Elizabeth Taylor auction raises over $153 million

By Sebastian Smith, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 18 2011 12:38 PM | Updated as of Dec 18 2011 08:40 PM

NEW YORK - A week-long auction in New York of the late Elizabeth Taylor's vast collection of luxury dresses, jewels and art works wound down Friday with total sales topping $153 million.

The final round of live sales at Christie's saw movie memorabilia snapped up at prices many times higher than pre-sale estimates.

A folding wood-and-leather director's chair for the 1987 western "Poker Alice" sold for $84,100, compared to estimates of $3,000-$5,000.

Taylor's copy of the script to "National Velvet" -- the 1944 film that made her a worldwide child star -- fetched $170,500, compared to $2,000-$3,000 pre-sale estimates. Her script for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," from 1958, fetched $104,500.

The actress died in March at the age of 79, leaving behind an extraordinary estate amassed during her glamorous life as a screen star and high-maintenance beauty.

Previous live sessions of the auction this week netted millions of dollars amid frenzied bidding for Taylor's clothes, handbags, art, and jewelry.

Total sales exceeded $153 million Friday but were set to keep rising with bidding continuing until Saturday on a huge trove of items auctioned exclusively online.

Friday's sale stood out for art works, including an Andy Warhol candy box that sold for $236,500, three times the estimate, and a line drawing by Warhol of a pair of lips, inscribed: "To elizabeth a big kiss Andy Warhol." This sold for $242,500, compared to the $8,000 estimate.

A photograph of Taylor's friend Michael Jackson, inscribed "To My True Love, Elizabeth," realized $146,500, compared to the $2,000-$3,000 estimate.

On Thursday it had been the turn for Taylor's collection of designer handbags and other accessories.

That followed Wednesday's sale of haute couture dresses, including the gown worn to one of Taylor's seven weddings. The diamond and gold wedding bands given by two-time husband Richard Burton sold for just over $1 million.

The first day of the auction Tuesday saw a record-setting $116 million sell-off of Taylor's fanciest jewels.

The highlight was a huge pearl known as "La Peregrina" once worn by European royalty and bought by Burton for Taylor in 1969. It sold for a record $11.84 million after having been given an estimated worth of $2-3 million.

An emerald and diamond necklace by Bulgari went for $6.1 million, catapulting over the pre-sale estimate of $1-1.5 million. Perfectly matching the stunning piece were a Bulgari brooch at $6.6 million and a set of ear pendants at $3.2 million, estimated before the auction at a maximum of $700,000 and $200,000 respectively.

Another big seller was a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond ring at $2.3 million, while Bulgari pearl and diamond ear pendants fetched $2 million.