Ackermann has kept the entire cache for some four decades, though work and family kept him from doing anything with them. Over the years, the price of storing and transporting them has added up to a considerable cost. The tiles weigh some 44 tons and were originally kept in Zürich, where Dalí had them stored; then Ackermann moved them to Berlin. Ackermann estimates he’s spent a “serious seven-figure” sum on the tiles over the years. He has never tried to sell them—until now.
“When you have a beautiful old-timer, a Studebaker-Packard in your garage, you can probably sell it to some old car fan, but if you have 60,000 of them you have a problem,” Ackermann quips.
Now, as he approaches 80, he is actively looking for a buyer, with the intention of donating the proceeds to his foundation, Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, which provides education for underprivileged children. The other 40,000 tiles from the original run have sold in private sales and auctions over the years, and according to Ackermann’s research, they have fetched as much as $2,300 for a set of six, and over €500 for just one.
Due to the tiles’ sheer quantity, Ackerman believes it’s unlikely he will attract a single buyer; laid out side-by-side, the tiles are said to cover a third of a football field. “I don’t think there is another weirdo like myself who would want to own 60,000 of these,” he says with a laugh.
He’s adamant, though, that they should not be used for a pool. “Each one of these beautiful pieces is an eye-catcher,” he notes. “They are very nice to be displayed over a large surface—not inside a swimming pool.”