Exceptional results for The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan
The live and online auctions of The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan achieved a combined $7,253,750, with 100 per cent of the 702 total lots sold, far surpassing initial estimates.
Across both live and online sales there were record levels of registered bidders from 36 countries around the world. The online auction realised ten times its initial estimate, attracting the highest number of registrants for any online auction ever held at Christie’s. The collection was sold to benefit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
The top lot of the sale was a diamond, sapphire and ruby ring by Bulgari, which realised $319,500, against an estimate of $5,000-8,000. The ring was worn by Mrs. Reagan on 4 July 1986 for Liberty Weekend celebrations aboard the USS Iowa in New York Harbor.
Additional highlights included a signed fragment of the Berlin Wall, sold for $277,500, while a painting by Frank Sinatra, Fourth of July Fireworks, realised $233,500. An inauguration gift of a marine chronometer inscribed ‘Good Morning Mr. President’, also presented by the celebrated singer, sold for $106,250.
A number of lots embodied President Reagan’s love of horses and the traditions of the Wild West: estimated at $10,000-20,000, the President’s cowboy boots, for example, sold for $199,500. A series of pencil sketches, executed on White House stationery and signed ‘Ronald Reagan’, achieved $100,000, easily surpassing its estimate of $2,500-3,500.
A needlepoint cushion, embroidered with a map of the United States and the slogan ‘YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET’, realised $71,250, far exceeding its estimate of $1,000-1,500. The item was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stark. A successful producer, Stark had represented Ronald Reagan at the Famous Artists Agency.
Brook Hazelton, President of Christie’s Americas commented: ‘In Christie’s 250th anniversary year, it’s been an honour and a privilege to offer for sale The Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. Clients from all over the world took part in this unprecedented opportunity to acquire items that give insight into the public and private life of the nation’s 40th President and First Lady. The market’s response to this landmark collection has been remarkable, with the overall results far exceeding pre-sale expectations.’
John Heubusch, Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute added: ‘We are honoured and inspired by the tremendous outpouring of global interest and enthusiasm in the legacy of the President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. The remarkable results generated thus far at Christie’s will ensure the Foundation and the presidential library it supports is well equipped to continue its important mission into the future. It has been a pleasure to work together with Christie’s to create this celebratory global event in keeping with Mrs. Reagan’s wishes, for the benefit of the next generation of visitors to the Reagan Library.’
The online sale featured a host of items connected to the celebrated couple — from porcelain and glass to fine art, jewels and printed books. Highlights included a Tiffany & Co. gold and diamond wristwatch, which realised $40,000, against a high estimate of $2,000, and a Boehm biscuit-porcelain model of an American bald eagle, which sold for $38,000, surpassing its high estimate of $5,000.