At Large  February 29, 2024  Carlota Gamboa

Elton John Sales of Art and Memorabilia Bring in $20.5 Million

Courtesy Christie's

Elton John's 1990 Bentley Continental.

February 28 saw the close of The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road, a series of sales at Christie’s, both live and online, of the property of Elton John. The auctions were connected to the sale of John’s Atlanta, Georgia condo, and thus celebrated the decades of his life spent with his family in that American city. 

The entire series of sales, which featured two live sales as well as six online auctions, brought in a total of $20.5 million for all eight segments, with the two live auctions, The Collection of Sir Elton John: Opening Night, on February 21, and the day sale on February 22, at Christie's New York, bringing in the most at $8 million and $6.5 million, respectively.  

The collection’s big star was Banksy’s Flower Thrower Triptych, which led the ‘Opening Night’ auction achieving $1.9 million. The 2017 work was acquired personally by John from Banksy and is signed on the back of each panel in spray paint. 

Courtesy Christie's

Banksy, Flower Thrower Triptych, 2017

The Opening Night sale showed a promising start as every single one of the 49 available lots sold. With a varied assemblage of personal items like silk Versace dress shirts, paintings by Keith Haring, and a diamond pendant with diamonds that spelled out, “Bitch is Back.” 

There were a few key items that soared above their pre-sale valuation, including a pair of white-rimmed Sir Winston Eyewear prescription sunglasses, circa 1975, which sold eleven times over their low estimate for $22,680. Another fan-favorite was a pair of silver leather platform boots, circa 1971,  emblazoned with the artist’s initials in red that John wore in performances throughout the 1970s. Those sold for $94,500 on a low estimate of $5,000.

Courtesy Christie's

A Pair of Silver Leather Tall Platform Boots, Ca. 1971

The most personal item was perhaps John’s beloved 1990 Bentley Continental, which had been a long-time travel companion, making its way from Los Angeles to Atlanta to the Promenade des Anglais in the South of France. A total of 24 hopefuls bid for the car, driving it from the low estimate of $25,000 to its final sale price of $441,000.

The wide selection of wristwatches were also highly sought-out by auction goers, two of which made record sales for their respective models. John’s leopard-print Rolex Daytona, first debuted in 2004 at Art Basel and features 36 yellow sapphires and 56 diamonds. The timepiece sold for $176,400, while a rare Tank Normale Cartier with a sapphire and diamond inlaid set-case went for $176,400 as well. John’s 18k gold 1991 Cartier’s asymmetrical Crash wristwatch (which some say was inspired by Dalí's painting The Persistence of Memory, 1931) sold for $277,200, more than double its high estimate of $100,000 (which still seemed like a deal considering that watch's  record sale price is $304,700 from May 2022). A ruby and diamond encrusted Cartier Tank circa 1980’s smashed its low estimate of $15,000 when it sold for $214,000 at the February 22 Day Sale.

Courtesy Christie's

Elton John's 18k gold asymmetrical Cartier Crash Watch sold for $277,200.

Other hot items at the day sale were artworks by Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, and Irving Penn. But it was Robert Mapplethorpe’s black and white Calla Lily (1988) (which realized $157,500), alongside Todd Murphy's painting, “Portrait of Elton” (1981) made a personal sale record at $113,400. These both helped the auction house bring in a total of $6.5 million for all 288 available items. 

With regard to the various online sales, over the course of the week, the 120-lot collection of nude images, marble statues and gold crosses in the sale entitled, ‘Love, Lust and Devotion’ made $1,129,086, while the 65 photographs of rock stars and other celebrities dedicated to the 'Elton’s Superstars’ sale made $587,916. The artist’s ‘Jewelry Box’ sale alone was worth $1.7 million, and another $1.3 million came from the 124 artworks and pieces of home-ware by from his ‘Wonky Château' sale. 

About the Author

Carlota Gamboa

Carlota Gamboa is an art writer based in Los Angeles.

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