Other great house clearance sales of our time

Sinatra's Palm Springs estate: 1995

On reaching 80 in 1995, Frank Sinatra decided to "simplify his life", and put his Palm Springs Estate up for sale. The property fetched $4.9m (pounds 3.2m), the contents more than $2m. The art collection was eclectic, featuring early 20th-century Impressionist pieces alongside less sought- after works such as Young Boy With Big Blue Eyes (estimate, $50).

Along with the paintings, the list of tat on offer was endless: a diamond- monogrammed golden shoehorn; a gold microphone; an E-Z-Go golf cart (complete with stereo system) inscribed "Ol' Blue Eyes" on one side and "Lady Blue Eyes" on the other ($20,700); three silver-plated goblets inscribed "Good Health King Sinatra".

The Duchess of Windsor's jewels: 1987

The jewellery was disposed of in a frenzied auction with 1,000 buyers in New York linked by satellite to the Geneva saleroom. Lots included the distinctive Cartier flamingo brooch (pounds 500,000) and the Mclean diamond ring (pounds 1.79m). The $50m sale would have appalled the Duke, who stipulated in his will that no woman other than his wife should ever wear the jewels.

Andy Warhol: 1988

A vast jumble of Warhol's possessions filled the Sotheby's New York premises, attracting 20,000 visitors before the 10-day sale of the spoils of a lifetime's obsessive shopping. The assembled cookie jars ($247,830 the lot, estimate $5,000 to $7,000),Mickey Mouse watches and American folk art paintings helped to raise more than $25m.

Rudolf Nureyev: 1995

Nureyev's personal effects were sold at two auctions, in New York and London. Christie's launched a line of merchandise for the sale, including carrier bags bearing the Nureyev legend, at pounds 2.50 each. Three days before the saleroom doors opened, Christie's New York sold 7,000 catalogues at $50 each. Hastily prepared photocopies realised $25 each. As usual, those who wanted something to put in their carrier bags ignored the saleroom's estimates. A pair of the dancer's ballet slippers fetched pounds 12,075 in London, and a costume for Don Quixote $36,800 in New York. When the dust finally settled after the show, $7.9m had been raised.

BEN SUMMERS

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas