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14 of our favorite things from the Rockefeller online auction

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Live like a Rockefeller


Welcome back to Period Dramas, a weekly column that alternates between rounding up historic homes on the market and answering questions we’ve always had about older structures.

Calling all fans of the Gilded Age: Now’s your chance to live like a Rockefeller! Or, at least, own something with a Rockefeller provenance.

Art, furniture, dinnerware, flatware, and other personal items that were once a part of the collection of the late Peggy and David Rockefeller—the grandson of John D. Rockefeller Sr.—are hitting the Christie’s auction block in New York City next week over the course of a high-profile, multi-day event.

But if you’re not in the Big Apple, you can still get in on the action: Christie’s is also hosting an online auction with over 600 lots. Included in the online auction is a host of 17th-and-18th-century Japanese pottery—Peggy and David were voracious collectors—English and American furniture, and silverware.

The pieces were primarily housed in either their Upper East Side townhouse or Sleepy Hollow retreat—both stunning Mott Schmidt designs. These were items and objects that Peggy and David Rockefeller loved and used on a daily basis.

The estimates for a lot of these pieces are quite restrained—many start at just $100—but be prepared for a Rockefeller x-factor to kick in when it comes to final sale prices, especially toward the end of the online auction.

However, the Christie’s specialists we spoke with said that if you’re looking for a deal, chances are the brown-wood furniture—which Peggy selected in the ’40s and ’50s when she was decorating their homes—will be your best bets.

And if you’re lucky enough to snag a piece? Make sure to follow in Peggy and David’s footsteps and actually use it! They ate on the 17th-century Japanese plates and used their 19th-century French ice cream coolers. The pieces were made to be enjoyed! Not just to be admired.

The auction runs until May 11—here are some of our favorite items on offer.

A pair of George III silver salt cellars (estimate: $200 - $300)

Silver salt cellars
Courtesy of Christie’s

Canton blue and white jars, mounted as lamps (estimate: $200 - $300)

The jars are Chinese from the 19th century.
Courtesy of Christie’s

Large Japanese export punch bowl (estimate: $1,500 - $2,500)

The punch bowl is dated to the 17th/18th century.
Courtesy of Christie’s.

Sunderland pearlware demi-lune bough pot (estimate: $600 - $800)

The bough pot is designed to hold singled stems of flowers through the holes in its top.

Pair of Worcester porcelain flower pots and stands (estimate: $500 - $700)

The pots date to the early 19th century.
Courtesy of Christie’s.

A group of 10 Japanese dishes (estimate: $700 - $900)

The plates date from the Edo Period.
Courtesy of Chistie’s.

Feuillet porcelain dessert service (estimate: $4,000 - $6,000)

The assembled service dates to 1820.
Courtesy of Christie’s.

Victorian silver-plated chamber candlesticks (estimate: $100 - $200)

Each candlestick comes with a little snuffer to put the candle out at night.
Courtesy of Christie’s.

A George V silver salver (estimate: $1,000 - $1,500)

Who doesn’t love a good silver tray?
Courtesy of Christie’s.

American silver “Revere” bunch bowl (estimate: $1,200 - $1,800)

It has a big R on it. Need we say more?
Courtesy of Christie’s.

North European Louis XV sedan chair (estimate: $1,000 - $1,500)

The curious green velvet chair swings in its frame.
Courtesy of Christie’s.

George II mahogany reading stand (estimate: $800 - $1,200)

It has two fold-out platforms for candles!
Courtesy of Christie’s.

George III style mahogany dumbwaiter (estimate: $300 - $400)

This would be perfect as a bedside table, if you ask us.
Courtesy of Christie’s.

Mahogany bookcase (estimate: $200 - $300)

Classic and versatile—the perfect addition to any home!
Courtesy of Christie’s.