News & Opinion | May 7, 2018 9:32 am

Bidding Frenzy Over Rockefeller Estate Could Surpass $500 Million

The auction has about 1,500 lots, including Picassos, Persian rugs and Napoleon's silverware.

David Rockefeller (Shepard Sherbell/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images

More than 1,500 items from Peggy and David Rockefeller’s private estate are coming up for auction, starting May 8 at Christie’s in New York—and the results could be phenomenal. The valuables up for bid include Impressionist and American paintings, English furniture and silver, 19th century carriages, Persian rugs, Japanese porcelain, Moroccan lamps, Napoleon’s dinner service, duck decoys, gilded Buddhist deities, and African figurines, according to Bloomberg. Christie’s official estimate of the items’ worth is over $500 million, but Bloomberg writes that some believe it may be go for much higher. There are highly coveted pieces of the collection, for instance, like rare modern paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. And there is, of course, a high—and as yet unknown—premium for owning something once attached to the Rockefeller name.

“You can’t calculate it,” said Jonathan Rendell, Christie’s deputy chairman to Bloomberg. “The Rockefellers are almost American royalty.”

As a result, some more mundane items may far surpass normal expectations. Like the 14-karat gold money clip in the shape of Rockefeller Center. It was estimated at $800 to $1,200, but reached $26,000 after more than 50 bids in an early sale. On Sunday, a pair of 3-inch porcelain tigers created in circa 1820 that had had a pre-sale estimate of $500 went for roughly 10 times that amount.

Online bidding ends May 11.