When I first heard about the property auction for the estate of the late Lilly Pulitzer, held yesterday in West Palm Beach, Florida I simply knew I had to attend. Even though I never met her, I consider Lilly a role model, and I often find myself thinking, “What would Lilly do?” I am so inspired by her joie de vivre, her kind and charitable nature, her hostessing abilities, and her love for happy colors and whimsical prints. After pouring through the auction catalogue, I fell head over heels in love with this beautiful white wicker and bentwood writing desk that I learned was from Lilly’s home office and served as her personal writing desk. The moment I saw it, I knew it had to be mine, and I was quite certain the inspiration I would absorb while working at Lilly’s very own desk might just change my life!
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and I do not think it was a coincidence that at the very moment I was writing this blog post about Lilly’s then upcoming estate auction, I was contacted by the Lilly Pulitzer PR team with the opportunity to guest post “Palm Beach Chic Décor” for the official Lilly Pulitzer Pinterest account. A shiver went up my spine when I received their email… I knew this was a sign! So my wonderful husband (he is SUCH a trooper!) and I drove up to West Palm yesterday morning for the auction, my heart pounding the entire way!
In addition to 600+ online bidders and nearly 400 advance bids, more than 400 Lilly fans from all over the country filled Leslie Hindman‘s auction house, and we were packed in like colorful Lilly Pulitzer/Jack Rogers-clad sardines. The auction started at 11 a.m. and when my husband and I arrived just after 10 a.m. it was already standing room only!
Two and a half hours later, my desk (#67 out of 295 lots) was up, and I actually thought I might faint due to the combination of claustrophobia and excitement. After a heated bidding war with an unknown online bidder that seemed to last an eternity, the desk was mine! I wish we could have stayed until the end, but we were starving and exhausted, so we paid for the desk, loaded it up in the back of our SUV, and were on our merry way.
Final bid prices were all over the map, with many items reaching a premium due to their previous owner’s iconic status. Items ranged from $100 for a Blanc de Chine lamp (sorry I missed that one) to $42,500 for a pair of Chinese vases valued at $2 – $4K. And a whimsical printed canvas map of Palm Beach went for $16,250!
Below are a few images from the auction catalogue, which you can download here. And if you would like to learn more about Lilly’s Palm Beach home, which recently sold and thankfully will be renovated and kept in tact, click here.