Thursday, April 23, 2015

$400 Million Dollar Heist, Lauren Bacall Auction & Jewels of Royal Provenance

Eerily similar to the plot line of the movie starring Jason Stratham, "The Bank Job"  in 2008, has come to life in a scenario in Hatton Garden a famed jewelry district in the UK that is the center of the its diamond trade and has 300 businesses and 55 shops selling jewelry.  During the UK BankHoliday weekend the jewel thief's went into the building via an elevator shaft and rendered their security system useless. Of the 600 safety deposit boxes 300 were raided. A majority of these boxes are owned by people in the jewelry business.They had used heavy cutting equipment to gain access. Thats right to 300 boxes~ ( although reports are now varying with the correct amount of boxes that were invaded)

Hatton Garden jewelry district in the UK
A gang we assume or expert burglars ( perhaps the Pink Panther Gang strikes again?) is responsible for this act. In the movie, the jewelry thieves had leased a vacant business space a few doors down from the bank. They had a weekend to dig into the bank and blow up thru the safe, using water, so that the sound f the blast couldnt be heard. This is a true story of an event that happened in the UK in 1971, with a large dash of fiction added. In the movie, none of the items or valuables were ever recorded. The robbers had a full 4 days to go through the safety deposit boxes.  No one has been able to enter and see if their items have been taken. Many of the jewelers that had boxes there were uninsured, and so far the loss is calculated at $400 Million dollars, but its difficult to say if we will ever know the full amount that was taken. After a heist of this size it s safe to conclude that the gems and other items have already been smuggled out of the UK.
A forensic investigator entering the building

An aerial view of Hatton Garden
 Lauren Bacall was one of the last screen legends. She had an incredible career a storybook marriage to one of Hollywood's leading men and a beautiful home in Manhattan ( with a great view of Central Park) that she had filled with the treasures of her many travels and of her life with Humphrey Bogart. Bonhams of New York held an auction with 750 of her items. She had an eclectic taste and had collected many unique items for her entire life. She was private with what the public knew about her, but friends close to her in her inner circle knew how much  She was a voracious appetite for art became friends with Henry Moore (she had many of his sculptures) and had amassed quite the collection of sculptures, paintings and bronze quite risque statues. Several of her paintings and sculptures art pieces garnered past the pre auction estimate price.

The legendary beauty at 19, she spoke with her chin close to her chest to stop from shaking when speaking her lines

Turquoise diamond and amethyst ring created by Jean Schlumberger 

Here jewelry collection was realtively small in comparison to other actresses whose jewels have been auctioned. Bonhams auctioned 32 lots of her jewelry, it was a white glove auction ( meaning all the lots were sold).  The turquoise amethysts and diamond ring created by jean Schlumberger was auctioned for $52,500, smashing its pre auction estimate of $8,000 – $12,000.  The total garnered from the sale of her jewels was $500,000. She enjoyed jewelry, bold color and fine craftsmanship and had often become friends with the designers who had created her pieces.

Such a great picture of Lauren wearing her 18k gold chain bracelets created by Jean Schlumberger, sold for a total of  $87,500

Elizabeth Gage Camel brooch made in 18k yellow gold enamel, cultured pearl and rose diamond sold for $23,750, much higher than the pre auction estimate of $7,000

Superb gemstone 18k hoop earrings by Jean Schlumber, attached from one side the have movement and sparkle~

Countess Kitty Schoenborn, Baroness De Rothschild

Beautiful jewels that were created decades ago by the great jewelry houses in Paris and New York created luxurious items for many royal houses. An incredible necklace with a fascinating provenance or pedigree is up on the auction block on April 21st. Pretty Kitty as she was known to her friends and family was born to an aristocratic family. She was born Catherine Wolff to a prominent in family in Philadelphia. Her second marriage to Baron De Rothschild in 1923 brought her a title and much notoriety as one of the worlds most stylish women.

Created by Cartier in 1923 and given to the baron De Rothschild new wife, Kitt, pre auction estimate $1.8 Million -$2.2 Million ( sold for $2.6 Million)
Speaking of royal lineage, a tiara that was owned by Mary the Duchess of Roxburghe is being auction by Sothebys on May 12th in Geneva. Not just one tiara but 3, after all, a lady with a title has many social obligations.

Her name might not sound familiar but she life was filled with titles, husbands and a fair amount of drama.  She was born Mary Evelyn Hungerford Crewe-Milnes (23 March 1915 – 2 July 2014). Her Godfather was King George V, she had carried Queen Elizabeths  train when he married prince George! She came from a colorful family and had married the 9th Duke of Roxburghe in 1935 at Westminster Abbey and divorced the Duke in 1953. A public scandal happened when her husband tried to evict her from their 100 room castle, Floors Castle for 6 weeks in 1953. He reportedly had turned off the electric, gas, water on her side of the estate in a bid to have her leave the house. A neighbor Lord Haig had supplied her with paraffin lamps, food and candles for 6 weeks.  After the 6 weeks she had left Floors Castle and traveled to London where their divorce was settled out of court due to his affair.

Floors Castle
The Duchesses 3 tiaras pre auction estimate $300,000 - $500,000 each

Mary Duchess of Roxburghe on her wedding day in 1935
When she passed away last year at the age of 99 she had left her estatethe grandson of her much older half-sister Lady Annabel Hungerford Crewe-Milnes. A big shock to everyone, especially to Bamber. Her great-nephew is now auctioning off 700 lots in order to restore the 16th century West Horsley Place that has been left untouched for decades and bring it back to its original glory. Sothebys London will be holding the auction on May 27th. Included in the auction are The massive estate was left to Mary from her mother Margaret Etrenne Hannah Crewe-Milnes when she had passed away at  aged 81 on 13 March 1967
                                                          Until next time, KEEP sparkling!


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