Writer Joan Didion’s personal belongings were put up for auction on Wednesday. Almost a year after her death And some prices may shock you.
An auction at Stair Galleries in New York, containing the author’s collection of books, furniture and other personal items, fetched $2 million, NPR reported.
Highlights from the sale include autographed works by Richard Diebenkorn, Jennifer Bartlett and Annie Leibovitz, which sold for $80,000, $25,000 and $11,000 respectively.
There are no particularly surprising prices for autographed art. But it is an ordinary object in a collection that seems to attract the attention of buyers.
Everything from napkins to writing desks cost much more than expected.
Thirteen blank notebooks cost $11,000 (roughly $100-$200), while shells and tiny pebbles from Didion’s fireplace sell for an astonishing $7,000.
A stained Dutch oven costs $2,500, and a dirty leather basket set sells for $5,500.
Most notably, Didion’s sunglasses sell for up to $27,000.
To be honest, tortoiseshell sunglasses are the quintessential Didion. But the price still shocked many people.
“The interest in Joan Didion is stronger than what we’ve seen from other sales,” Lisa Thomas, the auction house’s director of fine arts department, told Slate.
“These items have inherent value as things or ‘things,’” Thomas says. “We don’t add value to the famous people they own.”
Still, the attention is focused on the mundane objects of the collection. instead of her books or art collections. is revealing how Didion is categorized as an icon. People want to dress like her. want their house to look like yours and be like you
As Roxana Robinson wrote in The New Yorker, we were fascinated by We were drawn to Didion’s “ordinary objects” because we were “obsessed with Didion’s image: Sybil’s gaze. shiny hair a graceful carriage”
but $27,000 to look through the same sunglasses “Sybil stares” is still a steep price to pay.
However, price-conscious readers can rest easy knowing that the proceeds will be donated to charity.
“Proceeds from sales will benefit patient care and research into Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders at Columbia University. and the Sacramento Historical Society for the benefit of the Sacramento City College Scholarship for Women in Literature,” according to Stair Galleries.