SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Turner Auctions + Appraisals will feature the Anita Hellman Collection of Costume and Fine Jewelry in an online auction just in time for holiday gift-giving. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
Offering more than 95 lots amassed over 50 years, the collection includes necklaces, bracelets, rings, pendants, brooches and pins, charms and several watches. Many of the pieces feature cultured pearls or precious or semi-precious stones and materials, including gold, platinum, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphire, peridot, jade, aquamarine, garnet, citrine, tiger’s eye and turquoise.
The sale also includes watches by Patek Philippe and Bucherer; and hardstone, shell and lava cameos. Among the diverse costume jewelry makers are Kenneth Jay Lane, William De Lillo, Bauer, Joseff of Hollywood, Hattie Carnegie, Eisenberg, Ciner, Trifari, Francisco Rebaje, Cini, Weiss, Coro, and Boucher, Matisse and Renoir. Groupings in the auction include vintage, holiday and Scandinavian collections; hair combs; opera glasses; assorted purses; and beaded necklaces. Items from several other consignors round out the sale.
Anita Hellman was an enthusiastic collector, teacher and antique dealer. She and her husband, Sedwick, who were residents of Mamaroneck, New York, collected toys, art, dolls and Asian antiques for more than 50 years. Jewelry was a particular passion of Mrs. Hellman’s – both the costume and fine jewelry in this sale, and Southwest jewelry, which will be offered in an upcoming 2018 sale.
Born and raised in New York, Anita Hellman graduated from UCLA and received a post-graduate teaching certificate from Columbia University. Her initial career was as an elementary schoolteacher at the Osborn School in Rye, a top public school in New York, where she taught for 28 years. In addition to teaching, Hellman ran Hellman & Hellman Antiques in Larchmont and Mamaroneck, New York, on the weekends for about 20 years.
During summer vacations when school was out, the Hellmans made collecting a fun family affair, taking their son Jaime, now a TV producer in New York, on cross-country collecting trips from New York to California and Maine to Louisiana for a month or two at a time. During their forays in the mid-1960s to early-1970s, the family traveled in their home away from home – first a small International Harvester school bus, converted with beds and a kitchen; then in one of the first commercially built motorhomes.
Mrs. Hellman’s vast jewelry collection was acquired over decades along the way – at estate sales, garage sales, country auctions, flea markets, and even by invitation at the Salvation Army’s headquarters in Delaware. Her zeal for jewelry was eclectic and diverse in style: if she liked a piece, it sparked her interest, and she could see herself wearing it, she would consider buying it. And, as Jaime and his wife, Barbara, learned from researching Mrs. Hellman’s jewelry collection, she had an excellent eye for quality and design – purchasing the top names in costume jewelry from the 1920s-1960s and beyond.
A child of the Depression and its scarcity, Mrs. Hellman liked the ability to acquire items in later life, perhaps leading to her lifelong passion for collecting, which was shared by her husband.
Mrs. Hellman passed away in 2015, collecting almost to the last days of her life. Now Jaime is sending her jewelry trove to auction, where it can beautify others as it did his mother.
Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time.