At Engravers Guild of London, we always like to keep an eye on our city’s famous auction houses. We look not so much to buy, but to learn about the stories behind the items and understand where the value lies.
So often we find that the real value of an item is not in the material worth of its parts, but imbued in the relfection of a previous owner which has made an indelible impression on the piece.
No example could be better of this phenomenon than that of the forthcoming auction for artefacts belonging to the legendary actress and two time Oscar winner, Vivien Leigh.
A number of personal possessions from the ‘Gone With The Wind’ star are going under the hammer at Sotheby’s, with collectors round the world keen to own a piece from a former queen of the silver screen.
Paintings, furniture, couture clothing and other personal items are attracting international attention, which are expecting to attract bids ranging from hundreds to thousands of pounds.
However, the prized item of the collection is noted not so much for the piece itself, but for the personal message inscribed on the piece…
Vivien Leigh is, in part, famed for her part in one of Tinsel Town’s great romances. She and Sir Laurence Olivier met in 1935, marrying in 1940 and lasting together for over 20 years.
On their first Christmas, the leading man gifted his betrothed a gold timepiece. On the back was engraved simply: “Vivien / Laurence / Only darling / Xmas 1940”.
Expected to fetch £1,200, it is not the close to being the most expensive piece of the collection, but it is the one that inspires the imagination most and has generated more headlines than any other.
A piece of Hollywood history in the truest sense, it was a keepsake that was forever treasured by Vivien Leigh, even after the marriage broke up and she continued to wear it.
We here at Engravers Guild will be following with interest to see who snaps up this priceless heirloom.
In the meantime, though, we’ll be continuing to help mark special times in other families’ histories. If it is a timepiece you would like, then our custom engraved pocket watches make for a perfect memento, as to our sterling silver bespoke cufflinks for something to wear more every day.