Fabulous Finds at the Phyllis Diller Estate's Furnishings and Costumes Auction
Wigs, clothing and jewelry from the comedian’s closet, as well as antique furnishings and many items from her Rockingham mansion, are soon to go on the Julien's auction block.
Before there was Lady Gaga there was Phyllis Diller, the pop culture icon noted for her wild costumes and wigs, self-deprecating humor, long cigarette holder and loud, cackling laugh. The comedian passed away last summer at age 95, but her memory and treasures remain. In just a few weeks, you will be able to purchase a few of her personal possessions to call your own.
Julien’s, the same auction house that is handling the collection from the Estate of Bob & Dolores Hope, is also representing the collection of comedian Phyllis Diller. The auction, to be held Sept. 22, will include extraordinary costumes, wigs and jewelry from her professional stage and television appearances, as well as notable antiques, artwork and memorabilia from her longtime residence on South Rockingham Avenue in Los Angeles.
Some of the most interesting items for sale come out of her extraordinary closet: colorful wigs and glasses, as well as her famous dress made of ivy, and several other gowns. The costumes are estimated to go from $800 to $1,200.
Almost everyone is aware of Diller's comedic shtick, but not many know that she was an accomplished pianist — she studied classical music for years and almost became a professional, but decided on her own that she just wasn’t good enough. She continued to play for her family and friends and occasionally as part of her act, however. Her custom-made, ebonized Cannon Guild on Boston harpsichord with brass mounts and matching upholstered piano seat are up for auction, and estimated to be worth between $5,000 to $10,000. Several of her other pianos are also for sale.
Like her close friends Bob and Dolores Hope, Diller was a collector of fine antiques, and incorporated many of them into her own home design. Among her choice pieces up for auction are a Kashan Persian rug and two elaborately carved Louis XVI-style locking side cabinets, both with striated black marble tops, that will probably sell for $4,000 to $6,000. Also on the block is a mahogany breakfront secretary cabinet with astragal-molded glazed cabinet doors covering three glass shelves and a lighted interior, one of the pricier pieces in the collection, with a value of $25,000 to $35,000.
Some pieces formerly owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post will be auctioned off: two mahogany camelback sofas with abstract-patterned silk upholstery on tapered fluted legs with rosette corners, together with a rectangular mahogany coffee table with four fluted pillar legs. Those are expected to go for between $3,000 and $4,000.
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Then there’s the Andy Warhol colored screen print, Cow, signed and inscribed “H.B.P.D. (Happy Birthday Phyllis Diller) Love Andy Warhol.” In addition, there are numerous awards, personal mementos, photographs, scripts, handwritten letters, personal clothing and other remarkable collectibles from Diller’s life and career that are available.
If you’re interested in seeing more items from this collection and possibly bidding on them, or perhaps just ordering a limited-edition catalog, go to Juliansauctions.com. The auction will take place at Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills on Sunday, Sept. 22, and you can be there in person or bid online. The items will be on exhibit at the Beverly Hills location starting Sept. 9.