Final tally: Kluge auction brings $15.2 million
It's always a good feeling to clear out the clutter, and Patricia Kluge must be feeling particularly good, because clearing out her excess brought in a hefty $15.2 million–- plus another $5 million from off-loading some jewelry in April.
The much-heralded on-site auction, Sotheby's first in 20 years in the U.S., brought out the collectors and the curious. More than 2,000 people trooped through Kluge's Albemarle House during the preview week, lugging the 600-page, $65 catalog.
Bidders phoned in from all over the world to get a piece of the fancy furnishings, authentic antiques and relics of a lifestyle Kluge seems ready to shed, as evidenced by her move from the 45-room, nearly 24,000-square-foot Albemarle House (now offered for $48 million) to the relatively more modest 6,600-square-foot Glen Love in her Vineyard Estates subdivision across the street.
Initial estimates for the giant clearing out were between $9 and $14 million. When the final hammer fell, the total, including Sotheby's buyer's premium, a sliding scale that starts at 25 percent, was $15,158,227.
The Imperial Chinese clock, pegged as the auction's big-ticket item, went for well in excess of its $1 million estimate and after fierce bidding, sold to a Chinese collector for $3.8 million.
According to Sotheby's, 62 percent of the lots went for more than their estimates. That includes the Lord of the Rings trilogy, estimated at $4K-$6K and selling for $17,500; the 18th-century ormolu Meissen pugs, estimated at $25K-$35K and going for $86,500, and a silver Faberge centerpiece, seemingly low-balled at $40-$60K, went home with an American collector for $206,500.
While the highs were stratospheric, there were also lows, and the lowest was lot 843, cryptically identified as "an animal skull." Bearing horns, it went for $95.
Not all of the 933 lots in the catalog ended up sold. Some, like the shotguns from the King of Spain, Kluge reconsidered and decided to keep.
By the June 8-9 auction, 881 lots went on the block, and 101 of those did not sell, according to Sotheby's, presumably because they didn't meet the reserve.
Could there be another yard sale in the works?