With eight marriages to seven men, Elizabeth Taylor was never concerned with living a life of restraint. Fitting then that the late beauty's possessions are fetching far more than expected at auction as profligate bidders clamor for a piece of her legacy. An auction of her jewelry at Christie's in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday brought in a record $137.2 million, far surpassing the predicted $30 million. Other items from Taylor's estate, including fashions and film scripts, are also being auctioned off this week. Here, a brief guide, by the numbers:
Record amount that pieces of Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection fetched at auction Tuesday and Wednesday. That makes it "the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history," according to Christie's.
Amount in jewelry sales on Tuesday night alone
Number of pieces from Taylor's jewelry collection auctioned off Tuesday. The remaining 189 went on Wednesday.
Amount that experts predicted the jewelry auction would bring in. "They clearly underestimated the power that is Elizabeth Taylor," says Lindsay Mannering at The Stir.
Amount for which a pearl, diamond, and ruby necklace known as "La Peregrina" was sold. It was a gift from husband Richard Burton to Taylor in 1969.
$2 million or $3 million
Pre-auction estimate of La Peregrina's value. Many items sold for ten times their estimated worth.
Amount Richard Burton paid for the necklace
Number of carats in a diamond ring that sold for $8.8 million
Amount the auction of Taylor's haute couture brought in Wednesday, about ten times the estimate
Amount a silver-encrusted brocade Dior evening gown with matching bag fetched — over 70 times the items' estimated worth of $5000. "A protracted bidding war among several determined would-be buyers" drove the price way up.
Amount that Michael Steinhardt, a collector of art and former hedge-fund manager, paid for a pair of Gucci rock crystal and gold ear pendants. "He is really the best husband in the world," his wife, Judy, said. "There's never a dull moment."
Pre-auction estimate for the Burton wedding bands, the final lot in the jewelry auction
Amount that the two eternity bands in gold and white gold with baguette- and single-cut diamonds ended up fetching
Number of minutes of "intense" bidding over those rings, the longest bidding war of the jewelry auction
Number of years Burton and Taylor were married. The two wed and divorced twice. They first tied the knot in 1964 and divorced in 1974. The next year, they remarried, only to divorce again in 1976.
Sources: About.com, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, The Stir
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- Yes, Republicans can impeach President Obama
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- Twin Peaks: What the newly revealed 'missing pieces' change about the series
Subscribe to the Week