CHICAGO – Clothing and accessories from “The Queen of Mean,” Leona Helmsley, were sold through Leslie Hindman at their Vintage Couture and Accessories auction May 18. The sale fetched nearly $120,000 against an expected $80,000.
The auction house was full of bidders and spectators, and there was heavy bidding on the Internet. Buyers called on the phones to submit bids from all over the world.
Top-sellers included the black silk chiffon evening gown worn in the Helmsley’s Hotel Queen advertisements, set in various areas of their Manhattan hotel, which sold for $1,300; a red beaded Bob Mackie evening gown, which sold for $3,200; and various other custom-made dresses created by her full-time seamstress. Many of these exquisite, finely detailed gowns were worn to her extravagant “I’m Just Wild About Harry” parties she would throw every year for husband Harry’s birthday.
Achieving the highest prices were Helmsley’s J. Mendel brown broadtail coat ($12,000) and a brown sable coat ($6,000). Other notable items include her collection of Ferragamo shoes in every shade of the rainbow, selling for more than $3,000 in total, and the now iconic Chanel pink wool and denim suit that Helmsley wore to prison in 1992, which went for $850.
Christie’s handled the sale of Helmsley’s furniture and other property from her estate earlier this spring in New York, to great results as well.