Christie’s sold the first pieces of the Heide Horton collection.
AP reports, “Overall, Christie’s said the sale on Wednesday — the first in-person portion of an auction already taking place online this month — tallied $156 million, above the low estimate to reap $139 million in the day’s event.”
Despite initial numbers, many individual items fell short of appraisals.
As it turns out, the history of Helmut Horten’s wealth does not shine bright like a diamond. In 1933 the owners of the Alsburg Brothers department store, Strauß and Lauter, sold their store to Horten at a fraction of the value, then fled Germany to escape Nazi persecution.
Numerous other department stores came under Horten’s ownership because of his relationship with the Nazi party. Heidi Horten used some portion of her husband’s ill-got fortunes to buy the jewelry for auction through Christie’s.
Before the auction, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Jewish Committee, and the Council of Jewish Institutions in France requested that Christie’s postpone the sale until the percentage of proceeds due to Jewish holocaust survivors was decided.
Christie’s went ahead with the sale, telling the BBC; “The proceeds will go to charity, including Holocaust research, and Christie’s will also make a ‘significant contribution’ to good causes” as yet unidentified.
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