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Known for keeping a low profile, John S. Middleton is the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Major League Baseball team. In the business world, Middleton is most famous for the $2.9 billion sale of his family’s cigar company, John Middleton Company, in 2007. The details surrounding Middleton’s collecting interests are shadowy, but one sale hints at Middleton’s art-market power. In 2010, the Economist reported that there was speculation that a representative for Middleton may have purchased Jasper Johns’s Flag (1960–66) for $28.6 million in a Christie’s auction of work owned by the writer Michael Crichton (who appeared on the ARTnews Top 200 from 2006 to 2008).

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John S. Middleton

Location:
Philadelphia

Source of wealth:
Manufacturing

Collecting area:
19th- and 20th-century American art

Top 200 appearance:
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Fun fact:

The John Middleton Company was founded in 1856 as a tobacco shop in Philadelphia by John S. Middleton's great-great-grandfather John Middleton. It is best known for its Black & Mild brand.