This is the most expensive auction of a person’s estate collection ever

Photo credit: Alexandre Guiramontes/Getty Images/The De Caires Sheffield Foundation

Another week, another iteration of auctioning off Karl Lagerfeld’s furniture, paintings, fashion shoots, et al.

Lagerfeld’s collection of art has been institutionally owned since he passed away in 2017, but there is a reason why this auction, to be held next month in Switzerland, is touted as the biggest ever sale of one person’s collections: the items will fetch their lowest price.

“The entire sale was entrusted to Christie’s, who will be handling sales of art and fashion by the estates of several designers and artists, including Andy Warhol, Isabella Blow, Yves Saint Laurent, Elsa Schiaparelli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Franco-Beatrix Bettini and Isaac Mizrahi,” states an official press release.

This listing garnered a top bid of $22,000 within the first hour of bidding, an impressive sum to say the least. A far cry from the staggering price Lagerfeld commanded for his work in the past, when an earlier auction in 2010 resulted in $3.25 million in sale value (it was “the most expensive house sale in history at the time, as many of the pieces were already ‘irreplaceable.'”).

Photo credit: Alexandre Guiramontes/Getty Images/The De Caires Sheffield Foundation

Not all of the pieces, however, were destined for the auction block. Christie’s offered to keep a portion of Lagerfeld’s furniture collection at their discretion, but he offered to do the same with his clothing. This will allow dealers to continue to own these pieces (without selling them, of course) and allow people in the public who do not have the resources to purchase everything Lagerfeld’s had to offer to access these goods.

Christie’s reasons:

Christie’s will keep the bulk of the furniture out of the auction, allowing the institutional managers to work with professionals to continue to salvage their pieces. This mechanism will ensure that the furniture is processed correctly in accordance with the unique needs of each museum and consider the future storage and redecoration wishes of the owner. At the same time, Christie’s will extend the terms of the contract to allow the buyer to buy up all the works by Karl Lagerfeld for the collection with no additional charge. Also, in consideration of the new generation of collectors and designers, such as Rag & Bone, Jonathan Anderson, Craig Green, and Thakoon, the auction house believes that it is fitting to also offer the additional pieces that Lagerfeld will supply on a different basis: one that does not divide the collection but leaves a complementary element for future generations to appreciate.

This is something that we will be eagerly watching for. These pieces won’t be for the paparazzi’s house parties any time soon, but then again, what Lagerfeld’s pieces were worth in the spotlight will hardly hold true. And if you didn’t imagine that “for the greater good” was a factor to consider when dealing with these objects of interest… you must not be this cash-rich clientele.

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