The landmark auctions of The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor at Christie’s New York from December 3-17 realized a combined total of $156,756,576 (£100,324,209/ €120,702,563) with every single item sold. 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, on-line 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. This historic sale set a world record for the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history, and set a new bar for the most valuable collection of fashion ever offered at auction. It also marked the company’s first-ever Online-Only sale, which ran in parallel to the live auctions at Christie’s New York and generated over 57,000 bids and $9.5 million in additional sales. In total, 26 items sold for over the $1 million mark, and numerous new world auction records were achieved – a testament to Miss Taylor’s expert eye for craftsmanship, rarity, and quality in all of the items she chose for her personal collection.
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. We could not have carried out her wishes this week without the outstanding help of Christie’s. We are most grateful to the incredibly creative and capable team led by Marc Porter, Chairman of Christie’s Americas, Heather Barnhart, Regional Managing Director, and Stephen Lash, Chairman Emeritus.”
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 (ETAF). An estimated 58,000 visitors have 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 spectacular 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 and became the ‘can’t-miss’ event of the holiday season.