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What was left is now the Private Collection of Joan Rivers, with more than 200 lots to be auctioned in a live sale at Christie's on June 22 and about 80 more offered online at through June 23.
Melissa Rivers, in an interview Thursday, was not ready to use the word "cathartic." After all, she said, "It hasn't even been two years." Instead, she's in survivor mode, "taking care of business" in a way she knows her mother would appreciate.
Her East 62nd Street penthouse, a former ballroom, was filled with it and nearly two years after her death at 81, her daughter, Melissa Rivers, felt it time to clean house.
With the help of Christie's New York, she made her way through rooms and rooms of memories, deciding what she couldn't emotionally part with, what she would hold onto for archival purposes and what she would donate to charity so they could put on auctions of their own.
Among the rarest and most valuable Faberge items up for auction is a small, gold-mounted, bowl-like study in green nephrite of a Lily of the Valley leaf with pearl and diamond details.
She always said, 'Use your things, enjoy the things you have,' so I don't have the guilt of 'I need to keep these dishes because this was the set that she used every third Thanksgiving but it's not my favorite.'" The auction house opened its doors to the media Friday for a preview.
"What makes it rare is only two are known, and there's the craftsmanship." It was made around 1900 in Russia and passed through many hands after it was sold off by the Soviet state. Its value: 0,000 to 0,000, making it among the most expensive items to be auctioned.
There, a couple of Joan's elegant sitting rooms were set up, her inlaid Yearwood desk and chair near a favorite painting by Edouard Vuillard, titled "Dans l'atelier." It dates to about 1915 and is valued at 0,000 to 0,000.
Faberge was a favored brand for the former Beatrice Grushman Molinsky, the daughter of Russian immigrants, furriers who served the court back in the old country. Many of her zingers were printed on walls for visitors to enjoy as they ogled items up for sale, including this one that speaks volumes about the things she collected: "Marie Antoinette would have lived here if she had money." Her approach was far from hands off when it came to sharing her world.
Joan Rivers was many things: brash and brassy comedian, queen of QVC, petite mistress of great big gowns.
Lesser known, perhaps, was her penchant for collecting — from Faberge objets d'art to fine French furniture.