Vintage fashions and celebrity ensembles were part of the focus of Debbie Reynolds’ last auction Sunday for the closing day of items up for bids.
Debbie Reynolds had a dream to see her extensive collection of vintage clothing, props, cameras, and Hollywood memorabilia find a permanent home in a museum, but unfortunately her financial difficulties in organizing a museum and running a casino culminated in her last auction on May 18.
Some of the more popular items featured in the auction included dresses, costumes and jewelry of Hollywood celebrities. Items from Classic Hollywood stars like Vera- Ellen, Ginger Rogers, Marion Davies, Eva Gabor, Mary Pickford, Katherine Hepburn, Lana Turner, and Elizabeth Taylor graced pages of the voluminous online catalog which allowed bidders to select items of their choice.
Reynolds’ daughter Carrie Fisher had just flown back from London for the filming of the new “Star Wars”sequel in time to attend the beginning of her mother’s last auction, and Fisher also had a few items under the gavel, like personal photos of John Belushi, and “Star Wars” artwork and posters. It was her Judith Leiber ‘Faberge’ purse studded with rhinestones and pearls, a gift from her father Eddie Fisher, that brought the most from her offerings, however, at $2,250.
Harold Lloyd’s prosthetic fingers, one of the most unusual items up for bidding, brought in at least $4,250 when it was sold alongside a pair of his personal glasses.
Two drums used during the filming of “Quo Vadis” brought in a much higher price than the high-end estimate of $300 when they were sold for $2,250.
A pair of cologne decanters owned by actress Mary Pickford, and still bearing some of her perfume, went for $3,500.
Just one of Elizabeth Taylor’s dresses, a Thea Porter black jersey gown with spaghetti straps garnered $2,500. Taylor’s Halston dress and robe fetched $1,500, and the evening gown Taylor wore for her 75th birthday party brought $3,750.
One of the most expensive gowns was a silver-sequined costume worn by Diana Ross, which was sold for $14,000, but unfortunately the photo is unavailable.
A blue chiffon pantsuit trimmed with dyed fox and worn by singer, dancer, and actress Ginger Rogers brought $3,250.
A group of 24 Biblical caftans, capes, robes and tunics from Paramount Pictures were sold for $3,500.
Actress Marie Wilson’s Victory purse from World War II went for $1,200.
Reynolds’ personal linen-backed poster from her popular film, “Singin’ in the Rain,” signed by co-stars Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, reached much higher than its original estimate when it sold for $9,500.
One of the surprises for me occurred when I saw several Gina Lollobrigida costumes from Lady L, a film which eventually starred Sophia Loren. I never knew Lollobrigida had been the original choice for the main character in Lady L, which also eventually starred Paul Newman.
Bidding from “the floor” occurred at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio, the actual auction house for Profiles in History in West Hollywood, and clients often competed with fierce online bidders as certain items had more interest with bidders than others.
During the online auction, preview party Friday evening, Reynolds revealed that she still plans to attend the Warner Brothers’ auction of property and memorabilia whenever it might occur as her passion for rescuing Hollywood’s past continues.
The first two Debbie Reynolds’ memorabilia auctions netted approximately 23 million. All figures quoted from yesterday’s auction are officially unverified, but were amounts that halted the advance of the bidding for each particular lot during the online event, which added two million more dollars to the Reynolds’ coffers. Elvis Presley’s Baldwin grand piano from his Holmby Hills mansion brought $50,000 yesterday, but the item bringing in the most from all of Reynolds’ auctions occurred in 2011, and it was the Marilyn Monroe dress from “The Seven Year Itch” for $4.6 million.