Vivien Leigh's Personal Belongings Net $3 Million at Auction
"Being able to share our grandmother's legacy through her collection has ensured that her memory continues to live on," said Leigh's family.
Although it's been 50 years since her death, it seems the world still can't get enough of Oscar-winning actress Vivien Leigh, best known for her role in Gone With the Wind. At least, that seemed to be the case at a recent auction held at Sotheby's London, where Leigh's personal belongings were up for bidding.
According to the auction house, over 1,400 participants from 52 countries participated in the sale and brought the auction total to £2,243,867 ($3,031,016).
The collection, passed through Leigh's family, included the late star's personal copy of Gone With the Wind, given to her by author Margaret Mitchell, which sold for £50,000 ($66,933.50), and her Gone with the Wind film script (circa 1939), which went for £58,750 ($78,646.86). A painting by Sir Winston Churchill that was given to Leigh in 1951 was purchased for £638,750 ($855,075.46), as opposed to its pre-sale estimate of around £70,000 to £100,000 ($94,000 to $134,000).
A gold ring inscribed with "Laurence Olivier Vivien Eternally" — which was given to her by her late husband, to whom she was married from 1940-1960 — started at around £400 to £600 ($535 to $800) and ended up selling for £37,500 ($50,000).
"Being able to share our grandmother's legacy through her collection has ensured that her memory continues to live on. It’s been incredibly exciting finding out more and more about how Vivien lived her life, her love of art and books and old English houses, and the way she decorated her homes," Leigh's family said in a statement. "We felt the time was right to share these personal objects with the world and just hope the successful bidders will enjoy these pieces as much as we all have."
Added Sotheby’s U.K. chairman Harry Dalmeny: "On screen, Vivien delivered two of the most iconic lines of the century in her roles as Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois, performances that are indelibly ingrained in cinematic history. Today's stupendous result makes abundantly clear that our fascination with this extraordinary woman shows no sign of abating."