One of the most noticeable themes of the collection was Marilyn Monroe, an icon of glamour and tragedy who was seen through the lens of Warhol, André de Dienes, Tom Kelley, Elliott Erwitt, Eve Arnold, Garry Winogrand, Milton Greene and Bert Stern. The Constantiners amassed the largest collection of Monroe photographs ever to be sold at auction, collectively achieving $802,250. The highest price for a photograph of the actress in the sale was Bert Stern’s “The Last Sitting” which achieved $146,500 – a world auction record for a single lot of Monroe photographs. The images were shot for American Vogue in 1962 shortly before Monroe’s untimely death. Other notable images that sold well included Avedon’s 1957 portrait of the actress, which achieved $56,250, de Dienes 1945-1949 portraits of the young Norma Jeane Baker on Tobay Beach, Long Island, which achieved $28,750 and Kelley’s famous 1949 color nude of Monroe on a red background featured in Playboy’s first “Sweetheart of the Month” issue, which sold for $18,750.
Onassis Jewel Sale
In what may have been the “sleeper” sale of the year, Christie’s London auctioned off jewelry belonging to the late Christina Onassis (1950-1988), daughter of Greek shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis, for $13.3 million in June. Christina’s daughter Athina Onassis, who consigned the pieces, was once hailed as “the richest little girl in the world” when she inherited the collection along with a $2 billion fortune in 1988. But the heiress, now 23, reportedly told friends that such glittering paraphernalia of another era was irrelevant to her own lifestyle. Her low-key approach may be one reason why Christie’s did not widely publicize the auction or even publish a single-owner catalogue. Of the 44 items, the top lot was a necklace featuring a 38-carat, potentially flawless pear-shaped diamond, which went under the hammer for $7.1 million to a Middle Eastern buyer.
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