Celebrities including Rita Ora, Liz Hurley and Nick Grimshaw have sparked a £1million bidding frenzy as wealthy bidders try to snap up memorabilia from London’s poshest nightclub this evening – with more than half the lots still set to be sold.
The contents of Annabel’s, which hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra to John Wayne and Naomi Campbell to the Queen, have gone under the hammer this evening after its venue in Mayfair was closed.
Among the items to go under the hammer at Christie’s in London include dining sets, bar mirrors and the iconic red velvet corner sofa on which Hurley once posed.
A world record price for a Glyn Warren Philpot piece was set for his portrait of Henry Thomas, costing the buyer £368,750. Among the other high-priced items to have been sold so far include the painting ‘Study of a grey horse’ by Sir Alfred James Munnings which fetched £242,750 – more than sixteen times its its pre-sale low estimate of £15,000.
William Orpen’s painting ‘Night’ sold for £118,750, and Sir William Nicholson’s ‘The Cenotaph, The Morning of the Peace Procession’, which was painted in 1919, sold for £62,500.
Bidding for property that was once in Christie’s nightclub in London began at around 4pm on Tuesday afternoon
The contents of Annabel’s, which hosted the likes of Frank Sinatra to John Wayne and Naomi Campbell to the Queen, are on sale after its venue in Mayfair was closed
A painting is moved away from the auction house as dozens of people pack into the room to try and get their hands on memorabilia
Rita Ora is expected to bid on the Bodhisattva, a 4ft tall carved wooden Buddha which has a guide price of £10,000 to £20,000, and was in the Buddha Room at Annabel’s nightclub
Portrait of a lady signed ‘John’ (written in the upper right corner) oil on canvas, which is estimated to be worth between £20,000 to £30,000
Lot 50, ‘Study of a grey horse’ by Sir Alfred James Munnings fetched £242,750 – more than sixteen times its its pre-sale low estimate of £15,000
Lot number 33 was Sir William Nicholson’s painting of The Cenotaph, The Morning of the Peace Procession. The piece was painted in 1919 and was estimated to fetch £50,000-80,000
The red velvet sofas were sold as two separate lots at the auction. Lot 40A included the five seat corner sofa, which was estimated to fetch between £2,000-4,000. The two lots fetch £5,250 and £6,000
A Glyn Warren Philpot portrait of Henry Thomas set a World Record Price for the Artist At Auction, costing £368,750 (left). ‘Modiano’ by Andreas Farkas, with an estimate of £1,500, achieved a staggering £193,750 (right)
Supermodel Naomi Campbell, reclining on the famous red velvet sofa in 2015. Liz Hurley is expected to bid on piece of furniture which goes under the hammer today at Christie’s
The Fireplace Bar at Annabel’s, which had been open at 44 Berkeley Square since 1963
Singer Rita Ora said she was planning to bid for a 4ft tall carved wooden Buddha, which had a guide price of £10,000 to £20,000, reported The Guardian. Whether or not she got her hands on the item remains to be seen, although the Buddha was sold for a staggering £137,500.
From the danceroom floor to £300,000 paintings: Just some of the 250 items to go under the hammer
Glyn Warren Philpot’s portrait of Henry Thomas – sold for £368,750
Sir Alfred James Munning’s ‘Study of a grey horse – sold for £242,750
Four food wooden Buddha which overlooked the Annabel’s dancefloor – sold for £137,500
Iconic red sofas – sold as two lots, £5,250 and £6,000
Richard Young’s ten black and white photographs of celebrities taken at Annabel’s – sold for £11,875
‘Modiano’ by Andreas Farkas – sold for £193,750
Three leopard print velvet covered stools – sold for £6,875
Annabel’s doorman’s wool coat – sold for £1,875
Hurley, 53, was among those trying to snap up the sofa, which had guide prices between £2,000 to £4,000. The lots eventually ended up going for £5,250 and £6,000 to bidders who have not yet been identified.
The sales of the lots so far have taken the total raised by the auction to more than £1million, with more items still set to be sold.
A world record price at auction was also achieved for Richard Young’s ten black and white photographs taken at Annabel’s, which were sold for £11,875.
Quirky items like a doorman’s coat were estimated to fetch up to £600 but eventually went for £1,875. Other items which blew their estimate prices included the painting ‘Modiano’ by Andreas Farkas, which sold for £193,750 despite being predicted to go for £1,500.
BBC Radio 1 DJ Grimshaw – who was also a regular at the venue – was aiming to bid for the dancefloor oak planks, which are on sale for £300 to £500.
Ora, 27, said she could ‘only imagine what that Buddha has seen over the years’ – while Grimshaw, 34, recalled ‘watching Grace Jones hula-hoop’ across the floor.
The sale also featured a table with eight dining chairs with red and green upholstery, a circular restaurant table, a table lamp and eight place settings.
Guests inside the bidding room were frantically trying to get the best price for different lots, as the total amount raised at the auction soared past £1million with more than half the lots remaining
The main corridor at Annabel’s, pictured during a pre-sale exhibition photoshoot last week
The contents of Annabel’s of Mayfair, at its former location, are on sale after it closed down
The venue was moved two doors down into a Grade I-listed Georgian house earlier this year
Also available are champagne glasses, Limoges tableware and bar stools, with Christie’s saying the sale offers ‘endless tantalising and storied delights’.
The auction includes more than 250 pieces – and comes after the club moved to a new address two doors down earlier this year.
The previous venue had been kept by Mr Caring to host private parties, but he later decided to sell up – and he will collect the proceeds from all but two lots.
The venue, where members pay an annual subscription of up to £2,750, is one of the world’s most exclusive clubs and previously stood at 44 Berkeley Square.
But it moved two doors down into a Grade I-listed Georgian house earlier this year, with pink onyx oyster shell-shaped sinks and gold swan taps in the powder room.
Rita Ora (left) and Liz Hurley (right) are both expected to bid on items at the auction today
BBC Radio One DJ Nick Grimshaw is also expected to put a bid on an item at the sale today
The club was founded in 1963 by Mark Birley and Annabel Goldsmith, who invited 500 friends to become founders. Those alive now still pay a fixed fee of £5.25 a year.
The club has since hosted the Queen, who was said to have asked for a gin martini with no lemon, and Frank Sinatra, who tipped the cloakroom attendant £100.
John Wayne also visited, and was said to have slurred to a surprise man alongside him at the urinals: ‘You can tell your buddies you hung out with John Wayne’.
Even more famously, Princess Diana and the Duchess of York turned up in 1986 disguised as policewomen after failing to gatecrash Prince Andrew’s stag do.
Other celebrities known to have visited the club include Lady Gaga, Tina Turner, Bryan Ferry – while the Beatles were famous turned away for flouting the dress code.
The club once hosted Princess Diana in 1987. She also went in 1986 with the Duchess of York
Model Jerry Hall (left) was a previous visitor the club, and she is pictured there in 1987
It girl Francesca von Habsburg, with ex-Christie’s chairman David Linley at the club in 1987
Christie’s chairman Orlando Rock told the Guardian: ‘We’ve been fairly inundated with bidders. There’s a huge amount of nostalgic interest.
‘Everyone has a story, these walls have seen so many things, and a lot of people have specific memories. Be it the sofa where they got engaged, or something else.’
He said more than 2,000 people had viewed the lots at 44 Berkeley Square in a week, adding: ‘I feel like I’ve lived in a nightclub for a week. Everything is for sale.’
Meanwhile Mr Caring said: ‘As the greatest and most iconic nightclub in the world, I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to carry on its legacy.’
The auction takes place at Christie’s at 8 King Street in London from 4pm today