Jewels and timepieces from the private collection of Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE and Robert Bradford to be auctioned at Bonhams.
A selection of jewels, gemstones and watches from the private collection of international bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE and her husband, Robert (Bob) Bradford, the Hollywood movie producer, will go under the hammer at Bonhams London this December.
Collected over the period of the Bradfords’ 55-year marriage, 10 pieces of jewellery belonging to the writer will be offered at Bonhams London Jewels sales on 4 December and five timepieces belonging to her husband Bob will be offered at the auction house’s Fine Watches sale which will take place on 11 December, also in London.
The pieces form part of their collection which was purchased by Bob Bradford throughout their marriage as they travelled between New York, LA and Europe.
Notable pieces from the world’s most famous jewellery houses including Verdura, Tiffany and David Morris and watchmakers Rolex, Patek Philippe and Omega will feature in the sales.
Emily Barber, Bonhams UK Jewellery Director, said: “The collection tells a wonderful story of a love affair that lasted for more than half a century in fabulous locations around the world including London, Paris, Geneva, Los Angeles and New York.”
Based in Manhattan, the glamorous couple were together for 57 years until Bob, 92, died in July this year. With a wide circle of friends living all over the world, they were often pictured with stars from stage and screen as well as leading politicians and international royalty.
Bob and Barbara’s marriage was widely written about in the media as a result of their deep love for each other and their strong partnership. While Barbara wrote – more than 34 novels that have sold 90 millions copies in 40 languages to date – Bob took care of her literary interests and business. He also produced nine of Barbara’s books as television mini-series or movies. After the publication of her worldwide bestseller A Woman of Substance in 1979, which like all her books was dedicated to her beloved husband, Bob supervised the 1985 television mini-series of the book which starred Jenny Seagrove and Deborah Kerr. The series was watched in the UK by 13.8 million people, as well as broadcast around the world, and was nominated for two Emmys.
Novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford OBE comments: “Bob was the love of my life and was the most generous and thoughtful person I’ve ever met. He was debonair and always elegantly dressed. He also had a fabulous eye and appreciated beautiful objects and exceptional craftsmanship.
“During our wonderful marriage, he simply could not resist buying me fine jewellery. And I was given a lot as we were married for a long time! Every birthday, wedding anniversary, Christmas, new book publication, and even while on holiday, Bob would often surprise me with a fabulous piece.
“This summer, I was going through our collection and realised that I wanted to avoid such wonderful pieces of jewellery and watches sitting in the safe for months on end. They really deserve to be worn and enjoyed as much as we both have over the years. I hope they make the new owners as happy as they have made us.”
One of the most valuable pieces in the jewellery sale from the collection is A Fancy Yellow Radiant Cut Diamond Ring. Weighing 11.30 carats, VS1 clarity with potential to be Internally Flawless, it has a pre-sale estimate of £35,000 – 45,000.
Barbara Taylor Bradford explains how she was given the ring: “One of Bob’s favourite places to lie in the sun was Capri in Italy. He also liked it for another reason…the many fine jewellery shops! His favourite was the lovely boutique called Alberto e Lina. According to Bob, they truly had the best collection of fine jewellery and watches. This is where he bought me the yellow diamond ring flanked by diamond baguettes. He had secretly been to purchase it without my knowing and, just before we went to lunch, he took hold of my hand, kissed it and slipped on the ring which he took out of his pocket.
“I was amazed and speechless when I saw it gleaming on my hand. I stood up and kissed him on the cheek and exclaimed, ‘It’s a real Bobby Dazzler!’ Bob smiled that lovely smile of his and replied, ‘I’m glad you love it as much as I do’.”
Another notable piece from the collection is A White Enamel and Gem Set Cuff Bangle by Verdura, estimated at £20,000 – 30,000. This is a limited-edition, no 65/70 and featured in The Power of Style: Verdura at 75 exhibition in New York in 2014.
Barbara Taylor Bradford comments: “Bob was a long-time client of Verdura in New York, appreciating the fabulous pieces they created from the designs of the late Fulco di Verdura.
“In particular, he admired the iconic Maltese Cross cuff that Fulco di Verdura had created for Coco Chanel in the 1930s. Over the years, Verdura went on to reproduce this cuff in a special numbered collection. On one visit to the showroom, Bob was shown this enamel cuff and instantly fell in love with it and so did I when he brought it home and put it on my wrist. It’s a real statement piece that matches the multi-gem set pendant brooch that I already had.
“When I asked Bob, ‘Why did you buy it for me? It’s not my birthday,’ he just replied, ‘I can buy you a present every day because I love you so much’. I remember his words were as important as the jewellery he gave to me.”
- A Diamond Wristwatch by David Morris, estimated at £30,000 – 50,000
- A Multi Gem Set Cross Pendant/Necklace by Verdura, which matches the White Enamel and Gem Set Cuff by Verdura (see above), estimated at £10,000 – 15,000
- A Citrine and Diamond ‘Bird on a Rock’ Brooch by Schlumberger for Tiffany, estimated at £8,000 – 12,000
- A Pair of Rose-Cut Diamond Chandelier Earrings by David Morris, estimated at £6,000 – 8,000
- A Ruby and Diamond Cuff, estimated at £4,000 – 6,000
- A Diamond Star Collar with a Pair of Pave Set Diamond Earclips, estimated at £3,000 – 5,000
- A Chalcedony and Diamond Bead Necklace by Verdura, estimated at £4,000 – 6,000
- A Pair of Aquamarine Cluster Earclips, estimated at £1,500 – 2,000
Timepieces from the private collection of Robert Bradford
- A fine and rare 18K rose gold Patek Philippe Nautilus, Ref: 5711, estimated at £18,000 – 22,000.
- An 18K gold Rolex Daytona ‘Zenith’, Ref: 16528, estimated at £15,000 – 20,000.
- A fine 18K gold rectangular Patek Philippe Gondolo, Ref: 5111, estimated at £4,000 – 6,000.
- A stainless steel Omega Seamaster Co-Axial Aqua Terra, estimated at £1,000 – 1,500.
- A stainless steel and gold Patek Philippe Neptune, Ref: 5080/1, estimated at £1,500 – 2,000.
Barbara Taylor Bradford is an Ambassador for the National Literacy Trust in the UK and will be giving the charity a donation following the sale.
Details of The Barbara Taylor Bradford and Robert Bradford collection can be found on Bonhams website www.bonhams.com/auctions/25316 for the London Jewels sale. Fine Watches will appear online early December at www.bonhams.com/auctions/25399/. Bids can be placed online on Bonhams’ website www.bonhams.com, via telephone, in writing, and also in person on the day of the respective sale.
Barbara Taylor Bradford will be publishing her latest novel, In the Lion’s Den (£16.99, HarperCollins), on Thursday 28 November 2019 along with a special 40th anniversary edition of A Woman of Substance (£8.99, HarperCollins), is also being published this month.