Joan Didion, the critically-acclaimed writer of The White Album and The Year of Magical Thinking, sadly died on December 23, 2021 aged 87. This week an estate auction was held to sell off her belongings including a signature pair of large frame Celine sunglasses, similar to a pair she wore for the fashion house’s 2015 campaign.
The live online and telephone auction was run by Stair Galleries in Hudson, New York which originally valued the sunglasses between $400 and $800 USD. On November 16, the sunglasses were sold for a huge $27,000 USD (or roughly $40,300 AUD). It wasn’t the only item to fetch a high price either.
Two note books, albeit blank, sold for $11,000 USD each (I kid you not) while two leather office bins went for $5,500 each. A photograph of Didion leaning on her Stingray Corvette also fetched $26,000 USD, which we understand given the appreciating value of art. In addition, a chic Cartier desk clock fetched a whopping $35,000 USD which no longer keeps the time.
You should also keep in mind that the lucky recipients also pay a 28 percent buyer’s premium. Simply wild amounts of money. But it all went to good causes. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the auction raised a total of $1.9 million USD and was donated to Columbia University for Parkinson’s research as well as to Sacramento City College for women’s writing grants.
Estate sales are particularly popular in the US and the prices Didion’s items fetched don’t come near some celebrities. For example, Elvis Presley’s 1972 gold and diamond Ebel watch recently sold for $256,000 USD at Julien’s Auctions in California. SMH also reports that in 1988, pop art icon Andy Warhol’s cookie jars sold for $247,830 USD.
Oh we’d love to know where those items are now.