WARNING – IMAGE HEAVY. It isn’t often that something sets my heart racing. Who knew a simple social media scan could make my stomach go flip flop. While scanning my Facebook feed, I came across notice of a very special event. Julien’s Auctions was having a public display and subsequent auction of some of the estate of a Hollywood legend – Greta Garbo. Garbo, a screen icon known for her luminous performances, extraordinary beauty and mysterious retirement from the film industry, has always been an actress who fascinated me from an early age. The collection made stops in Ireland and on the Queen Mary 2 on its way to Beverly Hills. For a few precious days, this family collection, soon to be scattered across the globe, would one last time shine for those fortunate enough to hear about this extraordinary opportunity.
The collection included clothing, artwork, household items and movie memorabilia. These items will never be seen together again. Therefore, I wanted to give those who could not attend the opportunity to view them. There was also an auction catalog that may still be available for purchase from Julien’s. So without further ado, let me share with you some of what I was able to see. I’ll even record some of the final prices, especially where there are cards noting what the estimated auction price was. Not all of the items were on display. There were over 850 lots up for bid. I certainly couldn’t post all of the photos I took, but it is a lovely little snapshot of her life.
In addition to the household items, which included everything from pots and pans, medicine balls and skis, glassware, silver service items, pottery, Louis Vuitton luggage, her painting supplies, and much, much more, there were more personal items up for bid as well. I found it fascinating, strange and sad. Imagine if someone took most items from your home and put them up for auction. Seemingly personal items, like kitchen utensils, books, waffle maker and juicers and toys. Nothing seemed sacred. I’m sure the family kept many lovely items. But to have so much of a legend’s items just sold off to the highest bidder, including her nail clippers, just didn’t feel proper.
Monogrammed sterling cocktail set – This went for $27,500.
Royal Doulton Clovelly china set for 8.
Blue transferware Arabia teacups.
Signed check to Lilly Dache, Inc.
Glass vanity items from her dressing table.
One of her two passports for bid, this one issued in 1964 – $12,000.
Birds eye maple cigarette case.
Marwitz sunglasses – $4,500.
Cigarette lighters and ashtray, circa 1965.
THE FINER THINGS
I enjoyed reviewing her more glamorous personal items. Jewelry, money clips, and silver pens. Little, elegant aspects that gave glimpses into her life. One thing she loved was monograms. She collected many monogrammed items.
Goldplated “G” brooch and pearl and diamond ring.
Monogrammed vermeil pillbox – This went for $8,000
Gold Verdura compact – $27,500.
That would be my hazy reflection in Greta Garbo’s compact.
Money clip – $2,000
Rhinestone shoe clips – $1,250.
14K “GG” monogrammed baby I.D. bracelet – $2,250
Silver Tiffany pen – $1,100.
Now we’ll get to what many will consider the best part – the clothes. The Greta Garbo collection included everything from hats to shoes, blouses to pants and skirts, belts, coats, furs and, of course, dresses. Most of what was displayed were the dresses and coats. While the display included a few pieces from the 30s and 40s, most of the display focused on her dresses from the 50s and 60s. Some fun sizing tidbits – she wasn’t tiny. As you recall from my post on the shoeprints of Grauman’s Chinese Theater
, I’m envious of the tiny sizing of some of our legendary actresses of the golden era, so this was a nice observation for me to make. This glove lot above ranged in size from 6 1/2 to 7, but others went up to 7 1/2. While at least one pair of her shoes were a size 7, most were 9 to 9 1/2. And were sensible and low-heeled to boot.
Black velvet evening dress from the late 1930s.
Black rayon dress from the early 1940s.
Brown and turquoise wool flannel skirt suit from the early 1940s.
Beaver fur coat
Black velvet turban – $10,000.
Navy blue leather Coach handbag. That’s right – Coach.
One of many lots of gloves.
The exhibition got me so inspired, I actually thought I might follow along with the bidding the next day. By some strange chance I might be able to own a piece of Garbo’s legacy. What happened next? If you check out my next post
, you may find out…