Whitney Houston’s stage-worn dresses crossing the podium

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Fifteen gowns and dresses previously owned by Whitney Houston, some worn WH-dresseswebon-stage and others at events and galas, plus some of the late singing legend’s personal effects (such as pins, costume jewelry and other stage items), will be sold at public auction on Saturday, Nov. 21st, by Stevens Auction Company, at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Resort.

The Whitney Houston items are the undisputed stars of the auction, but also sold will be many fine antique items, pulled from prominent estates and collections from Texas to the East coast. Includes will be priceless American and European antiques, and a rare 1,600-pound bronze door, quite possibly the most important antique bronze sculpture of a door ever offered at auction.

Also sold will be a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) that has been authenticated as original. Prior to his death from a heroin overdose in his art studio at age 27, Basquiat was an American artist, musician and producer whose neo-expressionist and primitive paintings have sold for dizzying sums. One of his works recently sold at auction for a staggering $42.9 million.

Stevens Auction Company (based in Aberdeen, Miss.) has entered into an agreement with the Opryland Hotel (located on Opryland Drive in Nashville) so that 275 rooms will be available for attendees of this auction, at the deeply discounted room rate of $189 per night (the regular room rate is over $300 per night). Rooms must be booked by Wednesday, Nov. 11th, for the low rate.

“Folks who plan to attend this auction – and we expect there will be many – must mention the Whitney Houston auction and Stevens Auction Company when they call the Opryland Hotel,” said Dwight Stevens of Stevens Auction Company. “For those who can’t come in person, online bidding will be available via LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be taken.”

The auction will get underway promptly at 10 a.m. Central time, and an auction open house (or Bronze-doorwebpreview) will take place on Friday, Nov. 20, from 3-8 p.m. It will coincide with the opening of the 2015 Opryland Country Christmas, an annual spectacle having five million Christmas lights. The Opryland Hotel is practically a city unto itself; visitors will be in awe of its size and beauty.

The Whitney Houston dresses and personal effects are from the singer’s Bodyguard World Tour, launched on the heels of the hit movie The Bodyguard (starring Ms. Houston and Kevin Costner) and taking her to numerous countries on five continents from July 1993 to November 1994. At the conclusion of the tour, the items were placed into storage at a New Jersey storage facility.

For reasons that are still unclear, the storage fees went unpaid and piled up over the course of years. Finally, a court ordered that some of the items be sold at auction to satisfy that debt. In 2007, five dresses and three ensembles from Houston’s wardrobe were sold at auction. Then, in 2012, just weeks after the singer’s death, another auction was held, this time in Beverly Hills.

At that sale, a bustier embellished with elaborate beading, rhinestones and pearls hammered for $19,200; the grey velvet gown Houston wore when she attended the Clive Davis pre-Grammy party with then-husband Bobby Brown in 1996 brought $11,520; and two sets of earrings and a vest worn in The Bodyguard (1992) fetched $8,500. In all, bidders paid a total of about $80,000.

The fifteen dresses and gowns in the Stevens auction are in pristine, like-new condition. All were important to Ms. Houston’s career and the public will be viewing them for the first time since she wore them and they went into storage. Perhaps the most important one of the group is a gold and white dress designed by Bob Mackie. All the dresses, though, are seen as highly collectible.

The antiques and collectibles in the sale, in addition to the remarkable bronze door, will include memorabilia, artwork and many items never before offered to the public – around 350 lots in all. Photographs of most or all of the lots being offered will soon be posted to the Stevens Auction Company website – at www.stevensauction.com. Check for updates as auction day approaches

The auction will be broadcast in real time around the world through LiveAuctioneers.com, but bidders should know that they must register to bid online at least 12 hours prior to the start of auction in order to be approved to bid. A 15 percent buyer’s premium and applicable Tennessee state sales tax will be charged on all purchases. Phone bids are available with prior arrangements.

To enjoy the deeply discounted room rate at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Resort, click on the link shown: https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_gi_new&groupID=52714794

Steinway-pianowebPrior to the Nov. 21 auction in Nashville, Stevens Auction Company will conduct another sale – on Saturday, Oct. 3rd – that is also packed with quality items. Sold will be a fantastic collection of 19th century antique furnishings from five estates, including Temple Heights (circa 1837, in Columbus, Miss.); two estates out of Baton Rouge (La.); one estate from Jackson (Miss.); and an art collection out of Dallas, Tex. The auction will be held at the Prentiss Club in Natchez, Miss.

Headlining that event will be an original gouache and pencil rendering (not a print) by the iconic pop artist Andy Warhol, of Marilyn Monroe. Also sold will be furniture by makers such as J. H. Belter, J. & J. W. Meeks, Alexander Roux, R. J. Horner and Mitchell & Rammelsberg; a large collection of brilliant cut glass; early lighting; hand-painted porcelains; antique clocks; sterling silver; china; hand-made Persian rugs; primitives; Victorian mirrors; and bronze castings.

Stevens Auction Company is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, you may call them directly, at (662) 369-2200; or, you can e-mail them at stevensauction@bellsouth.net. To learn more about Stevens Auction Company and the upcoming November 21st and October 3rd auctions, please visit www.stevensauction.com.

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