Hundreds of Lee Radziwill's Belongings Are Being Auctioned Right Now, Including a Bracelet She Once Gave Jackie Kennedy as a Gift
In her 85 years of life, Lee Bouvier Radziwill was many things. She was an American style icon. She was a socialite. She was an actress and an interior decorator, each for a brief time. She was American royalty, as the younger sister of First Lady Jackie Kennedy. And she even became actual royalty, acquiring a princess title after marrying a Polish prince in 1959.
So it comes as no surprise that, up until her death in February 2019, Radziwill lived a life filled with beautiful things. And now, some of her most prized possessions are on display — and for sale — at Christie’s. The Collection of Lee Bouvier Radziwill is on display in New York, featuring jewelry, handbags, fine art, books, and home decor items, as of Oct. 11. The auction will begin on Oct. 17 (10 a.m. EST), shoppable in person and online, and according to Christie’s Associate Vice President and Specialist Liz Seigel, there are a few pieces in particular that will generate major interest.
“I think the moonstone and gold charm bracelet is going to go wild,” Seigel tells InStyle of the heirloom, which is estimated to take in between $1,000 and $1,500. “It was a 20th birthday gift from Lee to her sister, Jackie. It’s inscribed ‘J.L.B FROM C.L.B., JULY 28, 1949’ and also features another inscription in French [that translates to] ‘Whistle if you want me’ alongside a little gold whistle. It’s a charming memento of their close relationship, which is so lovingly portrayed in the book they wrote together, One Special Summer — and the book is also included in the auction.”
The book club edition of the duo’s illustrated travel journal, inscribed by both sisters “With all best wishes,” is expected to sell in the range of $4,000 to $6,000, and a deluxe first edition of the book is also for sale. Other notable items include albums documenting Radziwill’s visits to India and Pakistan with Kennedy. “Those are so special,” says Seigel. “Each photograph in the beautifully bound albums is fantastic, and offers such an evocative view into both the personal and politic world in which they lived.”
Just like Radziwill herself, “the lots being offered for sale are timeless,” says Seigel. Check out some of our favorite pieces being auctioned below (note: the estimated price listed for each lot indicates what the Christie’s team expects it to sell for) and head to christies.com to view the full collection.
Moonstone and Gold Charm Bracelet
From around 1949, the bracelet features three moonstone cabochons set between 14k gold openwork links as well as a suspended whistle charm inscribed with “J.L.B. FROM C.L.B., JULY 28, 1949” on one side and “SIFFLEZ SI TU ME VEUX,” which translates to “Whistle if you want me,” on the other. Given to Jackie as a 20th birthday present, the bracelet is likely to have also served as a going-away present for Jackie, who was heading off to study abroad in France that same year.
One Special Summer by Lee Bouvier and Jacqueline Bouvier
In 1951, Radziwill traveled to meet her sister Jackie, who was studying at the Sorbonne in Paris for a year. Together they set off to travel the continent, documenting their trip with notes and illustrations featured in this deluxe first edition of their travel journal, published in 1974. The limitation page also features both of the sisters’ signatures.
One Special Summer by Lee Bouvier and Jacqueline Bouvier
Taffin Amethyst and Tsavorite Garnet Ring
The size 4.5 Taffin ring features an oval cabochon amethyst surrounded by pave-set circular-cut tsavorite garnets. Mounted in 18k yellow gold, an inscription inside the band reads “LEE WITH LOVE HAMILTON.”
Jacob Petit Porcelain Cabbage Form Tureen
The mid-19th century serving dish — acquired from Bardith, New York — features purple and turquoise leaves on its cover and stand, as well as a blue “JP” monogram.
Chanel Faux Pearl Necklace and Earrings
Two fashion jewelry items from Chanel are being sold together: a single-strand 17.5 inch faux pearl necklace that features a rhinestone hook and eye closures, along with a pair of blue glass rhinestone and gilt-metal clip-on earrings.
Indian Carved Palmwood Camel Figure
The 25-inch camel sculpture, which features a French gilt-metal dog collar engraved “Henri PICHON,” was prominently featured in Radziwill’s New York apartment.
Two Pairs of Gucci Sunglasses
Two variations on the same round frames are being auctioned together. One pair is faux tortoiseshell and features gold-tone details and the other is blue with silver-tone details. Each pair comes in its original Gucci hard case.
Christian Dior Diamond and Gold Earrings
The pair of “Coquine” hoops are designed with suspended bezel-set circular-cut diamonds mounted in 18k yellow gold. They’re being auctioned separately in white gold, too.
Line Vautrin Bronze Box
The 3 and 3/4 inch box was created by French designer Line Vautrin between the years of 1945 and 1950. It was on display in Radziwill’s Paris apartment along with similar designs by Vautrin.
Tory Burch Handbag
The large black bag from Tory Burch is appropriately named the “Lee Radziwill” style. So yes, Lee Radziwill’s very own Lee Radziwill bag could very well be yours.
Limoges Porcelain Arorial Part Dinner Service
Featuring the Radziwill coat-of-arms in blue, the yellow-ground set is comprised of 21 dinner plates, 32 luncheon plates, 10 double-handed soup cups with 11 stands, six demitasse saucers, and 12 Limoges dessert plates with gilt scrollwork at the rims.
French Ormolu Model of a Toucan
Perched on an ormolu-mounted ebonized base, the 9-inch tall bird sculpture is estimated to be from the late 19th or early 20th century and was originally in Radziwill’s Paris apartment before she brought it to New York.
Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Earrings
The sparkly dome-shaped clip-on earrings are set with grey rhinestones and mounted in blackened base metal.
Charles x Ormolu Clock
The patinated bronze and frosted glass clock features a globe dial and is estimated to be from 1835. It was used in Radziwill’s Paris apartment.
Four Designer Belts
A set of four belts — two from Paco Rabanne, one from Lanvin, and one from Calvin Klein — are being sold as one lot. They’re all in the same color scheme, featuring black and silver details.
La Comédie Humaine by Honoré de Balzac
Featuring 41 volumes, this edition of French novelist Honoré de Balzac’s works was a gift from Jackie Kennedy to Lee Radziwill, whose interior designer Mongiardino frequently quoted Balzac — particular his maxim that “the wise man goes back to the origins of ancient times.”
From the 1950s, the glamorous brooch features a cluster of circular-cut diamonds mounted in white gold.
Three Hermes Bracelets
Each of the three classic Hermes enamel bangles — one wide and two mega-wide — features a colorful geometric pattern.
Roger Vivier Evening Clutch
The black satin handbag from Roger Vivier packs glamorous crystal-embellished details and major vintage vibes.
Group of Continental Clear and Ruby Glass Drinking Wares
The vast assortment of glassware includes ten Baccarat sherry glasses monogrammed “LSR” for Lee and Stanislaw Radziwill, 11 Baccarat decanters and stoppers, two different sets of Murano glasses, and a set of clear wine glasses that feature ruby rims.
Two Lanvin Necklaces
Two Lanvin necklaces are being auctioned together. One necklace is set with faux pearls and rhinestones, mounted on a silk cord (43 inches). The other features a large pendant and is made of glass, rhinestone, and leather (20.5 inches).
Two Empire Ormolu Urns Mounted as Lamps
A gilded pair of early 19th century urns were transformed into lamps and remained fixtures in Radziwill’s New York apartment.
Four Pairs of Kenneth Jay Lane Earrings
All four pairs are from Kenneth Jay Lane, but Radziwill most frequently wore the two black styles — both dome-shaped, one set with round rhinestones and the other centered on round blue rhinestones — as they were noted favorites.
Circular Indian Silk Tablecloth
Designed by Radziwill herself, the silk tablecloth measures 116 inches in diameter.
Venetian Burgundy Cut Velvet Throw
The square-shaped 20th-century throw was used in Radziwill’s New York apartment and clocks in at 69 inches and is monogrammed “LR” in cut velvet patchwork.