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Madeleine Albright’s Jewelry, Pins Fetch High Prices at Auction

New York— The private collection of the late Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, sold at auction last week, fetching four times its pre-sale estimate.

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The auction, titled “The Private Collection of Secretary Madeleine K. Albright,” was conducted by Freeman’s | Hindman on May 7-8, both live and online. Over 1,000 bidders registered to participate, eager to own pieces from the collection of the nation’s first female Secretary of State.

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Albright, appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 1993 and Secretary of State in 1997, passed away in 2022 at 84. She was known for using her jewelry as both a fashion statement and a diplomatic tool.

The standout item was Albright’s Bulgari “Fireworks” choker necklace, which sold for $24,130, far exceeding its high estimate of $18,000.

Albright’s extensive pin collection, which she called her “personal diplomatic arsenal,” was a highlight of the auction. Her patriotic leopard brooch, featuring a 14-karat rose gold leopard with pavé white and black diamonds and marquise-cut emerald eyes, sold for $10,795, more than triple its estimate.

Her suffragette-themed jewelry collection fetched $6,985, nearly ten times the pre-sale estimate of $700 to $900. This included her “Jailed for Freedom” pins, awarded to suffragettes imprisoned for picketing the White House in 1917.

A yellow gold corn husk pin with a cultured pearl, a 75th birthday gift from her former chief of staff, sold for $6,985, well above its $500 to $700 estimate. An Art Nouveau style owl pin, based on designs by Czech painter Alphonse Mucha, sold for $6,033, almost 20 times its estimate.

Additionally, the jewelry box that housed Albright’s “diplomatic arsenal” sold for $8,890, vastly exceeding its $400 to $600 estimate.

“Presenting Secretary Madeleine K. Albright’s biography of objects at auction has been a profound professional honor,” said Gretchen Hause, senior vice president and co-head of the books and manuscripts department at Freeman’s | Hindman. “Her remarkable legacy of diplomatic service and trailblazing accomplishments are mirrored in each item of her fine collection, and the global interest it has garnered speaks volumes about her impact on the world stage.”

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