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Auctioning the Possessions of the Famous

Recently there has been a great deal of publicity for the much inflated prices people were prepared to pay for jewellery belonging to Elizabeth Taylor. The lady concerned seemed to have considerable skill in receiving very expensive presents only equalled by her ability to marry rich husbands.

Be wary

There is considerable danger in paying over the top for such items, fame can be somewhat ephemeral, especially for media / film people. If I was to ask who were the leading actors in films in the 1950s, many people would be struggling to recall anyone. Take the date back to 1936, the problem would be greater. As each generation passes, the value of such items becomes less, except for those that are associated with a tiny number, whose fame persists, such as Winston Churchill. Tastes change, history is rewritten, and even Nelson has become less in demand. My advice is to be wary and not to look at the long term.

Click here to contact Jonathan Riley, paintings specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.

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