NEW YORK -- The household goods and memorabilia of the late Hollywood director Cecil B. DeMille were sold Tuesday at auction for $710,919, nearly $300,000 above the pre-sale value estimate of Christie's gallery.
The highest price fetched from among the 340 items on sale was $121,000 paid by an anonymous bidder for a Gothic revival oak kneehole desk used by DeMille for writing and editing in his 50-room mansion in Los Angeles.
The desk had been valued before the sale at $15,000.
Other top prices were $83,500 paid by a Texas collector for Norman Rockwell's portrait of Victor Mature in the role of Samson tearing down the temple, $46,200 from a California collector for a pair of British flintlock pistols used by Gary Cooper in 'The Unconquered,' and $27,500 paid by New York collector Samuel Borossky for a gold and turquoise scarab necklace worn by Anne Baxter in 'The Ten Commandments.'
A silver tray inscribed with the signatures of scores of Hollywood's greatest stars, including Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, George Raft, Walter Pidgeon, Deanna Durbin and Irene Dunne, was knocked down to a New York collector for $16,500, more than 10 times the pre-sale estimate of its worth.
Proceeds from the sale will go to the DeMille estate. DeMille lived in the mansion for 47 years and it was occupied by a granddaughter, Cecilia, after his death in 1959 at the age of 78. The mansion was kept just as it was when DeMille lived there until the majority of the contents were brought to New York for auction.