After a live auction that lasted for 10 hours and attracted bidders from 46 countries across six continents (including the highest online participation for any Christie’s sale in history), the final lot — a 1991 Steven Meisel portrait — sold in Audrey Hepburn: The Personal Collection (Part I). Like all the other lots in the auction, it soared well past its pre-sale estimate before realising £6,875, against an estimate of £2,000-3,000.
It was a fitting end to a remarkable event, one that witnessed over 12,000 visitors to the pre-sale public exhibition in London and saw sell-through rates of 100 per cent by lot and value for a final live auction total of £4,635,500 / $6,202,299 — more than seven times the pre-sale estimate. Including the online-only sale, of the sale realised an overall total of £6,053,875/ $8,100,085.
The top lot was Audrey Hepburn’s working script for the 1961 Paramount production, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The screenplay, which includes deleted scenes and extensive annotations in Hepburn’s own hand, sold for £632,750 / $846,619 against an estimate of £60,000-90,000, setting a new world auction record for a script. Hepburn’s working script for the Warner Bros. production My Fair Lady, dated 24 June, 1963, sold for £206,250 / $275,962 / €234,506 against an estimate of £30,000-50,000.
Other notable pieces included the highly-coveted blue satin sleep mask with blue lace-trimmed flowers, which attracted the highest number of registered bidders for any lot and sold for £6,250 / $8,363 / €7,106 — 50 times its pre-sale estimate of £100-150. Sleep masks were a feature of the much-travelled movie star’s life, transferring famously onto the silver screen in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Twenty-four years after her death, Audrey Hepburn is still regarded as not only one of the greatest screen actresses of all time, but as a style icon. Not surprisingly, the star’s wardrobe was another major draw for collectors — her three-quarter length Burberry trench coat, lined in iconic Burberry plaid, realised a price of £68,750 / $91,988, more than 10 times its low estimate; the two-piece Givenchy cocktail gown of black satin, made for her acclaimed 1963 film Charade, achieved £68,750 / $91,988.
A personal item that saw a huge surge of interest was her 1969 painting My Garden Flowers, which realised a price of £224,750 / $300,715 — the third-highest price of the auction.
‘We have been utterly delighted with the overwhelming response to the personal collection of Audrey Hepburn,’ said Adrian Hume-Sayer, Head of Sale and Director of Private Collections. ‘She is one of the greatest icons in the history of film and the incredible result so far, for Part I of the collection, is a testament to her enduring appeal. Thank you to everyone who made the sale such a resounding success.’
The top lot in Audrey Hepburn: The Personal Collection (Part II) was A Matador’s Traje De Luces (Suit of Lights), which realised £52,500 / £70,245 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000. This online sale saw the highest number of new registrants to Christie’s online since the sales were launched in 2011 and confirms our leadership in online art sales, in which we sell more lots in more categories than any other art business.
Part III of the collection will be offered online in 2018, and details will follow in due course.