Thursday, November 4, 2010

Duchess of Windsor Jewels to Be Auctioned at Sotheby's

The jewels of Wallis Simpson, The Duchess of Windsor, were first offered for sale in 1987. They originally sold for $50 million, with the proceeds going to the Pasteur Institute. The proceeds from the spectacular sale are reported to be a world record for an auction of a single owner's jewelry collection in the 20th century.

It is no wonder that the jewelry fetched such a high price, since the collection celebrates the famous story of the king who gave up his throne for the woman that he loved. The king abdicated in 1936 to become the Duke of Windsor and marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Fast forward twenty-three years. Sotheby's will be offering twenty pieces formerly in the Collection of the Duchess at their November 30th auction in London. The Windsors were enthusiastic jewelry collectors. They commissioned pieces from Cartier and other makers during their courtship in Britain and married life in the Bahamas and France.

Sotheby's has a fabulous video on their website showing the original sale. They also have a catalog showing highlights of the collection.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Photos courtesy of Sotheby's.

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