Brooke Astor's beloved Bulgari necklace to be star lot as State auctions possessions scandal-hit family was denied right to inherit
Over 900 personal items of the late Mrs Astor will be sold by Sotheby's in New York next week on September 24
The collection is estimated to fetch up to $9.7 million, with lots starting at as little as $80
18:45 GMT, 18 September 2012
Tireless philanthropist and Manhattan socialite, Brooke Astor, will be sharing her wealth from beyond the grave on September 24 as 900 personal items from her estate will be put up for auction at Sotheby's.
The charitable millionaire, who died in 2007 at age 105, was a fixture in New York's high society, and her jewels became as well known as the socialite herself.
favourite emerald and diamond Bulgari necklace, estimated at
$350,000, is up for grabs along with dozens of dog paintings and porcelain tea sets, cumulatively worth up to $9.7million.
Old favourites: Brooke Astor's most precious personal items will go up for sale, including her favourite dazzling diamond and emerald necklace from Bulgari, which is estimated at
Presidential necklace: Brooke Astor wearing her Bulgari necklace (left) with President LB Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
The auction catalogue features a photograph of Mrs Astor
wearing the necklace while standing next to President Lyndon B. Johnson
at a Plaza Hotel dinner dance – and it is a piece she has worn on handfuls of outings.
From a small leather jewellery case starting at just $80, to a Tiepolo drawing for $400,000, a vast array of other personal items from Mrs Astor's Park Avenue apartment, and her Westchester mansion, Holly Hill, both currently under administration of New York State, will be up for grabs.
Philip Marshall, Mrs Astor’s
grandson, told Bloomberg Business Week: 'There are so many small objects that
are hopefully affordable for people. They were just as important to her
as her expensive paintings.'
as Mrs Astor wished, the proceeds will go to her favorite charities,
like the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the
Animal Medical Center.
Barking mad: The staircase at Brooke Astor's Westchester estate, Holly Hill, is lined with the paintings of the late socialite's favourite animal that will go up for auction in September
Priceless: William Nedham's A Toy Spaniel and a Springer Spaniel in a Landscape is just one of the many paintings of dogs owned by the late Mrs Astor
Animal auction: Among the highlights are Mrs Astor's dog paintings, many of which hung salon-style along the spiral stairwell in Holly Hill
Although the state, as
administrator, has the authority to sell assets of the estate, some have
said that donating proceeds to Mrs Astor's preferred beneficiaries is
not quite as simple as they would hope.
Mr Marshall told the Wall Street Journal in December:
'This complex estate remains in surrogate's court in Westchester. And it
is much more complicated than initially presumed… that
monies realized from the sale would go to charity.'
One person who won't be seeing any of auction's money will be his father, Anthony Marshall, who was found guilty
in 2009 of fraud and grand larceny, taking advantage of his mother's dementia in order to steal
millions of dollars from her.
all of Mrs Astor's furniture had originally been left to Anthony, after
his conviction he reached a settlement with the state attorney general
stipulating that all furniture be returned to her estate, leaving him
with just $14million.
his wife, whom Mrs Astor had a particular distaste for, was left one
necklace and two fur coats that were too small for her.
Ladylike touches: In 1953, Mrs Astor (pictured in 1991 going to a construction site for housing and homeless) married her third husband, Vincent Astor, the oldest son of millionaire John Jacob Astor IV
High society jewels: A fixture in New York's society, Ms Astor's jewels became as well known as the socialite herself, many of which will be auctioned off at Sotheby's
Precious gems: Admiring collectors have an eye on her beloved animal figurines and numerous teapots
Antique chic: Mrs Astor's ornaments and decorative accents like these Chinese lamps and George III mirror date back hundreds of years and were purchased in different parts of the world
High tea: Mrs Astor's teapots and romantic furniture pieces will also go up for auction on September 24
Admiring collectors have a keen eye on her beloved paintings of dogs, many of which hung salon-style along the spiral stairwell in Holly Hill, and her antique Chinese lacquer furniture dating back to the Qing dynasty.
1953, Mrs Astor married her third husband, Vincent Astor, the oldest
son of millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, who died on the Titanic in 1912.
As a child, she lived with her parents in China, where Asian art influenced her tastes dramatically.
Sotheby’s sale will include a Qianlong-period gilt bronze lion clock
stand, estimated at $220,000 and a pair of 18th-century famille-rose
porcelain vases, valued at $120,000.
December Sotheby's confirmed that Aaron Shikler's 1983 painting Mrs
Vincent Astor, Seated, would also be in included in the sale.
Charity clause: As Mrs Astor wished, the proceeds from her estate will go to her favorite charities, like the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Animal Medical Center
Stately home: The auction in September is to be held by Sotheby's at the Astor mansion in Westchester known as Holly Hill
Empire state of mind: Mrs Astor's New York apartment will provide the backdrop for one day of the sale