Film scripts, Givenchy gowns and a Tiffany bangle engraved with a personal message from Steven Spielberg: these are some of the items that make up “The Personal Collection of Audrey Hepburn”, which went on sale at Christie’s auction house on September 27. The auction was only the first part of a two-part sale, but the featured 246 lots realized £4,635,500 ($6.21 million) altogether.
Hepburn’s belongings had been put up by her family after they scoured through the attic of the late actress’s Swiss home. Hepburn’s son, Luca Dotti, noted that his mother “was not a collector but she kept every little bits and pieces for sentimental reasons.”
The memorabilia made up for much more than a yard sale, however. Among the over 500 lots were an array of clothes and accessories such as earrings, gloves and sunglasses that belonged to Hepburn. This includes some of the Hollywood icon’s glamorous dresses that had been designed especially for her by Valentino and Givenchy, the latter with whom she had shared a close relationship.
The real stars of the auction were the British actress’s scripts for films that she is famous for, most notably the 1961 classic, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The script for the film, which includes deleted scenes and hand-written notes by Hepburn in her signature turquoise ink, became the top-selling item when it was sold for £632,750 — breaking the world auction record for a film script. It far surpassed the range of £60,000 and £90,000 that it was estimated to make.
Hepburn’s working script for the 1964 film, “My Fair Lady”, fetched an impressive £206,250; a Cecil Beaton silver print photograph of the actress as Eliza Doolittle from the same film fetched £93,750, well above its estimate of £2,000 to £3,000.
The auction also featured more personal pieces. A 1969 oil on canvas painting by Hepburn entitled “My Garden Flowers” went for £224,750. The final lot of the night was an engraved Tiffany bangle from the late 1980s, given to Hepburn by film director Steven Spielberg, that bore the message “You are my ‘inspiration’ Always, Steven”. It fetched £332,750, almost a hundred times more than its estimated value of £3,000 to £5,000.
The Audrey Hepburn auction saw Christie’s highest online participation for any sale to date, while the London pre-sale exhibition of lots drew in more than 12,000 visitors. As stated by Christie’s director of private collections Adrian Hume-Sayer, “She is one of the greatest icons in the history of film and the incredible result so far, for part one of the collection, is a testament to her enduring appeal.”
The online bidding for the second part of the sale will remain open on Christie’s website until October 4.