An extraordinary collection of items belonging to Greta Garbo is to go under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in December.
It is not only designer clothes and shoes worn by the classic film star who dazzled on screen between the 1920s and 1940s that are up for grabs.
A multitude of more obscure items – including a huge inflatable brightly colored plastic snowman, a vintage waffle iron, salt and pepper sellers shaped like geese and a mechanical chef toy that fries eggs – feature in the eye-opening lot.
A “yoga costume”, an old passport, a massage table, several pairs of silk pyjamas and a papier mache cat made in Mexico will go under the hammer in Los Angeles, with prices ranging from $25 for some little toys, to $8,000 for her Louis Vuitton steamer trunk.
The estate – comprising the contents of Greta Garbo’s New York apartment and Swedish mansion – reveals a playful, funny and eccentric side to the actress who died in New York in 1990, aged 84, of pneumonia and renal failure, without ever having married or had any children.
An extraordinary collection of items belonging to Greta Garbo is to go under the hammer at Julien's Auctions in December
Calling Greta Garbo “extremely funny”, “a comedienne”, and “a magical presence in our lives”, the screen icon’s great-nephew Derek Reisfield has written a revealing foreword about the sale of the estate.
Of his great-aunt, Derek Reisfield says: “She taught us how to do cartwheels in our backyard by the pool on hot summer afternoons when she was in her sixties…Garbo loved jokes and wordplay. She could do subtle or slapstick with equal facility.”
He explains how Greta Garbo’s “wry sense of humor and her playfulness can be seen in the toys and gadgets she didn’t let go of – the snowman she kept in her living room to the delight of all of us children and the Swedish trolls she left for us to find in her seat cushions”.
The mechanical chimpanzee with cymbals used to be wheeled out to entertain the children – always accompanied by funny story.
As well as more left-field items such as a vintage waffle iron and recipe, a lamp shaped like a pineapple, a pencil case full of used pens and a fit-to-bursting collection of buttons, the lot features Greta Garbo’s enormous wardrobe.
Clothes, shoes, hats, handbags, coats, jewellery, gloves, eye glasses and a number of silk pyjamas made by designers including Gucci, Valentino, Emilio Pucci, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Salvatore Ferragamo are being auctioned for prices between $100 and over $1,200.
Greta Garbo’s vanity items – including a box of mascara brushes, hair accessories and a vintage Gillette razor – will be sold alongside plenty of smoking paraphernalia, such as ashtrays, matchbooks and boxes and cigarette lighters and cases.
Home furnishings including silverware, glassware, furniture and kitchen utensils will appear on the lot beside traditional collectors items including signed scripts, film stills and photographs.
Born Greta Louisa Gustafson in 1905 in Stockholm to a homemaker and a butcher, Greta Garbo’s career began as a hat model.
She was nominated four times for the Best Actress Academy Award – for her roles in Anna Christie, Romance, Camille and Ninotchka – but never won.
Of her estate, the Beverly Hills-based auctioneers said the very personal collection “has never been previously available and (is) rarely seen by others”.
The sale is set for December 14 and 15.
See full collection on Julien’s Auctions website.
Michael Jackson’s house items from the home where he spent his final days have been displayed at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, where his adoring fans turn the place into a shrine.
The display includes a Victorian baby grand piano, the wooden armoire where Michael Jackson had written a note to himself on the mirror and a kitchen chalkboard where his children inscribed the message, “I love daddy”.
About 25 members of the Official Michael Jackson Fans of Southern California spent the weekend making and delivering glitter-covered cards, handmade Christmas ornaments, flowers and pictures to the auction rooms. They will be passed on to the Jackson family.
Michael Jackson’s house items from the home where he spent his final days have been displayed at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, where his adoring fans turn the place into a shrine
Julien’s Auctions announced last month that it would sell the contents of the sprawling home where Michael Jackson died in 2009.
On Sunday, Julien’s Auctions invited Michael Jackson fans to preview its exhibit of the home’s art and furnishings before it opened to the public on Monday.
“This means a lot, because we don’t have a place to go to leave things for the family,” said Christine Tucker, spokeswoman for the fan club.
“He inspires us to create. We make these beautiful things and we want his kids and his mom to see it.”
Karen Jackson, a 57-year old fan, stayed up all night working on her creation – a charm-covered chain anchored by a metal “M” that includes tiny photos of Prince, Paris and Blanket.
“I’ve been working on this for a year,” Karen Jackson said.
“I hadn’t finished it because I didn’t know how to get it to them.”
Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, said he sought permission from the Michael Jackson’s family to include fans in the auction exhibit, and the megastar’s mother requested that he deliver any handmade items from fans to her.
“They put their hearts into it because they want the kids and Mrs. Jackson to see how much love they have for Michael,” Darren Julien said.
“Michael Jackson has played such an important part in our careers and lives, and this is a fun way to give back. This is Michael’s VIP reception.”
Julien’s Auctions sold the contents of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in April, 2009. The company also sold Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket for $1.8 million over the summer and his signature spangled glove for $350,000 in 2009.
For the auction of items from Michael Jackson’s rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive, Julien’s Auctions has recreated the home’s various rooms inside the Beverly Hills showroom.
There is a formal dining room anchored by a long table and 10 carved chairs, an elegant living room with damask sofas, and several bedrooms – including the one where Michael Jackson died.
The headboard of his bed was removed from the auction at his family’s request, so fans filled the space where the bed would have been with their tribute.
Among the lots available for sale, fans were most interested in photographing the armoire with Michael Jackson’s handwritten message (expected to sell for at least $6,000) and the chalkboard note from his children (expected to fetch more than $400).
Other items for sale include carved wooden tables, antique statues and various framed paintings.
Darren Julien said he wanted Michael Jackson’s fans to be part of the exhibit “not because they’re going to buy anything, but to honor his legacy”.
“Fans are welcome to add to the tribute throughout the week,” he said.
The exhibit of items is free and open to the public. The auction will be held Saturday.