Christie's to Auction Estate of Copper Heiress Huguette Clark

Huguette Clark as a teenager in the 1920s.
Huguette Clark as a teenager in the 1920s.
(The Copper King Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Butte, Montana)

Christie's will offer property from the estate of copper heiress Huguette Clark this spring. About 400 items, including fine art, musical instruments, Gilded Age furnishings, decorative arts and rare books owned by the Clark family are expected to achieve in excess of $50 million.

A number of items at auction were first acquired by Senator William A. Clark, who established the family’s fortune in copper and railroads in the late 1800s, and left a fortune to his last surviving daughter. Huguette. When she died in 2011, at age 104, she left a mysterious legacy and a $300 million estate.

“Despite their prominence among the wealthiest families in our nation’s history,  the story of the Clark Family remains something of a mystery for most Americans, especially in comparison to their contemporaries – the Rockefellers, the Carnegies and the Vanderbilts. This spring, we are honored to tell the story of the Clark Family through the incredible personal treasures they left behind,”  noted Doug Woodham, President of Christie’s Americas. 

Details about the items offered will be revealed later this month. Highlights will take a tour to Christie’s London in late January, then to locales in Asia before returning to Christie’s New York in April when the full collection goes on view.

It is "one of the finest estate collections we have ever had the privilege of offering at Christie’s," said Woodham.

In the spring of 2012, Christie's sold jewelry and real estate from Clark's estate.

A dispute over the Clark estate was settled last fall with mostly distant relatives and an arts foundation to benefit. Upheld in Clark's will was the establishment of an arts foundaiton in her Santa Barbara estate, Bellosguardo (worth at least $85 million). Yet, Clark's artwork may be earmarked for auction.

The new best-seller Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman and Paul Newell Clark, a cousin of Huguette's, unravels some of the family's mysteries. 

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