There’s Going to Be Another Rockefeller Auction—This Time for Items as Cheap as $30

A Connecticut auction house is selling lower-priced lots from the Rockefeller estate.

David in Rockefeller Plaza, April 1982. Image © Rockefeller Archive Center.
David Rockefeller at Rockefeller Plaza, April 1982. Image © Rockefeller Archive Center. Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center 2018.

There weren’t many opportunities for bargain hunters at last week’s blockbuster sale of David and Peggy Rockefeller’s estate at Christie’s, where even a powder compact sold for more than $5,000. But there’s going to be yet another Rockefeller auction, for lower-priced items, next month in Connecticut.

After Christie’s took in some $850 million from its sale, Nadeau’s Auction Gallery in Windsor, Connecticut, went in search of diamonds in the rough. The family-run house chose 623 items from what remained of the estate after the Christie’s sale  and put together a diverse and more reasonably priced auction, which is expected to fetch between $200,000 and $400,000.

“We were brought in to bid on the remaining content of the estate in Sleepy Hollow and New York City,” Edwin Nadeau, Jr., told artnet News. “I’m assuming we were up against multiple different auction houses, but we came out on top and won the right to sell the rest.”

The most expensive lots in the sale are three Pablo Picasso prints (from a portfolio of 12), which are estimated between $5,000 and $10,000 each. At the other end of the spectrum, an iron doorstop molded in the shape of a sheep is estimated between just $30 and $80.

Other gems include a Francis Alys print ($2,000-4,000), a pair of Sevres vases by Mahieddine Boutaleb ($2,000-4,000), and a monogrammed set of gold cufflinks and tie bar ($400-600).

The sale also includes such eclectic items as a set of three coffee machines ($50-100), two sets of golf clubs ($50-100 each), a set of bath towels and mats ($50-100), and a chrome-plated shovel from the groundbreaking ceremony of the United Nations capital master plan in 2008 ($200-400).

“It’s pretty neat to see how worldwide the Rockefellers are and who they knew. For example, we have a silver urn that was given to them by the Emperor of Japan,” Nadeau said. “Ninety percent of items were catalogued and still have a catalog number and a David Rockefeller label on the back. They were meticulously organized, and every item said where it was acquired from.”

Nadeau said the sale is a great second chance for those who were priced out of the auction at Christie’s. “There’s an opportunity for people to come here and get a pair of monogrammed cufflinks for $2,000 instead of $6,000. They can buy it at a lower price than at Christie’s,” he said.


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