The beloved bull sculpture that symbolizes Wall Street capitalism is for sale, and bidding starts at $5 million. But any prospective buyer will have to keep the 7,000-pound bronze...

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NEW YORK — The beloved bull sculpture that symbolizes Wall Street capitalism is for sale, and bidding starts at $5 million.

But any prospective buyer will have to keep the 7,000-pound bronze “Charging Bull” where it is, in a park near the New York Stock Exchange, said its creator.

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“I put the bull up for sale because I need the money to create more masterpieces for New York,” said Arturo Di Modica, 63, who sculpted the slick, powerful-looking bull, which mysteriously appeared on Wall Street 15 years ago.

Di Modica insisted that any deal would require the buyer to donate the landmark sculpture to New York City, with the new owner’s name inscribed on a plaque to be placed next to it.

The buyer would be allowed a tax deduction.

“The bull must stay in New York,” said Di Modica in a telephone interview yesterday from Sicily. “I built it for them.”

He said he plans to give 10 percent of the sale proceeds to charity.

Di Modica was inspired to create the 16-foot-long bull as a symbol of strength and hope after the stock-market collapse of 1987.

It took him two years to complete in his New York studio and cost him more than $350,000.

At 1 a.m. on Dec. 15, 1989, Di Modica, with the help of 30 friends and a rented crane, lifted his majestic artwork onto a flatbed truck, drove it to the financial district in Lower Manhattan and dropped it off.

He had cased the area the day before, selecting a prime site on the sidewalk in front of the New York Stock Exchange and meticulously timing the police officers’ patrols to every eight minutes.

“It took us five minutes to drop it off and get out of there,” Di Modica recalled.

The next morning, the public was amazed to discover the massive crouching bull with big horns and flaring nostrils.

Little did Di Modica know that the bull was sitting in the spot designated for Wall Street’s Christmas tree.

The bull was transported five days later to Bowling Green Park, a city-owned park at the foot of Broadway.

It attracts tourists posing for photographs and investors superstitiously rubbing its horns for good luck.

Stefan Oppermann, owner of the Fine Arts Collection, which promotes artists and is representing Di Modica said those who have expressed interest in buying the bull are from the banking industry, large insurance companies and investment houses, as well as a few individuals.