Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s Collection Smashes Estimates With $5.7 Million Auction
Top lots included a Bulgari ring and Frank Sinatra painting.
Ronald Reagan was a hit at Christie’s New York on September 21 and 22, with the private collection of the 40th president of the US and his wife, Nancy Reagan, raking in nearly $6 million at the auction house’s Americana sales. The sale follows the former first lady’s death in March, at the age of 94.
Much has been made of Reagan’s legacy, and the former actor remains a near-mythical figure among Republicans over 27 years after he left office. As such, it is perhaps no surprise that the $5.7 million auction far out-stripped its conservative $2 million estimate. The 700 lots included furniture, books, memorabilia, jewelry, paintings, sculpture, and other artworks and decorative objects from the Reagan’s Los Angeles home, with proceeds benefiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.
The showstopper was an octagonal-shaped diamond, sapphire, and ruby ring set in an American flag motif. The piece, by Bulgari, went for $319,000, on an estimate of just $5,000–8,000.
A $277,500 fragment of the Berlin Wall, signed by Reagan and covered in graffiti, was expected to hammer down between $10,000 and $20,000. Now the collector can perform Reagan’s iconic speech in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in which he issued the rallying cry “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” in the comfort of his or her own home.
The Reagans were also major art collectors, with works by Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses, Olaf Karl Wieghorst, and other artists finding buyers, led by Fourth of July Fireworks, a personal gift to Nancy Reagan by the artist, famed singer Frank Sinatra. The 1984 oil painting, one of several by Sinatra’s at auction, went for $223,500, the third-highest price overall, on an estimate of $6,000–8,000.
Other highlights include Reagan’s Tony Lama-designed cowboy boots ($199,500 on estimate of $10,000–20,000), a NFL Wilson football he signed in honor of his iconic film role George “the Gipper” Gipp ($93,750 on estimate of $5,000–10,000), the assorted knickknacks that graced Reagan’s desk in the Oval Office ($32,500 on estimate of $1,000–2,000), and even a set of presidential doodles that Reagan scribbled on White House stationery ($100,000 on estimate of $2,500–3,500).
A related online sale at Christie’s that runs through September 28, offers the couple’s Thanksgiving platter, which comes with turkey-shaped salt and pepper shakers, and a 1983 signed lithograph, titled Abstract Landscape, by Frank Sinatra. The work is already up to $6,500, despite a pre-sale estimate of just $800–1,200.
See the slideshow below for more highlights from the auction.
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