This past October 23rd, we blogged about the upcoming auction of ten pieces of Marie Antoinette’s jewelry. Prior to the late Queen of France and her family being imprisoned during the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette prepared a trunk containing her finest pearls, diamonds and rubies and had it smuggled out of France. Eventually the trunk was received by her nephew, the Emperor of Austria. Upon her daughter, Madame Royale’s release from captivity in 1795, she regained ownership of the jewels, eventually passing them on to the Bourbon-Parma family.
Daniela Mascetti, the European Jewelry Chairman for Sotheby’s stated “Tonight we saw the Marie Antoinette factor works its magic. No other Queen is more famous for her love of jewels and her love of personal treasures, pearls and diamonds … survived intact the tumults of history, captivating the interest of collectors around the world.”
The ten pieces sold for a collective $42.7 million but it was one royal piece that garnered an unbelievable bid. The 18th century natural pearl pendant that was originally estimated to sell for between $1 and $2 million was auctioned off for $36.2 million, setting a world record.
The pendant features a large teardrop pearl that dangles from an oval-shaped diamond by a string of smaller diamonds arranged in a dramatic bow. According to Sotheby’s Auction House, the piece was originally connected to a three-strand pearl necklace owned by the Queen, with the largest stone separated from the rest of the pendant.
Another famous collection of valuables, albeit mainly from the 20th century, are scheduled to be auctioned by Sotheby’s New York Auction House this December. Several items owned by the late Frank and Barbara Sinatra are on the auction block with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, a nonprofit organization founded by the couple in 1986.
In addition to Barbara’s personal jewelry collection, Sotheby’s will also be auctioning off the couple’s fine art and memorabilia. Norman Rockwell’s signed portrait of Frank Sinatra, commissioned by the star in 1973, is estimated to sell for $120,00.