Elizabeth Taylor, Wallis Simpson and a glistening future for jewellery in 2012
Our last 'favourite festive collectibles' piece looks at a big year for Taylor, Simpson and rare jewellery
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Tuesday 27 December 2011
Over the Christmas season we've been looking at our favourite festive memorabilia, here at Paul Fraser Collectibles. These are the pieces you should consider buying to get involved in the collectibles niches which could be hot in 2012.
And we couldn't look forward to the New Year without mentioning jewellery. Celebrity jewellery, in particular, saw a number of new World Record prices and blockbuster sales throughout 2011.
If you've been anywhere near a newspaper this past month, you'll know that the most recent celebrity jewellery successes were at Christie's sale of Elizabeth Taylor's collection.
Taylor's jewellery drew global bidders from far and wide. Not surprising when you consider that her collection represented a perfect mix between her career in classic movies and her personal life. Both continue to fascinate collectors and movie history buffs after Taylor's death.
For when one marriage isn't enough... Elizabeth Taylor's rings
Among Christie's star lots was one of the greatest gifts given to Taylor by Richard Burton, whose passionate relationship saw the couple marry, not once, but twice. The piece in question was a diamond ring.
Listed as D colour and VS1 clarity, expert studies prior to the sale suggested it may be internally flawless. Boasting the highest celebrity provenance and condition, the ring sold for $8.8m - way above its $2.5m-3.5m presale estimate.
Liz Taylor has been all over the collectibles markets in 2011, from vintage costumes to portraits of her by Pop Art legend Andy Warhol. But Taylor wasn't the only historic star to enjoy jewellery success... Legendary royals also got in on the act.
Like Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, for instance. The woman for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the throne made headlines, earlier this year, thanks to singer Madonna's impressionistic biopic of Wallis's life entitled W.E. (which received very mixed reviews).
Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII's jewellery trinkets include this
Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery collection may now be the 'most expensive ever auctioned'. But, prior to this, that title was held by Ms Simpson. As with Taylor's collection, Simpson's jewellery also held revelations about her love life with King Edward VIII.
In the end, Wallis's jewels brought £8m ($12,439,900) ahead of Sotheby's £3m estimate. The seller was millionaire Wafiq Said who had owned the collection since 1987. The pieces were commissioned by Edward and Wallis from the great European jewellery houses.
The star lot emerged as an onyx and diamond panther bracelet once worn on the Duchess of Windsor's wrist. It auctioned for £4.5m, becoming the most expensive bracelet ever sold.
Both the Taylor and Simpson sales - and their ever-escalating values - point towards a continually strong celebrity jewellery market in 2012. Especially if those jewels boast Royal or A-list celebrity provenance.
But what if you don't have £4.5m to spend on a Simpson necklace? Well, the good news is you don't need to be a millionaire or billionaire to invest in Wallis Simpson memorabilia. Which brings us to another of our favourite festive collectibles...
Examples like this letter for sale (above). It is entirely handwritten and signed by Wallis and may have been written during the couple's honeymoon in 1937. It includes telling references to the upheaval that Edward's abdication of the throne caused at the time. She writes:
"Dear Kitty ... I thought I ought to write you as soon as possible and say to go straight ahead with your plans for your Autumn guests ... we are indefinite about dates. This is caused by the fact that we have to meet lawyers etc. in Paris..."
Considering the millions Ms Simpson's collectibles have brought at auction in 2011, we have this letter for sale priced at just £1,500.
A bargain price which could offer you the perfect yuletide antidote to your post-Christmas blues.
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Elizabeth Taylor's La Peregrina pearl necklace makes World Record price | 14 December 2011
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