As a writer, Jackie Collins had a legendary distinction: Every one of her 32 novels—from Hollywood Wives to Poor Little Bitch Girl to Lucky—was a New York Times bestseller. Many were made into movies or miniseries starring the likes of Farrah Fawcett, Nicolette Sheridan, and the author’s own sister, Joan Collins, as her trademark ambitious heroines. And one of her early sensual books was even banned in some countries.
The late British writer’s success inevitably helped her amass a significant art and design collection, which filled her Beverly Hills mansion for years. Now, much of that trove, along with writing memorabilia, such as signed first editions, hits the auction block this week.
Dubbed “Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters,” the sale takes place on May 16–17 at Bonhams Los Angeles auction house, and will continue online on the 18th.
“Jackie never did anything in small measures,” says Charlie Thomas, director of private collections and house sales for the auctioneer, who is overseeing the sale. “The collection reflects her personality whether it is through the humor in many of the paintings… or the wonderfully glamorous Art Deco sculptures, and her love of big cats and leopard print.” He adds, “there are a lot of panthers! She was famously quoted saying ‘you can never wear enough leopard print.’”
With a penchant for both bling and high design, Collins collected several Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Louis XVI pieces. Among the most expensive items on offer are her jewelry; an Art Deco platinum necklace with diamonds, emeralds, and other precious stones, for example, is estimated at $40,000 to $50,000.
“Her taste in jewelry was bold, feminine, and eclectic, and she would make any style or period look contemporary. She liked to layer her necklaces,” says Thomas. In particular, the author favored emeralds and sapphires, but the sale’s final lot is a 6.04-carat pear-shaped diamond and platinum ring, which is estimated at $100,000 to $150,000.
Collins also had notable timepieces by Patek Philippe, Chopard, and Harry Winston, and many statuettes of dancing or posing women by such artists as Josef Lorenz and Erte. (Collins was the daughter of a dancer, Elsa, and of London theatrical agent Joseph Collins.)
A white baby grand piano is also on the block with a suggested starting bid of $1,000. And the author’s metallic-gold Jaguar, a 2002 XKR, carries an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.
Rounding out the sale is a selection of paintings and posters, some clothing (from evening gowns to jean jackets,) and even the author’s director’s chair, emblazoned with her name, carrying a $500 suggested starting bid.
The “collection gives an intimate glimpse into her fascinating world,” says Thomas. “Jackie wrote about glamorous lives and one can imagine she drew inspiration from her own fabulous Beverly Hills house.”
As is tradition at estate sales of the famous, many items carry estimates that don’t take into account the celebrity provenance of the property, allowing for the possibility of fan-fueled bidding wars to break out.
An undisclosed percentage of proceeds from the sale of the estate, which is estimated at $3 million, will be donated to a trio of charities that help women: Write Girl, the Malala Fund and Equality Now.
“Jackie Collins: A Life in Chapters,” May 16–17, Los Angeles. bonhams.com