Liz Taylor Auction totals a record $137.2M

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“The Burton Wedding Bands,” given to Elizabeth Taylor by love Richard Burton on the occasion of both of their marriages, sold for $1.0 million at Christie’s on Wednesday. The second day of auction of Taylor’s jewelry garnered more than $20 million.

New York–The second day of auctions devoted to the jewelry collection of Elizabeth Taylor garnered $21.3 million, bringing the total sale of the icon’s jewelry to $137.2 million.

That makes it not only the most valuable private collection of jewelry ever offered at auction–surpassing the 1987 sale of The Duchess of Windsor’s jewels, which realized $50.3 million–but the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history.

François Curiel, international director of jewelry at Christie’s, called the atmosphere at Christie’s during the sale “electric,” with collectors from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and America “chasing each individual jewel with a tenacity never seen before.”

He said every single jewel offered greatly exceeded its estimate, sometimes by as much as 100 times.

The second sale of Taylor’s jewelry, held Wednesday during the day at Christie’s, sold 100 percent by lot.

One of the most sought-after lots of the day was “The Burton Wedding Bands,” which were given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton when they were married in 1964 and when they got re-married in 1975. Estimated to sell for $6,000 to $8,000, the bands sparked a 15-minute bidding war, eventually selling for $1.0 million.

The top lot of the day was an antique natural pearl and diamond necklace dating from 1860, estimated at $100,000 to $150,000.  The necklace realized $1.5 million.

In addition, a pair of diamond and cultured pearl ear pendants by Ruser sold for $698,500, well above their high estimate of $50,000.

“We are humbled and gratified by these results, which are a testament to the public’s overwhelming affection for Elizabeth Taylor and her incredible legacy,” Chairman of Christie’s Americas Marc Porter said.

The sale of “The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor” continues today with three sessions featuring the late actress’ fashion and accessories. On Friday, Christie’s will auction Taylor’s fine and decorative art and film memorabilia.

In addition, a sale of Taylor’s impressionist and modern art is scheduled to take place in February 2012 at Christie’s London.

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