September 4, 2012

Brooke Astor Auction at Sotheby’s

Five years after her death, Brooke Astor’s possessions are finally being auctioned off by Sotheby’s. brookeMore than 900 lots of jewelry, art, porcelain, china, furniture and more will go under the hammer on September 24 and 25 in New York. The auction will benefit some of the charities Mrs. Astor supported during her long life: the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Historic Hudson Valley and the Animal Medical Center. The road to this final dispensation of Mrs. Astor’s possessions has been long, and very ugly and tragic.

I had a chance to scroll through the items up for auction and picked out some to share with you. One of the great things you can do on the Sotheby’s website is create your own catalogue of items that you choose. Here are some of my selections.brooke2

HERBERT HASELTINE  1877 - 1962
MIDDLE-WHITE SOW: WHARFEDALE ROYAL LADY
signed with the initials H.H and dated 1956 on the base bronze with gold patina on a marble base height 4 1/4 in.
ESTIMATE 10,000-15,000 USD

imageA FRENCH GOLD AND DIAMOND-SET BLONDE TORTOISESHELL CIGARETTE CASE, MAKER'S MARK JD A FLOWER BETWEEN,
EARLY 20TH CENTURY
The cover mounted in diamonds with initial "A" below a baron's coronet in an oval reserve, also with two diamond-set bands and a diamond-set thumbpiece. interior rims with maker's mark and French guarantee marks. length 3 1/8 in.
ESTIMATE: 700-900 USD

imageA CHINESE EXPORT SILVER, ENAMEL AND JADE PAGODA-FORM TABLE CLOCK
FIRST HALF 20TH CENTURY
marked Silver and Made in China, the movement probably later.
height 8 1/4 in.; width 5 3/4 in.; depth 5 3/4 in.
ESTIMATE 500-700 USD

imageA SET OF THIRTY-FOUR FORNASETTI STOVIGLIE PORCELAIN 'MALACHITE'-GROUND PLATES 1955
printed factory marks. diameter 8 1/2 in.
ESTIMATE 1,500-2,500 USD

imageA PAIR OF REGENCY STYLE CREAM AND GREEN PAINTED PAGODA-FORM STANDING BOOKCASES
height 6 ft. 1 in.; width 26 in.; depth 13 in.
ESTIMATE 2,000-3,000 USD

imageSIR CECIL BEATON 1904-1980  PORTRAIT OF BROOKE ASTOR
signed Beaton lower right, watercolor over pencil on paper
height: 21 by 16 in.
ESTIMATE 2,000-4,000 USD

imageA LARGE GROUP OF CERAMIC OR ENAMEL BOXES AND COVERS 20TH CENTURY
Together with a South Staffordshire bird-form bonbonnière and hinged cover and a Herend porcelain sugar bowl and cover. 67 pieces.
ESTIMATE 800-1,200 USD

imageA SUITE OF 18 KARAT GOLD, PLATINUM, DIAMOND AND ONYX JEWELRY,
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS, NEW YORK, CIRCA 1970
ESTIMATE 10,000-15,000 USD

Honestly, some of the prices on these items are pretty reasonable. One lot I saw was 213 travel books, and the estimate was $200-$300. To view the entire catalogue, lot by lot, click here.

27 comments:

  1. What a wonderful woman she was. I would think these things would go for a lot more. She was a NYC treasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was a little surprised by the low estimates.

      Delete
  2. I think Sotheby's deliberately undervalues them so when they do sell for much more than the projected price, it makes the auction look hot hot hot as well as making Sotheby's look like extremely good auctioneers. In an alternate universe where I'm staggeringly rich, I'd go for the Chinoiserie bookcases and the Haseltine hog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might have a point there, Tish. And I'd kill for that Chinoiserie bookcase, too!

      Delete
  3. So much more dignified than poor Albert Hadley's life collections being hawked on One Kings Lane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raina... i thought that was a little strange.

      Delete
  4. Yes, these items are going to sell for MUCH more than the estimated price. That diamond-encrusted case will probably bring at least a thousand, if not more. Love the pagoda book cases. Am rather surprised at the "ordinariness" of the ceramic boxes... they look like things I see every day in the thrift store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The provenance alone should raise the prices.

      Delete
  5. The printed price points are way too low. I only wish they were realistic and I would be bidding. How sad that these items --so personal--will be auctioned. Brooke Astor will never be equaled. Thanks. Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. But if the prices were a lot higher, do you think it would prevent a lot of people from bidding?

      Delete
  6. am coveting those book cases! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i am, too. i should ask david to whip up a pair of them for me! (just kidding, david!)

      Delete
  7. Meg so much I already love, the onyx, gold and diamond jewelry set, the the Pagoda Bookcases, oh and those fabulous Fornasetti plates (not that I need 36! I just know I was Royalty in a former life!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. there was so much that i loved in this sale that i could only show a small sample of it.

      Delete
  8. P.S. You inspired me to create a Pinterest board with all my favorite Astor items... come take a gander if you'd like!

    http://pinterest.com/rozrussell/the-astor-collection-my-favorite-pieces/

    ReplyDelete

  9. Meg, you have made a day for me with your post about the Astor auction. It always makes me sad to see ones possessions auctioned, I would love to go to Sothebys with a bag of money and bid, bid, bid. It was a load of fun to view the items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy I could help make your day. There are some really stunning pieces. be sure to check out Marcheline's pinterest page, above. I saw some things she'd found but I'd missed.

      Delete
  10. OMG! I adored her and was sickened at how she was treated in her twilight years! Truly tragic in every sense of the word! I love that sweet Pagoda clock and those twin Chinoiserie bookcases! I agree with everyone that these prices are ridiculous and when the final hammer comes down her pet charities will enjoy a tremendous windfall. That is as it should be! Now I am going to look over the entire catalog and Marcheline's Pinterest board! Thanks for this post, Meg!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a sucker for Chinoiserie, so those two pieces really caught my eye.

      Delete
  11. I'm sure you know how the interweb can take you down a rabbit hole...this post led me to the auction items, and I wondered about those military medals. So I looked up what they were, and ended up getting into a whole Astor/Marshall family history. Man, did they marry a lot! Most of them had at least 3 marriages, and how Brooke ended up with Vincent...very interesting! He would only give his 2nd wife a divorce if she found him a replacement, and the first selection said flatly, "No, I don't even like you". He even told her he probably wouldn't live long (romantic!). The 2nd choice was Brooke; being a recent widow, she said yes. He died not long after. What a life she had!

    I would bid on that great trio of silver pitchers!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your post made look around at our own possessions. One day will someone rifle through our things, and put them up for auction? I am going to be rather particular when it comes to naming my heirs!

    I see from the other comments that I would have a lot of competition for those lovely book cases.

    Kirk

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and commenting on Pigtown*Design. I read each and every comment and try to reply if I have your e-mail address.