Unsurprisingly, when Karl Lagerfeld died in 2019, the value of (and interest in) Chanel pieces on the secondary market skyrocketed. It's a well-known phenomenon, especially in the art world, called the "death effect": the idea that the value of artists' works will appreciate after their passing. Simple supply versus demand.
Now, ardent fans of the iconic designer can rejoice—an opportunity has arisen once more to own a piece of his legacy. Next month, Christie's will auction more than 100 Chanel jewels created during Lagerfeld's 36-year tenure as the brand's creative director.
The treasure trove comes courtesy of Susan Gutfreund, the Upper East Side grande dame whose late husband John, as CEO of Salomon Brothers, was the undisputed King of Wall Street in the '80s—until a huge 1991 scandal involving illegal bidding by the firm in the Treasury securities market led to his downfall.
This landmark offering—many of these jewels are prototypes, one-of-a-kind, or have never before been seen in public—is part of a larger sale of the couple's collection from their palatial digs at the Rosario Candela-designed 834 Fifth Avenue. “For collectors and enthusiasts of the house of Chanel, this online sale comprises perhaps the greatest single owner collection of Lagerfeld era Chanel jewelry to ever be presented at auction," says Claiborne Poindexter, specialist for Christie's Jewels.
If history has taught us anything, this sale will be competitive (to say the least) but consider it a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own something no one else will ever have. And what better way to start the year fresh than with a healthy dose of shimmering '80s nostalgia?
This online auction, Susan and Karl: Important Chanel Fashion Jewelry from The Collection of Mrs. John H. Gutfreund, runs from January 14-29 at christies.com
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