By Linda Lee–

The Christie’s auction of Elton John’s belongings on February 21 was a staggering success, indicating once again that people will pay a premium to own almost anything once touched by someone famous. A case in point: John’s prescription sunglasses from the 1970s, estimated to sell for $3,000, topped out at $22,680, including fees. The total for the sale was $8 million.

Boots, size 9 estimated price $5,000 to %10,000; sold for $15,120 (credit: Christie’s)


A Rolex Daytona watch with an orange and yellow leopard face and strap that was covered in diamonds and sapphires was estimated at $40,000 to $60,000; it ended up at $176,400 with fees.

The Elton John Cartier “Crash” watch.


The limited-edition Cartier “crash” model watch comes in 18-carat rose gold set with 150 brilliant-cut diamonds. New, it costs about $100,000 American, its estimated price. Because this one had belonged to Elton John, it sold for $277,200.


The 1990 Bentley

John’s 1990 Bentley Continental two-door convertible (with coachwork by Mulliner Park Ward) carried a modest presale estimate of $25,000 to $35,000. John said he had it shipped with him all over the world. “Whenever I went shopping in Monaco,” he said in the catalog, “we’d valet park the car at the Hotel de Paris.” It sold for $441,000 to someone who can say, “Yes, Elton had this shipped all over the world with him. In Monaco, he used to valet park it at the Hotel de Paris. Harumph.”

A Superstar pinball machine, 2023; estimated high price $15,000; closing bid, $69,300.

The 926 lots in Christie’s one-day auction included multiple crosses on chains, so many watches, bracelets, dozens of silk shirts in wild prints, a beautifully curated collection of world-class photographs, most of them black-and-white, some erotic, serious artworks including a Keith Haring, a Banksy, a Vik Muniz artwork called “Action Painting (after Hans Namuth)” rendered in chocolate sauce, a vase by Picasso and objets in a wide range of styles, patterns and colors.

Herb Ritts, Duo, Duo II, Los Angeles, 1990 (also available in the online auction)

It was not all black-and-white photographs. The Yiddish word “ungapatchka” would be a good way to describe the clash of all these things, interlaced with costumes, an organ, and period furniture organized in tasteful groups.

Three cream-painted and parcel-gilt armchairs (19th century); estimate $3,000 to $5,000. Top bid, $32,760

Think an Atelier Versace crimson-and-gold upholstered banquette, some wild upholstered chairs, a few Chihuly glass sculptures (which did not attract bidders) and the eye bleeds. It helped that the penthouse apartment Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, shared on Peachtree Street in Atlanta was 13,000 square feet. They used it as their American base while John was performing.

John finished his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” tour in July of last year in Stockholm, having been on the road since September of 2018. He had sung “Rocket Man” in front of 6 million people in all the venues combined. Ticket, album and merchandise sales from the tour totaled $892 million. Because he was such an international star, the bidding was also international. Prices were, no doubt, run up by pre-programmed artificial intelligence that timed final bids to the second. Within a bidder’s limits, of course.

John and Furnish, who is Canadian, sold their Atlanta apartment for more than $7.2 million last fall and have said from now on they want to focus on their sons, Zachary, 13, and Elijah, 11. Their home in England, which has been called Woodside for centuries, is near Windsor Castle. It sits on 37 acres and comes with livestock and elaborate gardens. Follies dot lawns and woodlands including an Australian tram and a large T-Rex than once stood in Ringo’s garden, a tennis court, pool and waterfall. Elton John has owned Woodside for nearly 50 years. The home’s interior design is more Gainsborough than Banksy, reflecting John’s desire not to spend his dotage surrounded by the kitschy remnants of his youth.

An auction at Sotheby’s many years ago sold off a similar trove of costumes, boots, and memorabilia. All proceeds are going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

Our friend Jill Brooke has written about the images of flowers and botanicals in the Elton John auction in this story. We urge you to read it on her website