By Brecken Branstrator
brecken.branstrator@nationaljeweler.com
But most of all, I’ve been super curious about the actual auction process.

For a long time I’ve been meaning to go see it all happen in person, but I wanted it to be an auction where I was especially intrigued by what was being sold. When Bonhams announced that they were auctioning off the estate of the late Lauren Bacall here in New York, I knew that was the one for me.

On Wednesday afternoon, I trekked to the Bonhams office uptown to attend the afternoon session of day two, which included, of course, Bacall’s jewels, as well as other items like art, furniture, clothes and luggage.

I underestimated how long it would take to get through the bidding, but I am so glad I got the opportunity to see the action in person. After walking through the lots in person, I sat back to watch it all happen.

My favorite part was the back and forth of people trying to outbid each other. I loved when the auctioneers could barely get the numbers out of their mouths before someone made a higher bid.

And it was coming from every corner--the people in the seats, the people sitting in the phone section making a bid on someone’s behalf, absentee bids, and of course, the Internet. The excitement on people’s faces when they won something that they genuinely wanted was amazing, as were the angry faces being thrown around when someone was outbid.

The crowd was mostly older, which wasn’t that surprising, but I couldn’t help myself from jealously checking out the people my age who were actually bidding.

I desperately wanted to know everyone’s story in the audience--whether they were buying for business or for pleasure, what they wanted and why--but they weren’t there to talk about themselves. They were there to take home a part of Hollywood history.


I’m also intrigued by Internet bidding being a part of it, and I’d love to talk to someone about how that’s changed the game over the last decade or so. With the ability to be a part of the actual action from the comfort of your own home, I’m sure the number and scope of those involved has increased greatly.

And while I didn’t bid on anything, I was mentally making a wish list as I was perusing the catalogue and watching it all happen.

The items pictured below aren’t necessarily the top lots. We covered that on the National Jeweler site Thursday. Rather, these were my favorites, jewelry and otherwise.

040315-Bonhams-Lot 732This one was my favorite of the jewelry pieces. Tourmaline is my favorite gemstone, and within that rubellite is definitely at the top. Not to mention it fit me perfectly when I tried it on. I just couldn’t believe I was wearing Lauren Bacall’s ring (it sold for $6,000).

040315-Bonhams-Lot 333

After recently writing a story delving into the jadeite market, I really appreciated the beauty of this ring, which seems so timeless that it could be worn over and over (it was purchased for $12,500).

040315-Bonhams-Lot 716

These earrings came in a larger group of gold jewelry, but it was this pair that caught my eye. They were beautiful and elegant, with a rough emerald at the end to add a bit of edginess. The whole set sold for $4,000.

040315-Bonhams-Lot 734

I’ve loved pretty much anything with camels on it since I rode one when I was studying abroad in Egypt in college. It went for $23,750, and unlike the other three pieces above, actually was one of the top 10 lots.

That’s enough jewelry for now, I think. Let’s move on to some interesting items in the other categories, shall we?

040315-Bonhams-Lot 702This is less about the jumpsuit than about the cape for me. I just loved imagining Bacall out and about in it; I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to. It went for $1,375.

Lot 587
I don’t think this one needs much of an explanation. The Louis Vuitton luggage was amazing. This particular set of four hard-sided suitcases sold for $40,000.


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