Elizabeth Taylor collectibles
Elizabeth Taylor (February 27 1932 – March 23 2011) born Elizabeth Rosemund Taylor, was a British-American actress. Taylor is widely considered one of the leading ladies from the golden age of cinema.
Life and career
Born in Hampstead, London in 1932 to American parents, Taylor and her family moved to California in 1939 shortly before the beginning of the second world war. Taylor was a child star and appeared in her first film, There’s One Born Every Minute, aged nine, before starring in Lassie Come Home and Little Women.
She seamlessly progressed into adult roles and won Oscars for Butterfield 8 in 1960 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 1966.
Married eight times, twice to Richard Burton, Taylor was rarely out of the limelight, even when her best acting years were behind her.
Selected film career
• 1949 Little Women
• 1951 A Place in the Sun
• 1954 Elephant Walk
• 1954 The Last Time I Saw Paris
• 1956 Giant
• 1957 Raintree County
• 1958 Suddenly, Last Summer
• 1958 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
• 1960 Butterfield 8
• 1963 Cleopatra
• 1966 Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Memorabilia from Taylor’s film career can attract substantial interest at auction. Vintage MGM portrait photographs from the 1940s have changed hands for more than $350 while original film posters can also attract interest.
Cinema lobby posters are particular popular and can realise three figures, while an autographed advertising placard for the 1956 hit Giant made $418 in a 1987 sale.
Silver Liz, a 1963 artwork by Andy Warhol, achieved $10.8m at a Christie’s auction in 2010. The work had not been viewed for more than 20 years and made six times its estimate.
Taylor’s autograph is highly prized among collectors and there are many forgeries. Taylor’s handwritten letters are especially popular, particularly those to “first love” Glenn Davis, a college football star. The relationship was in fact a publicity stunt organised by her mother.
In May 2011 a collection of over 60 love letters written by the 17-year-old Taylor to her fiance William Pawley Jr. were sold during an RR Auction online sale. The letters, which dated from 1949, sold for $47,625.
A gown worn by Taylor to the 1969 Oscars sold for $167,500 at a Christie’s auction in 1999.
Taylor was famed for her love of jewellery and she was never short of suitors willing to buy her gifts.
Christie’s announced in June 2011 that it would sell jewellery which belonged to Elizabeth Taylor in a succession of auctions, beginning on December 13 2011. Fashion items, accessories, art and memorabilia owned by Taylor will also feature. The collection will first embark on a three-month worldwide tour, beginning in September 2011. Her jewellery collection is estimated to be worth in the region of $100m.
The Taylor-Burton necklace, which includes a 68-carat diamond, bought by Richard Burton for Taylor in 1969, is possibly the most famous piece of Liz Taylor jewellery. Following the couple’s second divorce it was sold to New York jeweller Henry Lambert for $5m in 1979. Its current owner is Robert Mouawad.
In December 2011 the Legendary Jewels Evening Sale at Christies sold 80 pieces of jewellery from taylor's collection for a total price of $116 million, making it the most expensive single-owner jewellery collection ever sold at auction.
See main article: Elizabeth Taylor Legendary Jewels Evening Sale results
Strands of Elizabeth Taylor's hair can often be found through specialist companies, such as A Small Piece of History.
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