Friday, June 03, 2016

The Private Collection of Joan Rivers

A very different woman from Susan Mary Alsop, who was featured here on Wednesday, was Joan Rivers, the legendary comedienne and home-shopping pioneer who died in 2014.  I was a longtime fan of Rivers, and I still find it hard to believe that she is no longer cracking jokes nor selling her jewelry on QVC.  But interest in Rivers remains high, which is why I predict a lot of buzz regarding Christie's upcoming sale of Rivers' personal collection.

If you've seen photos of Rivers' penthouse apartment, you might (or might not) agree with me when I say that her home was a tad grand.  That being said, I always admired Rivers' appreciation for fine-quality things, whether they were antique bibelots, furniture, jewelry, or art, all of which are featured in the Joan Rivers sale.  The lots that especially caught my eye were the Fabergé objects, of which Rivers was a noted collector, and the porcelain, sterling silver, and crystal pieces that Rivers was known to use at her elegant dinner parties.

The Christie's sale will take place June 22, 2016.  To see all of the sale's lots, or for more information, please visit the Christie's website.  Below, you can see some of the lots that caught my eye, plus numerous photographs of Rivers' New York apartment that appear in the auction catalogue.

Joan Rivers' French Silver and Silver-Mounted Desk Accessories

A Louis XVI style white-painted bergere

A retro diamond and gold brooch

A French ormolu-mounted black and gilt-japanned encoignure

Royal Crown Derby porcelain Imari dessert service

All images courtesy of Christie's


  1. How strange that everything is being sold. She had a daughter and I think there is at least one grandchild. Surely they would have wanted some of this. It would break my heart if my children sent everything I spent a lifetime collecting straight to auction.

    1. I surely understand what you are saying but she left them with wonderful memories and a ton of money.

    2. I suspect that Melissa kept a goodly number of her mother's possessions and auctioned off the rest.

    3. Anonymous1:19 PM

      SRB, I don't have any children, but this thought really helped me when I read it: "We don't ever really own anything, including our homes, we just use and enjoy them while we are here, and then someone else will use and enjoy them." So if my nieces do not want my antiques, I have names of appraisers listed in my trust in the event that they wish to sell them, so that someone else may use them. We all have different tastes and styles, and it doesn't bother me at all if my things go to auction, because I have enjoyed them while I am here.

  2. I still miss Joanie! Still cannot believe she is gone??? Loved her sharp/caustic/angry/direct wit. Her taste was just as good as her comedy. May the auction be full of bidding wars. Thank you Jennifer. You know Joan would have been thrilled to be mentioned in the Peak of Chic. Oh! Oh!

  3. Some beautiful objects and some, not. A gorgeous collection. I hope that the bidding goes crazy as she will most probably be there for the fun. Thanks. Mary

  4. Anonymous2:06 PM

    Joan was hysterical, and I loved her razor-sharp wit! However, I do agree with you Jennifer that her taste was a bit "grand," and too much "gilt" for me, but she did have very beautiful things and had great style......I suppose her "glitziness" goes along with the show-biz side of life! Thank you so much for posting.

  5. Anonymous4:21 PM

    " A tad grand " ?
    I think her penthouse apartment was way over the top .
    Witty , sharp , glamorous , and youthfull she was herself , her apartment does not reflect the same .
    I miss her very much ! Surely all her objects will find some fine new homes .

  6. I love many of the same things you do! That secret door! We had one in the antique boiserie in our house in Pasadena....heavenly!
    That green velvet chair! LOVE!

    She did collect beautiful things.....perhaps too "fancy" for her daughter.....many of my friends' children want nothing to do with their antiques...and treasures....Thank God my daughters do! Many young people, even those who have grown up with beautiful things.....want everything from "Restoration Hardware"!! Oh well....collect because you not ever assume your children or grandchildren will want them!

  7. We who age in "normal" quarters, commiserate w/ each other b/c we know our children and grands don't want our "old stuff." We have accepted that when we shop thrifts while looking for treasures, we know our "stuff" will end up the same way, in auctions, thrifts, garage sales, etc. And we know that new people will enjoy the hunt for "oldies but goodies" and have the thrill of finding something we once loved. But I still want to leave my victorian era wall shelves to someone who will appreciate that they are well over a hundred years old now.....and I'm only the third owner of this lovely wedding gift presented to a woman who was old when i knew her in the 50s. It became mine when my mother moved to a retirement home.
    A neighbor was thrilled when i gave her my "12th anniversary gift piano," and i'm thrilled this ol' retiree won't have to pay to move it....We pick our battles and try to find people who will help win ours.

    I miss Joan Rivers, but understand that when we are dead, we really are and none of it means a thing to us, even our best treasures. She was a treasure herself and now will fade in memory, as we all do.
    But what I wouldn't give to rent that apartment for just one night and feel like a princess!!LOL

  8. Hello Jennifer,
    Besides the fact that I simply love your blog, I've fallen head over heels after your recent article inside the private collection of Joan Rivers. The Louis XVI style white painted bergere, wow!
    Just wanted to say thank you for sharing and keeping us all up with the best of the design world!
    Mikhayla @ArtisticFrame