Friday, 16 September 2011
On 13th September Doyle of New York auctioned off the estate of Douglas Fairbanks Jr (1909-2000) and it fetched quite a bit more than the overall estimate. This is fairly surprising, given that his popularity peaked nearly half a century ago and that he was a far cry from the celebrities of our own age. Still, someone must have remembered that DF Sr (1883-1939), had been an early influence on Archie Leach as he started to invent Cary Grant because a gold mounted dressing set that had belonged to father and son went for many times its estimate at a touch under $50,000 and even a scarf that had belonged to John Barrymore and DF Jr went for over $800. I am not entirely sure why people want mementoes of total strangers; although I do sometimes wonder what happened to one particular snuff box, that Brummell left behind, to be sold amongst the 'Property of A Gentleman Gone to The Continent': it contained a note explaining that Brummell had commissioned it for the Prince Regent before their breach. That would be something to possess - because it speaks of the beginning of Brummell's tragic decline. Dressing sets and scarves, with no particular story attached to them don't speak.
Posted by NJS at 11:33