Reagan auction items sell for 10 times estimate in New York

Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:12pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A chunk of the Berlin Wall and a pair of cowboy boots that belonged to late U.S. President Ronald Reagan sold for 10 times their estimated value at a New York auction that brought in more than $5.7 million dollars.

Christie's auctioneers said on Friday that more than 1,200 bidders from all over the world registered for the two-day sale of items from the private collection of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

The 25 inch (63 cm) long, graffiti-covered fragment of the Berlin Wall, signed by Reagan, sold for $277,500 to an undisclosed buyer. It had been expected to fetch up to $20,000.

The wall fragment was considered to have particular significance because of Reagan's 1987 speech in West Berlin, in which he famously urged then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."

Nancy Reagan died in March of congestive heart failure at the age of 94, 12 years after Ronald Reagan, one of the most popular U.S. presidents, succumbed to Alzheimer's disease.

Their personal items were sold by the family trust to benefit the Ronald Reagan Presidential foundation and library in California.

Reagan's cowboy boots, a gift from Western movie actor Rex Allen, sold for $199,500 compared to a pre-sale estimate of $20,000, while at $319,500, the top lot was a Bulgari diamond, sapphire and ruby ring inspired by the Stars and Stripes national flag that Nancy Reagan wore on July 4, 1986.

"The market’s response to this landmark collection sale has been remarkable, with the overall results far exceeding pre-sale expectations," said Brook Hazelton, president of Christie's America.

The auction continues online through Sept. 28.   Continued...

A graffiti-covered fragment of the Berlin Wall signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan is shown in this image released by Christie's Auctions in New York, U.S. on September 23, 2016. CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2016/Handout via REUTERS