Brooke Astor, the legendary NYC queen of philanthropy who entertained heads of state, royalty, and literati at her Park Avenue and Holly Hill residences, passed away in 2007 at the advanced age of 105. Soon after her death, a bitter legal battle ensued for her lavish estate worth hundreds of millions; her son was accused of grossly mishandling her finances and mistreating her as she descended in to dementia. Anthony D. Marshall, her son, was eventually convicted in 2009 for stealing several million dollars from his mother as she was dying.
However, now that the legal battle for her estate appears to be settled, Sotheby’s can now make Astor’s final wishes come true; before she changed her will due to her son’s coercing while she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, she wish to leave many of her millions to charities she loved such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and the Animal Medical Center.
Sotheby’s will be auctioning 901 lots of the late Mrs. Astor’s possessions on September 24 and 25 with the monies raised going to the charities she championed. The items to be auctioned will include furnishings, jewelry, decorative art and many examples of fine art.
As Mrs. Astor was well-known for having impeccable taste, the auction will certainly be drawing attention from serious art collectors and experts. Among the treasures to be sold will be Louis XV chairs, drawings by old masters, bejewelled keepsakes of carved ivory, and a priceless collection of fine bone china including her favourite teapots.