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Elizabeth Taylor's jewels huge success at auction
December 14, 2011 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Tuesday at Christie's, Elizabeth Taylor's collection of jewelry brought $115.8 million most of it earmarked for her AIDS and other charities.

The highlight winning bid of $11.8M came early in the evening for the necklace set with La Peregrina, a legendary natural pearl found in the Gulf of Panama, taken to the Spanish court and later given to Mary Tudor by Spain's Phillip II in 1554. The expected star of the evening, the Elizabeth Taylor diamond ring given to her by Richard Burton, went for $8.8m, well above estimates. Most of the pieces sold above estimates, allowing Miss Taylor one final deft demonstration of how to use fame in a good cause.
posted by Anitanola (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
What was Christie's take?
posted by Auden at 2:03 PM on December 14, 2011


I'm sort of embarrassed to admit I didn't know Miss Taylor had even died.
posted by aught at 2:04 PM on December 14, 2011


To be fair, Maggie the cat is alive.
posted by General Tonic at 2:12 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Surely that FPP link above the jump should read $115 million. That's a fairly significant typo. Perhaps the mods could fix it?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:12 PM on December 14, 2011


This letter of hers is kind of great.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


why do auciton houses, a decade or more post , the jackie o auction, keep being suprised at these.
posted by PinkMoose at 2:20 PM on December 14, 2011


I suppose it's good press, it wouldn't have as much wow factor if the story was about the auction house getting exactly as much as they'd estimated.
posted by efalk at 2:32 PM on December 14, 2011


Wow... when they said on the radio earlier that one her pearl necklaces had sold for almost $12 million. I thought they meant one of these... Almost every one of those pieces in the list is incredible, one way or another.
posted by heatvision at 2:32 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


What was Christie's take?

What do you think it should be?

Some more ooh ahh pictures here.

Auction crazy best illustrated by the Edith Head necklace featuring the 19th and 18th century ivory opera tickets estimated at $1,500-2,000 which went for:

$314.500.00
posted by IndigoJones at 2:33 PM on December 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Auction houses take a percentage of the sales amount from the seller and an amount over the bid price, called a "buyer's premium" from the purchaser. These fees fund their considerable expenses which, in the case of this auction, included a world tour. Auction estimates are based on comparable sales and all available measurements of value available to the experts doing the estimates but no one can predict the market on the day. Everyone in the business keeps on being surprised by just what sells outstandingly well on a particular day and by how cheaply, as in well below estimate, some things can be bought on another day. These factors also keep buyers and sellers using the system. When money is tight, people sell things while others get amazingly good buys; when money is plentiful, people compete for prized items and the prices soar. The house, if well run, will continue to win.
posted by Anitanola at 2:38 PM on December 14, 2011


Wow, thanks Secret Quonsar! I'm overwhelmed!
posted by Space Kitty at 2:40 PM on December 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


Auden: the article says that these prices include the buyer's premium, but I believe the usual is situation is that the buyer pay the auction house something like 10% on top of the auction price.
posted by easily confused at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2011


how to use fame in a good cause

Yeah, she wins respect for that, and I wish more wealthy people were as keen for the same distinction.
posted by Segundus at 3:11 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that her clarion call to pay attention to the AIDS crisis pre-dated her peers by many, many years. It was an amazing leap for a star of her stature, and a huge risk given the political climate in which she began. Her leadership and inspiration will be missed.
posted by PranaBoy at 3:16 PM on December 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Bitchin'!
posted by Melismata at 3:18 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


What was Christie's take?

Good question. Christie's charge 20% buyer's premium on sales between $50K and $1m, and 12% on sales above $1m. I can't find a breakdown of the figures for this sale (the headline figure of $115.8m includes buyer's premium), but by my rough calculation, about $100m of the total was hammer price, so the remaining $15.8m is Christie's share of the take.
posted by verstegan at 3:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


These have always brought me luck.

Gay boys in the western world are coming out these days are doing it in a much more accepting society. But we had Elizabeth Fucking Taylor. Not a wash but...

I'm not the kind of guy who says "fabulous" a lot. But she sure was.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:24 PM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


Christie's charge 20%....

Worth noting that commissions are negotiable behind closed doors. I would not be at all surprised if Ms Taylor had not worked a deal in advance.

Then again, I would not be at all surprised if not.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:28 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


While we're on the topic of letters from Liz.

"It would do so much for us to get rid of the archaic stigma attached to the disease and to make people realize that it is no longer a minority disease; it can happen to anyone. It's nobody's fault and everybody's problem." Link
posted by docgonzo at 5:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The expected star of the evening, the Elizabeth Taylor diamond ring given to her by Richard Burton, went for $8.8m, well above estimates.

I mentioned that to my husband and he said now that I knew what he paid for it, he had to return it :'(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:00 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


When this auction catalog was first released my initial thought was "I can actually afford some of this stuff", immediately followed by "that means these estimates are ridiculously low, like all these celebrity auctions, and everything will go for way over the estimate".

I can't even articulate how delighted I am that Elizabeth Taylor worked so hard to fight AIDS in life, and didn't let a little thing like death stop her work.
posted by padraigin at 8:09 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, this certainly clears up some confusion about last night's episode of Glee.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:26 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


There was a letter I read in a Spanish class in which the letter writer appealed to Elizabeth Taylor to sell her diamonds to fund AIDS treatment. I can't find it now and my Spanish has died away. But it's kind of incredible to see this, although perhaps 20 years after the letter was written.
posted by Hactar at 6:42 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


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