The US$137,235,575 auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery in December set a world record for the most valuable sale of jewellery in auction history.
The landmark auctions of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s New York from December 3-17 realised a total of US$156,756,576 with unprecedented interest from bidders throughout the world, who gathered in Christie’s flagship Rockefeller Center saleroom to compete in person, on the phone, on-line and by absentee bid to win one of the Collection’s 1778 lots of jewellery, 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.
At the completion of the four-day auctions, Chris Wilding, son of Elizabeth Taylor and member of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust said his mother “always acknowledged that she was merely the temporary custodian of the incredible things she owned”.
“I think she would be happy to know that her collections will continue to enrich the lives of those who have acquired pieces.”
The auctions also set a world record for the most valuable sale of jewellery in auction history – totalling US$137,235,575 – as well as numerous other world records for jewellery.
The top lot of the sale, and of the Collection, was the legendary 16th century pearl, La Peregrina, which realised US$11,842,500, setting two world auction records: for an historic pearl and for any pearl jewel. A gift from Richard Burton in 1969, this remarkable pearl of 203 grains in size was discovered in the 1500s in the Gulf of Panama and was once part of Spain’s crown jewels.
All sales proceeds will be directed to the Elizabeth Taylor Trust.