Early in September, a fairly heavy box showed up at our house, and to our surprise, it contained three beautiful hardcover books titled The Life and Career of Betty White. They were the Betty White auction catalogs for a sale to be held at Julien’s later that month; boy, Julien’s spared no expense!
As you all know, Betty White was an American actress and comedian whose career spanned seventy years. She passed away on New Year’s Eve 2021, just shy of her 100th birthday. Betty won five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Daytime Emmys, a Grammy, and many other awards throughout her career. Not surprisingly, Betty made it into the Guinness Book of World records for the longest TV career by a (female) entertainer in 2014.
The three-day auction took place last week and offered over 1,500 lots from the life and career of the famed actress. Thousands of people worldwide participated, and many items far exceeded their estimates.
Some of the most desirable items came from the Golden Girls series (1985-1992). Among those lots included Betty’s director’s chair, which was estimated to make $1-2K and sold for $60K ($76,800 w/p). The lavender dress she wore for publicity photos in 1986 was estimated to bring $600-800 and made $25K ($32K w/p). Then there were the scripts from the pilot and final episodes of Golden Girls… they shocked the audience as they sold for $45K ($56.6K w/p) and $40K ($51.2K w/p), respectively, each estimated at just $500-700!
Some of her more personal items also did very well. Betty’s 2000 Cadillac Deville, which she named Seagull, blew past the $5-7K estimate as it drove up to $40K ($50K w/p). A portrait of Betty, done at some time in the 1950s, sold for $35K ($43,750 w/p) on an $800-1,200 estimate. The wedding band from her 1963 marriage to Allen Ludden (they were together until he passed away in 1981, age 63), along with a black and white photo of the couple, surpassed the $800-1,200 estimate as the lot closed at $20K ($25.6 w/p). One happy fan is now redecorating their home, as they purchased two club chairs that look like they are from the ’70s. Betty was sitting in one of the chairs as she recorded a video on December 20, 2021, her final message to fans. They were estimated to make $300-500; I hope you’re sitting – the final price was $20K ($25.6K w/p).
It should not surprise anyone that the possessions of Hollywood’s beloved Betty White were all sold, a white glove sale! Pre-auction estimates totaled about $600,000; in the end, the sale made more than $4M!