Pop star Elton John's sale of the contents of his London home--as he goes minimalist after a lifetime of flamboyant extravagance--smashed expectations as it raised over $2.3 million on Tuesday. The auction of everything from Elizabethan paintings to Art Deco beds had been expected to raise $1.3 million, with prices ranging from $66 to $66,000 pounds for items of furniture, paintings, baubles, and even a pair of stone poodles. "This wasn't a sale of memorabilia, but Elton's taste proved to have an extraordinarily wide appeal with enthusiastic buyers from around the world," Marcus Linell, specialist at auction house Sotheby's, said.
Unlike the 1988 sale of the singer's entire wardrobe, there was little personal in Tuesday's auction. "He bought everything in a six-month spree and told his decorator to make something of it," said a Sotheby's spokeswoman before the sale. Top price in the sale was paid for Maxwell Armfield's painting of Madison Square Park, which went for $110,000, nearly double its top presale estimate, while a portrait painted in 1617 of Queen Elizabeth I and priced at $66,000 was sold for $89,000. The pictures were among a large selection of mostly 16th and 17th century portraits priced from $6,600 that hung in the singer's home in London's Holland Park neighborhood, dominating the entry hall.
The sale included lamps, gilt mirrors, glass baubles, candelabras, tables, cupboards, clocks, statues, a full dining room suite and dinner service, and the contents of two living rooms and several bedrooms. Elton's own satin birch and rosewood bed went for $5,900, more than double the expected price. Virtually everything was sold from a complete sitting room suite in leopard-skin fabric to a striking picture by Paul Jouve of a black jaguar waiting to pounce on its unwary victim. A spokesman for the out singer-pianist, who has made--and spent--millions in a prolific career spanning some three decades, said he was "delighted" with the result of the sale.