Dollar Sign Ascending
You think Jeane Dixon predicted her stuff would sell for $330,000?
Sure, if you believe the late celebrity psychic could see into the future. Nah, if you scoff at all that hocus-pocus.
Believe it or not, Sunday's live auction of Dixon's estate doubled expectations: Her crystal ball sold for $10,000, her backup ball (in case the first one crashed?) went for $2,800, the huge full-length portrait for $900, and most of her other belongings sold above estimates.
"There were certainly surprises," said Stephanie Kenyon, president of Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers in Chevy Chase. "We just didn't know what the power of her celebrity would bring to the items."
Before the Age of Aquarius, before "What's your sign?" became the cheesiest pickup line in singles bars, there was Dixon, a Washington-based clairvoyant who shot to worldwide fame after her prediction that John F. Kennedy would be assassinated came true. During the '60s and '70s, she advised politicians, diplomats and celebrities; her syndicated column and books had millions of devoted fans.
Which brings us to the contents of her Dupont Circle townhouse: Dixon died in 1997 without heirs; her banker, Leo Bernstein, put most of her belongings in the Jeane Dixon Museum and Library in Strasburg, Va. After he died, his family decided it was time to sell the stuff.
The auction floor was packed with bidders eager to snap up one of the 400 items for sale -- antiques, books, paintings, silver, clothes, hats, assorted religious and household items. "It's quite a turnout," said antiques dealer Scarlet Fox, who owns a shop in Old Town. Fox had her eye on the finer antiques, but planned to explain the provenance to her buyers. "A lot of young people don't know who Jeane Dixon is. It's fun to see items with some character and soul."
A six-foot gilt wishing well, estimated to sell between $800 to $1,200, went for $18,500. The Charles X armchair? Estimated to sell between $500 to $700, high bid was $9,250. Dixon's bed -- said to belong to Empress Eugénie of France -- sold for $3,750. Prices for the rhinestone collar, cat clothes (a steal at $60) and portraits of her beloved "Mike the Magicat" were a little low, as were the paintings of Dixon herself. "The portrait of her cat brought more than her own," said Kenyon.
Bidder John Davis actually met Dixon four decades ago when his aunt dragged him to one of Dixon's readings. "She told me I was psychic," he said. "I don't believe anyone can predict the future. I believe you can make intelligent guesses."
He used to see her in Palm Beach, perfectly put together. "She was always dressed elegantly," he said, flipping the auction catalogue to Lot 1315, a collection of 13 "whimsical" spring and summer hats. "She'd be appalled at the description of her hats. She'd be spinning in her grave." (The headgear went for just $70.)
Sheesh. Should've seen that coming, wouldn't you think?
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