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  1. Wealth
November 30, 2010

Wallis Simpson sale a smash

By Spear's

Tonight at Sotheby’s in London, a group of 20 exceptional jewels and precious objects formerly in the collection of The Duchess of Windsor were presented for sale

Tonight at Sotheby’s in London, a group of 20 exceptional jewels and precious objects formerly in the collection of The Duchess of Windsor were presented for sale, some 23 years after they were last auctioned in the legendary auction of “The Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor” – still the most valuable single-owner jewellery collection ever sold.

The 20 pieces, which were announced for sale back in July of this year and have since travelled to Asia, the Middle East, Russia and the US, and which also include some of the signature pieces from the 1987 sale, brought a total of £7,975,550 / $12,413,146 / €9,459,004 – a figure well in excess of the pre-sale expectations of £2,906,000-4,211,000.  The sale was a “white glove sale” – 100% sold by lot and value. 

The top-selling lot of tonight’s sale was the onyx and diamond panther bracelet by Cartier, Paris in 1952, which sold – after competition from some four potential buyers – for £4,521,250 / $7,036,874, more than double the pre-sale estimate for the bracelet of £1-1.5 million.  This price establishes a new record for Cartier at auction and also for any bracelet at auction. 

The second highest price of the evening was for the ruby, sapphire, emerald, citrine and diamond flamingo clip, mounted by Cartier, Paris, 1940. Estimated at £1-1.5 million, this spectacular brooch was purchased by Collection Cartier for £1,721,250 / $2,678,954, again a price comfortably over pre-sale expectations of £1-1.5 million.

Speaking after the sale, David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery in Europe and the Middle East, said: “It has been an immense pleasure to bring once again to sale these jewels worn by a woman who was a leader of fashion and the epitome of elegance and sophistication for her generation and beyond. The collection comprised not only masterpieces of 20th century jewellery by Cartier, but also pieces whose intimate inscriptions tell the story of perhaps the greatest love story of the 20th century, the romance that led Edward VIII to abdicate the throne of Great Britain.

“Wherever we have exhibited the jewels in recent months – whether it be Moscow, New York, Hong Kong or the Middle East – the response has been extraordinary; and the Windsor collection has been introduced to a new audience of buyers.” 

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