Some exceptional sales in the world of antiques and collectibles this summer, including The Exceptional Sale at Christie’s in London. But first, let us turn our attention to Graceland and one of the largest Elvis collections to go under the hammer.
Largest Elvis Memorabilia Sale
Yes, auctioneers will evoke the spirit of Elvis once again when 174 new lots come up for sale at the Graceland Archives Studio on August 13th. It is being called "the largest and most comprehensive auction yet held on the grounds of Graceland."
Most noteworthy of all the items is the famous starburst jumpsuit that Elvis wore during his tenure on the Vegas Strip. The blue starburst onesy is expected to fetch between $100-150,000. The other big item in this sale is his Million Dollar Guitar signed by the famous Vegas Quartet Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Auctioneers hope to raise $20-30,000 for this item.
Visit Graceland.com for more details.
Leonardo DiCaprio Raises $40 Million at Charity Auction
This is the second auction hosted by Leonardo DiCaprio to benefit LDF, an organization "dedicated to protecting Earth’s last wild places and implementing solutions to preserve and save the environment."
DiCaprio said that the "event is about supporting LDF’s efforts to protect key species like the tiger, rhino, shark, and mountain gorilla by working with governments to conserve the jungles, coral reefs and forests they call home. By focusing on protecting these critically-endangered iconic species is almost like setting up a worldwide network of Noah’s arks."
To help raise money for this cause, the auction included an impressive list of items, including movie memorabilia, "fine art, luxury items, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences," like a "a year as Harvey Weinstein's guest."
DiCaprio himself contributed $2 million by selling some of his personal pieces – a Rolex Daytona Cosmograph watch, and a Banksy and Warhol.
Of note was a limited edition Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker in bronze (numbered 17/25 and signed by A. Rodin). Also on the auction block was a Claude Monet, and a Picasso.
You can view the whole auction list and learn more about IDF at leonardodicaprio.org
Christie’s Exceptional Sale
What’s so exceptional about the Christie’s Exceptional Sale? It’s where you’ll find remarkable and very rare antiques and relics. It’s also an event for setting world records and this year was no exception.
The showstopper was a Vickers Spitfire MK. 1A – P9374 that sold for double the estimated price - $4,784,010, setting the world record for highest bid for a Spitfire sold at auction. Robert Copley, Deputy Chairman, Christie’s UK and Head of The Exceptional Sale said:
The Exceptional Sale "reached new heights as the unique sound of the Merlin engine roared across the sale room, establishing a new world record price for a Spitfire at auction."
But perhaps the most exceptional thing about this particular spitfire is that the owner, Thomas Kaplan, an American philanthropist and art collector, sold his beloved plane in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund, leading conservation charity Panthera, WildCRU and Stop Ivory.
The other exceptional item is from a group of Napoleon’s relics – his hat from the Battle of Friedland that suffered a blow in combat, circa 1806. There is no mistaking the provenance for this hat:
"This Hat was worn by the Emperor Napoleon during the whole Campaign of 1807, in the battle of Eylau and Friedland, and at the Treaty of Tilsit. It was struck by a Ball at the Battle of Friedland, which induced his Servant to preserve it, and leave it under the care of his Uncle the Keeper of the Palace of Dresden, from whom I got it in 1814. There is no doubt of its Authenticity." – M. Shaw Stewart.
Napoleon’s black felt bicorne hat sold for $595,210.
The Exceptional Sale made a total of $27,776,018 and set a number of world records. One for the world record price raised at auction for a 19th century Luba figure, and another a set of decadent George III silver candelabra.
Albert Einstein’s Personal and Intimate Letters Sold At Auction
Moving on now to a later period of time and Albert Einstein. A collection of 27 of his letters discussing his personal views on religion, politics, the atomic bomb and adultery, and other questions he wrestled with during his lifetime, sold for more than $420,000. This collection came up for auction on June 11 at Profiles in History’s Historical Document Auction:
"A one of a kind compilation of rare and intimate letters from Albert Einstein," including "the letter to his son on the atomic bomb just prior to the actual bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a letter addressed to his son just prior to renouncing his German citizenship and two notable writings on his views of religion and God."
It’s been a busy and exciting summer and it’s not over yet. If you’re a car fanatic, you’ve probably already checked out some of the car shows and auctions in your neighbourhood. One of our favourites is the Goodwood Festival of Speed for its unique collection of cars. The headliners this year were an Aston Martin Ulster racer, a 1954 Jaguar XK, and the first Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR roadster ever built.
Hope you enjoyed our auction highlights and let us know what rare finds you discover.