Rockefeller sale hits record $832 million, the largest for a single collector

  • Auction totals for the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection at Christie's reached $832.6 million, making it the largest from a single collection ever.
  • Twenty-two records were set during the auction for certain artists or items.
  • Among the records were new auction highs for Monet (a water lilies painting that went for $84.7 million) and Matisse ('Odalisque Couchee aux Magnolias' went for $80.7 million).
Employees pose with "Odalisque couchee aux magnolias," 1923 by Henri Matisse at Christie's in London, Feb. 20, 2018.
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Employees pose with "Odalisque couchee aux magnolias," 1923 by Henri Matisse at Christie's in London, Feb. 20, 2018.

The Rockefeller sale may have set a new record for records.

The sale of the Peggy and David Rockefeller Collection at Christie's, which wrapped up Friday night, reached a total of $832.6 million. It is now officially the largest auction of a single collection ever.

And there were 22 records set during the auction for certain artists or items, including new auction highs for Monet (a water lilies painting that went for $84.7 million) and Matisse ("Odalisque Couchee aux Magnolias" went for $80.7 million).

The sales total blew past the estimate of $500 million, as bidders from 53 countries vied for a piece of Rockefeller family history. Some of the pieces sold for 10 times or even 100 times their estimates. Over 80,000 people visited the exhibit as it toured the world in Hong Kong, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Beijing, New York and Shanghai.

Picnic set given to the Rockefellers by the king of Morocco

"The level of engagement around the world reaffirms the resonance of Christie's name as well as continued global interest in collecting," said Marc Porter, chairman, Americas for Christie's.

Among the more colorful highlights:

  • A money clip with the outline of Rockefeller Center was estimated to sell for $800 to $1,200 but sold for $75,000.
  • David Rockefeller's Martini shaped cufflinks, estimated at $400 to $600, went for $13,750.
  • A picnic set given to the Rockefellers by the king of Morocco, was estimated to sell for $5,000 to $10,000 but sold for $212,500.
  • A set of china used by Napoleon, estimated at $150,000 to $250,000, went for $1.8 million.

All of the proceeds of the auction will go to charities that were designated by David Rockefeller before his death in 2017. Among the beneficiaries: Harvard will get $100 million, the Museum of Modern Art will get $100 million and the Rockefeller Brothers fund will receive $250 million.

Other beneficiaries include the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Farmland Trust and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.

Set of china used by Napoleon

"These funds will provide very meaningful support to important institutions and foundations devoted to scientific research and higher education, support for the arts, foreign policy, and the conservation of coastal and agricultural lands," said David Rockefeller Jr., David Rockefeller's son. "This was an experience that beautifully and thoroughly conveyed Peggy and David Rockefeller's great passion for art, design, craftsmanship and beauty. Just as my siblings and our own children are full of pride and gratitude at the end of this historic week, we know our parents would feel the same."

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