Mrs. Astor's platinum, emerald and diamond engagement ring.


NEW YORK - Brooke Astor’s legacy has been in the front of our minds these last few months, as we have prepared for one of the most anticipated single-owner sales at Sotheby’s in recent memory. The Property from the Estate of Brooke Astor sale began Monday morning with palpable enthusiasm, and 901 lots later, with a remarkable 95% finding buyers, the unique collection brought in $18.8 million.

For my part, as the Chairman of Jewellery, North and South America, I knew from the excitement of the exhibition and the fact that the catalogues sold out, that the jewels would sell well. The jewelry from the collection was a dream – beautiful designs, wonderful provenance and the jewels had a story to tell. I was the auctioneer for the last session and when we reached the jewelry section yesterday afternoon, the energy in the saleroom, which was nearing capacity, was palpable. In one of the longer bidding wars of my career, Mrs. Astor’s platinum, emerald and diamond ring, estimated to sell between $100,000 and $150,000, went for $1.2 million to a private American collector in the room.  The lucky winner will no doubt cherish owning one of the most talked about pieces of jewelry in New York – Brooke Astor’s engagement ring from Vincent Astor.

Mrs. Astor’s Bulgari Platinum, 18-karat gold, emerald and diamond necklace also drew excitement, nearly doubling its pre-sale high estimate of $350,000, finally selling for $686,500. It was the last gift to Mrs. Astor from her husband and she wore it often.  

Brooke Astor was a remarkable woman and the success of the two-day single-owner sale is a tribute to her by a world of admirers.