Taylor auction is a gem, sales top $157 million

Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:06am EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Auctions of Elizabeth Taylor's collection of jewels, gowns, art and memorabilia broke records last week on their way to totaling more than $150 million worth of live and online sales, Christie's said on Monday.

Four days of live auctions in New York and a 10-day online auction from the Hollywood film legend's collection took in a total of $156,756,576, or more than three times expectations.

Taylor's world-renowned collection of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, pearls, emeralds and more accounted for the vast majority of the haul, selling for a combined $137 million and becoming by far the most valuable jewelry sale ever.

Records were set for pearls, emeralds, and Indian jewels, while per-carat records were broken for a rubies, yellow, and colorless diamonds.

"My mother always acknowledged that she was merely the temporary custodian of the incredible things she owned," said Taylor's son Chris Wilding, who is a member of the Elizabeth Taylor Trust.

"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 history," he said.

Taylor's couture gowns and apparel sale also set a record for the most valuable private collection ever sold at auction, taking in more than $5 million including commission.

The marathon sales' statistics spoke for themselves and highlighted the worldwide interest in the Hollywood legend who rose to fame as a young star of the movie "National Velvet" and went on to claim two acting Oscars for "BUtterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."   Continued...