Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s Collection Smashes Estimates With $5.7 Million Auction

Top lots included a Bulgari ring and Frank Sinatra painting.

Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Courtesy of Christie's/the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.
Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Courtesy of Christie's/the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.

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.

This American flag-inspired diamond sapphire, and ruby ring by Bulgari was the top lot at the Ronald Reagan private collection auction, selling for $319,000 on a $5,000–8,000 estimate. Courtesy of Christie's.

This American flag-inspired diamond sapphire, and ruby ring by Bulgari was the top lot at the Ronald Reagan private collection auction, selling for $319,000 on a $5,000–8,000 estimate. Courtesy of Christie’s.

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.

Frank Sinatra, <em>Fourth of July Fireworks</em>, signed and dated ‘Sinatra 84’, inscribed “Dear Nancy-/ Happy 4th and Birthday!” was a 63rd birthday gift to Ronald Reagan from the singer. It sold for $223,500 on an estimate of $6,000–8,000 at an auction of the Reagan's collection. Courtesy of Christie's.

Frank Sinatra, Fourth of July Fireworks, signed and dated ‘Sinatra 84’, inscribed “Dear Nancy-/ Happy 4th and Birthday!” was a 63rd birthday gift to Ronald Reagan from the singer. It sold for $223,500 on an estimate of $6,000–8,000 at an auction of the Reagan’s collection. Courtesy of Christie’s.

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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Nancy and Ronald Reagan. Courtesy of Christie's/the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library.
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Fragment of the Berlin Wall signed by Ronald Reagan, $277,500
This $277,500 fragment of the Berlin Wall is signed by Ronald Reagan. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald Reagan doodles, $100,000
Ronald Reagan's presidential doodles on White House stationery sold for $100,000 on estimate of $2,500–3,500. Courtesy of Christie's.
This Nancy Reagan stuff bottle and stopper carried a $3,000 top estimate, but hammered down at $27,500. Courtesy of Christie's.
Nancy Reagan Snuff Bottle, $27,500
This Nancy Reagan stuff bottle and stopper carried a $3,000 top estimate, but hammered down at $27,500. Courtesy of Christie's.
Olaf Karl Wieghorst, The Diamond J Wrangler sold for $27,500 on a $4,000–6,000 estimate at the Ronald and Nancy Reagan private collection auction. Courtesy of Christie's.
Olaf Karl Wieghorst, The Diamond J Wrangler, $27,500
Olaf Karl Wieghorst, The Diamond J Wrangler sold for $27,500 on a $4,000–6,000 estimate at the Ronald and Nancy Reagan private collection auction. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan's custom bar napkins, reading"the drinks are on the house at The Reasans," carried a $400 top estimate, and sold for $7,500. Courtesy of Christie's.
The Reagan’s Bar Napkins, $7,500
Ronald and Nancy Reagan's custom bar napkins, reading"the drinks are on the house at The Reasans," carried a $400 top estimate, and sold for $7,500. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald Reagan-signed football, $93,750
This Ronald Reagan-signed football sold for $93,750 on estimate of $5,000–10,000. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald Reagan’s Tony Lama-designed cowboy boots sold for $199,500 on estimate of $10,000–20,000. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald Reagan’s boots, $199,500
Ronald Reagan’s Tony Lama-designed cowboy boots sold for $199,500 on estimate of $10,000–20,000. Courtesy of Christie's.
A needlepoint cushion emblazoned with Ronald Reagan's monogram was estimated to sell for just $1,500, but brought in $25,000. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald Reagan embroidered pillow, $25,000
A needlepoint cushion emblazoned with Ronald Reagan's monogram was estimated to sell for just $1,500, but brought in $25,000. Courtesy of Christie's.
André Bauchant, Paysage aux paysans sold for $3,750 on a $2,000–3,000 estimate at the Ronald and Nancy Reagan private collection auction. Courtesy of Christie's.
André Bauchant, Paysage aux paysans, $3,750
André Bauchant, Paysage aux paysans sold for $3,750 on a $2,000–3,000 estimate at the Ronald and Nancy Reagan private collection auction. Courtesy of Christie's.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan's cookbook from former White House chef René Verdon sold for just $875. Courtesy of Christie's.
White House Cookbook, $875
Ronald and Nancy Reagan's cookbook from former White House chef René Verdon sold for just $875. Courtesy of Christie's.

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