French auction house Artcurial is hoping that the legend of opera diva Maria Callas, mixed with the mystique of Monte Carlo, helps fuel some high prices at its auction of classic and racing cars this Monday July 20.
The title of the sale carries the odd, but presumably alluring tage “estate of a friend of Maria Callas.”
Among the highlights is a 1966 Mercedes Benz 600 limousine once owned by Callas. According to the catalogue, the fact that the car once belonged to the opera great “is not the only particularity of its history.”
In 1971, when the collector, who is not named, wanted to purchase the car from his home base in Vermont, “complicated customs issues” brought him into contact with Callas and the two became friends despite being “from very different worlds,” according to Artcurial. They stayed in touch throughout the 1970s. After her death, the collector was contacted by Callas’s assistant who offered another Mercedes 600, this one from 1971, that will also be offered in the July 20 sale.
The car comes with the correspondence between Callas and the buyer, as well as service and user log books, including documentation of the original sale to Callas on November 15, 1966 by the Royal Elysees dealership. The estimate is €60–100,000 ($66–110,000).
The second Mercedes 600 is a 1971 model that the house is billing as a “Diva car” that comes with its user manuals and original service book, including record of the sale to Callas and her avenue Gorges Mandel address in Paris. The records show that the car was serviced at locations ranging from San Remo, Milan, and Paris, likely “as a result of the touring connected with the performances of the singer.”
Following her ownership, the car was registered in Vermont by the same buyer as the previous Mercedes 600. “She wanted that the second 600 was transferred to him, and him only!” It is also estimated at €60–100,000 ($66–110,000).
In total, the sale, which will be held at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo, will offer 13 lots.
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