it took to conceive of and execute it. And not to depress you, but for just a little more its buyer could’ve purchased this attractive sketch by 18th-century British artist Thomas Gainsborough.

The auction house describes the work, which is framed, as “very rare, with only a handful of such drawings known” — which seems strange, considering Trump’s love of illustrations. Still, 11 people felt compelled to bid on the uninspiring sketch; the winner — if we can call them that — remains unidentified.

“You wouldn’t find $29,000 for a presidential autograph except for when you’re going back to the founding fathers or Abraham Lincoln,” the auction house’s founder, Nate Sanders, told the New York Times.  “It’s an extremely high price, and it’s pretty much unprecedented for a modern president. Trump has that ‘wow’ factor.”

Yes. Wow, indeed.

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Claire Voon

Claire Voon is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Singapore, she grew up near Washington, D.C. and is now based in Chicago. Her work has also appeared in New York Magazine, VICE,...