Glitterati: What We’ve Sold And The Way They Wore It
In our 21 years of business, Joseph DuMouchelle has handled a large number of important pieces from a variety of notable families, public figures, entertainers and celebrities. We have approached each sale with the utmost discretion and respect, a privilege we afford each and every one of our clients, regardless of their provenance. The following pages are just a handful of our notable clients, who are willing to tell their story and share their heirlooms and experiences with the world.
A native Detroiter, we met Aretha through DuMouchelle Art Gallery, which has also worked with other Motown entertainers like Gladys Knight, Barry Gordy and Anita Baker. For Aretha’s 60th birthday, we were invited to bring jewelry to show and sell at her party. Former Detroit mayer Dennis Archer, Detroit Pistons players like Joe Dumars and other notable Detroiters were among the attendees. It was an unforgettable celebration for a living music legend.
Nat King Cole
The singer and entertainer’s appreciation for fine objects and jewelry was as delicate as his exquisite voice, and we were delighted when Cole’s wife Maria came to us with an estate of approximately 60 items. Among them, there was a small English box, set with rubies and diamonds, along with an Edwardian necklace that was also set with rubies and diamonds. Perhaps the most intimate item was an “I Love You” diamond ID bracelet that Cole had given to Maria. He also had a signed Christmas cards from Elvis Presley that made for exceptional memorabilia.
After meeting with Christie’s in Palm Beach, Maples decided instead to work with us to sell the engagement ring that Donald Trump had given to her, a 7.45ct emerald cut diamond ring from Harry Winston. The New York preview of the sale in 2001 brought in an avalanche of press, including coverage from Access Hollywood, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, the New York Post and People magazine—plus a few comments from Trump himself. It was through People magazine that we found our buyer for the ring, who then became a loyal client. Maples donated the proceeds of the sale to a charity.
Elizabeth Taylor wore an intricate silver necklace by the Italian jewelry house Gerardo Sacco in the 1988 movie Young Toscanini, directed by Italian filmmaker Franco Zeffirelli. The owner had originally purchased the necklace from Christie’s and tried to return it to them for their 2011 sale of Taylor’s estate, but ultimately, they came to us. The necklace came with full documentation and receipts, and through joint research with Gerardo Sacco’s team in Italy, were were able to find photographs of Taylor wearing the necklace while on set.
Matilda Dodge Wilson
Matilda was the widow of John Francis Dodge, one of the founders of the Dodge motor company (along with his brother, Horace Elgin Dodge). Wilson was a co-founder of the Oakland campus of Michigan State University (now Oakland University) and commissioned the construction of two of the Detroit area’s most notable buildings, the Music Hall for the Performing Arts and the Meadow Brook Hall. We acquired items from Matilda Dodge Wilson’s estate, and the auction benefitted the Detroit Institute of Arts.
The first designated Head of Design at General Motors, Earl was the first executive in American history to be appointed to a Design position at a major company. He later became vice president of GM and also introduced the Concept Car and designed the Corvette, the Firebird and the Greyhound bus. We met Earl’s son in Palm Beach, where he showed us his father’s platinum Patek Philippe pocket watch. He felt that the watch should be sold through a Detroit company who could promote it to a clientele and audience that fully appreciated the auto legend’s history.
Carolyn Farr Booth
Carolyn came from the Scripps-Booth family; her husband Henry Scripps-Booth was the grandson of the artist, automotive engineer and broadcasting scion James Scripps-Booth. The family was also the founder of the Cranbrook Institute. We sold her exquisite carved Colombian emerald, natural pearl, diamond and platinum sautoir necklace with a large diamond clasp surrounded by smaller emeralds. It was truly a one-of-a-kind, museum-worthy piece.
A native of Miami, Pollak grew up around the entertainment industry; her mother Jerri Kruger Pollak was a big band singer who worked with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and other Rat Pack members. During the Beatles’ first trip to the U.S. in 1964, Pollak’s mother invited the band to stay with the family while visiting Miami Beach to play on the Ed Sullivan show. It was at the Pollak house that the band did their famous 1964 cover shoot for LIFE magazine. Linda told us how she and her siblings stood in place for the photographers while they were setting up the pool shot, and how the band came back to the house to escape the paparazzi. We sold her mother’s pearl ring and earrings, shown here in a photo of her greeting John Lennon and Ringo Starr.
Delphine Dodge Petz
The eldest daughter of Horace E. Dodge, Jr. and a Grosse Pointe, Michigan native, Dodge Petz left behind an estate of jewelry that included a pair of Art Deco diamond and sapphire clips, and an Oscar Heyman diamond, ruby, sapphire and onyx bird brooch.
Detroit’s Auto Families
We have handled many estates from the city’s most prominent auto families, including the Fisher family, the Ford family, the Dodge family, and the Freuhof family, whose 1950s platinum and diamond necklace is shown here.