|Phone bidders compete with those on the auction floor at Christie's New York during the first day of the Elizabeth Taylor auction. Photo credit: Christie's|
The landmark auctions of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s New York from December 3-17 realized a combined total of more than $156.75 million with every single item sold. Among its achievements:
* The most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history—the two-day jewelry sale along (December 13-14) fetched more than $137.2 million;
* The most valuable collection of fashion ever sold at auction--the live sale totaled more than $5.5 million;
* Christie’s first-ever “Online-Only” auction—conducted in parallel to the live auctions—generated more than 57,000 bids and took in more than $9.5 million;
* Six Items sold for more than $5 million;
* 26 items sold for more than $1 million;
The opening night jewelry sale (December 13) alone set seven world auction records; among them:
* The world auction record for a pearl jewel, “La Peregrina,” the 16th Century pearl on a necklace designed by Cartier for Taylor, sold for $11.8 million.
* The world auction record for a colorless diamond per carat, the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond (also known as the Burton-Taylor Diamond). The 33.19-carat Asscher-cut D color potentially flawless diamond sold for more than $8.8 million, or $265,697 per carat.
* The world auction record for an emerald jewel and an emerald per carat went to an emerald and diamond pendant brooch by Bulgari—more than $6.5 million or $280,000 per carat.
* The world auction record for an Indian jewel, the heart-shaped Taj Mahal Diamond, sold for more than $8.8 million.
* The world auction record for a ruby per carat, A Ruby and Diamond Ring, By Van Cleef & Arpels sold for more than $4.2 million or $421,981 per carat.
* The world auction record for a pair of natural pearl pendants, pearl and diamond pendants by Bulgari sold for nearly $2 million.
The sale drew unprecedented interest from bidders throughout the world, who gathered in Christie’s flagship Rockefeller Center saleroom to compete in person, on the phone, online and by absentee bid to win one of the Collection’s 1,778 lots of jewelry, fashion, decorative arts and film memorabilia. The total far exceeded Christie’s pre-sale expectations for the sale as a whole and for individual items, which were frequently hammered down for five, ten, or even 50 times their estimate in some cases.
As one of the most highly-anticipated sales in auction history, the collection generated intense interest from bidders throughout the world, with 36 different countries represented during the four days of live auctions.
Of the sales, Chris Wilding, son of Elizabeth Taylor and member of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust said, “My mother always acknowledged that she was merely the temporary custodian of the incredible things she owned. Today, I think she would be happy to know that her collections will continue to enrich the lives of those who have acquired pieces. My family is proud that our mother’s legacy as a celebrated actress, tireless AIDS activist, and accomplished businesswoman touched so many people’s lives that they wanted to have a part of it for themselves.”
All sales proceeds will be directed to the Elizabeth Taylor Trust. A portion of the profits generated by sales of exhibition tickets, event sponsorships and the ongoing sales of select publications will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. An estimated 58,000 visitors viewed highlights from the collection since September, when Christie’s launched an eight-city global exhibition and tour that reached Moscow, London, Los Angeles, Dubai, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong. The grand finale of the tour was a 10-day museum-quality public display of the complete collection that drew thousands of collectors and fans to the company’s flagship galleries in Rockefeller Center.
“The exhibition and sales of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor in New York have been the crowning achievement to a very strong year at Christie’s,” said Steven P. Murphy, CEO, Christie’s International. “The success of these sales, with bidders participating from all over the world, demonstrated not only a recognition of the taste and style of Miss Taylor, but also the convening power of Christie’s. I am very proud of our whole team, from all corners of our global operation. Their achievement was successfully bringing this event to fruition in a manner that paid homage to the panache and glamour of Elizabeth Taylor herself.”