Decor from New York’s iconic luxury hotel is on the block for collectors of a very specific taste
By HANNAH ELLIOTT
JUST two days remain until Oct 17, when the Waldorf Astoria Hotel auction will end. It may take about that long to comb through the more than 80,000 items offered in the first-ever fire sale of one of New York’s — and the world’s — most prestigious hotels.
After announcing a years-long renovation in 2017, Park Avenue’s landmark venue will be selling classical baroque and rococo French furniture from the Windsor Suite, the Cole Porter Suite, the Winston Churchill Suite and the Marilyn Monroe suite, among others.
Kaminski, which has held estate sales for Oprah and for Martha Stewart, is leading the auction, which started online on Oct 3. There’s something for everyone, provided everyone’s taste encompasses crystal chandeliers, porcelain eggs, brass sconces, Barbizon-style chairs, leather-bound books and old photographs of celebrities, including Ella Fitzgerald, Conrad Hilton, Buddy Hackett, Gloria Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Taylor and the Shah of Iran.
Plenty of the Waldorf haul is estimated in the thousands of dollars — but hundreds of notable lots could possibly be had for less than US$1,000 (RM4,150). (A pair of pug pillows, perhaps?) There’s so much inventory it took a team of a dozen movers six weeks to stage it all in a mall 40 miles (64km) outside Boston.
Here are 10 of the most intriguing items up for sale.
Cartier Electric Clock
Lot No: 1,633.
Notes: Straight from the Presidential Suite, which hosted 16 presidents, the electric clock comes carved in burl walnut and measures 87 inches by 18.5 inches by 9 inches. It was made by hand in France.
Steinway & Sons Baby Grand Piano
Lot No: 695.
Notes: The Steinway & Sons black ebony baby grand piano comes from the Saudi Arabian suite. It comes with the highly desirable Model M Steinway & Sons New York label and measures 38 by 67 by 57 inches.
Estimate: US$5,000-US$8,000. (The current bid is US$22,065.)
Yamaha Conservatory Baby Grand Piano
Lot No: 5,104.
Notes: Can’t bring yourself to ante up for the Steinway? Consider the 72-inch Yamaha instead. It’s from the 30th Floor Waldorf Tower suites and comes in black, with a small bench.
Indo Peshawar Palace Carpet
Lot No: 1,050.
Notes: With a Sultanabad design in navy, rust and cream, the carpet measures nearly 14ft wide by 19ft long.
Portrait of a Dog
Lot No: 1,847.
Notes: An oil on canvas painting of an old- fashioned King Charles Spaniel next to a tree — one of the more distinctive paintings on offer.
Still Life of Fruit and Flowers
Lot No: 1,977.
Notes: Oil on canvas, one of the better examples of the myriad oil paintings of flowers and food offered.
Exotic Folding Screen
Lot No: 1,200.
Notes: A dark, wooden four-panel folding screen with a parrot and jungle motif; the panels are 18 inches wide.
Lot No: 9.
Notes: From the Marilyn Monroe Suite, the bevelled mirror comes embossed in black, with gold trim and ribbon detail. It measures 38 inches by 30 inches.
Estimate: US$100-US$150. (The current bid is US$480.)
Pink Chair with Ottoman
Lot No: 11.
Notes: Covered in blush-pink silk, this scalloped chair with rounded back comes with a large, rectangular ottoman and a lumbar pillow with cream lace detail. From the Marilyn Monroe suite.
Estimate: US$400-US$650. (The current bid is US$710.)
Wicker Carriage Chest
Lot No: 5,096.
Notes: Direct from the Winston Churchill suite, it comes with travel labels, side handles and metal clasps for further security. The dimensions measure 25 inches by 24 inches by 23 inches.
Estimate: US$300-US$600. — Bloomberg