Auction of The Estate of Oleg Cassini on June 27, 2019
The Legendary Fashion Designer Best Known for Creating Jacqueline Kennedy's Signature Style as First Lady
Auction Total Topped $1.3 Million with 100% of the Lots Sold!
NEW YORK, NY -- The worlds of fashion, art and design converged at Doyle on June 27, 2019 for the auction of the Estate of Oleg Cassini, the legendary fashion designer best known for creating Jacqueline Kennedy’s signature style as First Lady.
This landmark auction offered fashion memorabilia, clothing and accessories, autograph letters, luxury automobiles, arms and armor, artwork, Continental and English furniture, decorations, silver and more from the elegant Manhattan townhouse on 19th Street and from Moorelands, the lavish residence in Oyster Bay Cove on Long Island’s North Shore. The auction in Doyle's Manhattan saleroom was preceded by a three-day public exhibition at Moorelands in Oyster Bay Cove attended by over 1,000 collectors and fans of Mr. Cassini.
With competitive international bidding in the saleroom, on the telephones, and via the Internet, the auction totaled a successful $1,307,931, surpassing its estimate of $578,185-884,260 with an exceptional 100% sold -- a "White Glove Sale" -- all 755 lots were sold!
Antique Arms & Armor
Highlighting the sale was a rare 16th century suit of fluted armor in the Maximilian style that soared past its estimate of $20,000-30,000 to achieve a stunning $262,500 – An American Auction Record for European Armor. This remarkable suit of armor had been acquired by Mr. Cassini from the collection of Lord Astor in England’s Hever Castle.
A Chronicle of Kennedy-era Fashions
An important signed letter from Jacqueline Kennedy dated December 13, 1960 estimated at $10,000-15,000 realized $16,250. Penned about one month following her husband’s election as President, the detailed letter is entirely about fashion and aspects of the highly intimate and influential journey on which the two – Cassini and First Lady – are about to embark.
Fashion memorabilia in the auction features several lots of original Kennedy-era design sketches by Mr. Cassini, as well as a group of colorful drawings by Mr Cassini prepared in the 1990s for his book, A Thousand Days of Magic. The drawings sailed past their estimate of $800-1,200 to achieve $7,500. A detailed Cassini ledger with fabric samples dating from 1960-64 chronicling orders during the Kennedy White House years sold for $2,812, many times its estimate of $500-800.
Attracting attention from collectors was a group of four signed letters from Grace Kelly, with whom Mr. Cassini was briefly engaged prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco. Written circa 1954-55, around the time of the engagement, the letters fetched $12,500, surpassing their estimate of $5,000-8,000. One letter closes with the statement, “I think I’d rather have a ring instead of an automobile. I love you.”
Also offered were numerous lots of suits, coats, shoes, boots and accessories from Mr. Cassini’s personal wardrobe.
Sophisticated Furniture, Decorations & Artwork
With a sophisticated designer’s eye, Mr. Cassini furnished his Manhattan townhouse and Oyster Bay Cove residence with English and Continental furniture, decorations and artwork. Highlights included a graceful circa 1720 George I giltwood and gilt-gesso pier table attributed to the Royal Cabinet Maker James Moore that sold for $75,000, surpassing its estimate of $30,000-50,000. Adding color and whimsy was an extensive green-glazed ceramic cabbage-form service by Dodie Thayer estimated at $3,000-5,000 that fetched $20,000.
Featured in Mr. Cassini’s extensive collection of paintings was a lovely portrait of his mother, Countess Marguerite Cassini, by Russian artist Constantin Makovsky (1839-1915) that caught the attention of bidders on both sides of the Atlantic. Competitive bidding drove the painting far over its estimate of $1,000-3,000 to achieve an exceptional $31,250. Also finding favor at the auction were a pair of portraits by French artist Jenny Legrand titled The Go-Between, one dated 1810, that sold for $28,125, many times their $2,000-4,000 estimate.
The auction offered four luxury automobiles, including a sporty red 2004 Mercedes SL500 convertible with the Cassini crest estimated at $10,000-15,000 that realized $34,375 and an elegant ivory 1987 Rolls Royce Silver Spur that fetched $10,000.
The son of Russian aristocrats, Oleg Cassini was raised in Italy before immigrating in the 1930s to the United States, initially settling in New York. Following his service in the U.S. Cavalry during World War II, he worked as a costume designer in Hollywood before returning to New York and establishing his eponymous label. Mr. Cassini’s career-defining opportunity came in December 1960 when he was chosen by Jacqueline Kennedy to design her fashions for the White House. Read the biographical profile by Specialist Peter Costanzo.
All prices include the Buyers Premium.
Property from the 19th Street townhouse was sold pursuant to a NYC Sheriff's Office property execution seizure, case# 18048607; Property from the Oyster Bay Cove residence was sold on behalf of Oleg Cassini, Inc. and Cassini Parfums, Ltd. by Rosalia Baiamonte, Esq. as court appointed Receiver.
An American Auction Record for European Armor