Her homes were decorated by high-society designer Sister Parish _ the same interior decorator Jacqueline Kennedy hired for the White House _ but it’s Astor who comes across, not the decorators, she said.
“You knew instantly you were walking into a home of a woman who was a fantastic host, who was comfortable with the things she lived with, and she wanted her guests to feel that way,” added Whitmire. Parish’s business partner, Albert Hadley, created the duplex’s library, where Astor entertained world dignitaries.
There are 64 pieces of jewelry in the sale, including a magnificent emerald and diamond necklace and earrings for which Vincent Astor selected the stones in 1958. Vincent Astor died a short time later with the jewelry not completed. Nearly two years later, Astor received the finished necklace from the Italian jeweler Bulgari.
Sotheby's estimates the necklace will bring $250,000 to $350,000. The earrings may fetch an extra $30,000 to $40,000.
Astor is pictured in the auction catalog wearing the pieces while chatting with President Lyndon Johnson at a dinner dance in his honor at the Plaza Hotel in 1969.
“A woman who dined with kings and queens and presidents _ that is a provenance that doesn’t get much better,” said Whitmire.