Princess Diana, JFK and Jay-Z’s collections

Princess Diana, JFK and Jay-Z’s collections

In my line of work, I have had the opportunity to appraise some very interesting high-profile objects belonging to some very famous individuals. Some of these objects are more memorable than others and some are downright unforgettable.

Celebrity collections are not unlike other collections. Most are amassed over time and some show a lifetime of interest in a particular field of collecting. When it comes to celebrity collectors, you might be surprised to learn what some famous folks have sitting on their curio cabinet shelves. It is common knowledge that actresses Elizabeth Taylor and Jennifer Aniston both collected antique and vintage jewelry, but did you know that all types of objects are collected by the famous few. Here are some fascinating collections of the rich and famous.

Princess Diana

The late Princess Diana (nee Spencer) was an avid collector and one that adorned her private spaces with her collections. Known adoringly as “The People’s Princess” following her untimely death, Princess Diana was an international advocate for the less fortunate in addition to being a devoted mother and member of the British royal family.

According to a top member of Princess Diana’s professional staff, Patrick Jephson, whom I interviewed about the Princess’ lifelong collecting interests when we were both keynote speakers together recently, the Princess collected hand-painted Herend porcelain figurines from Hungary. According to Jephson, Princess Diana’s private sitting room and personal office at Kensington Palace were adorned with the collectible figurines in the form of rabbits and other animals. It is fitting that in 2013, Hungary presented a Herend porcelain set as the official gift to the newborn British Crown Prince George, grandson of Princess Diana.

President John F. Kennedy

According to documents of the late First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy collected antique scrimshaw and other objects of New England’s shipping and seafaring history. The young president from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts love of sailing near his family home on Cape Cod. The late President had collected fine examples of carved walrus tooth scrimshaw and other objects that referenced New England’s grand seafaring and whaling tradition. In the Kennedy’s private residence, President Kennedy’s antique scrimshaw and his engravings of ship and battle scenes were on display along with Mrs. Kennedy’s fine art collection of paintings and sculpture.

Jay-Z

Musician and producer, Jay-Z is certainly a horologist or someone with an interest in horology or time keeping. Jay-Z has an impressive collection of wrist watches including an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Skeleton in 18 karat yellow gold. This is one of many fine wrist watches that would certainly make other horology collectors jealous. This particular watch from Jay-Z’s collection features automatic movement, perpetual calendar, moon phase, 18 karat gold with a fixed bexel, etc. The price tag is as big as the impact of Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter, who is an award-winning American rapper, songwriter and record producer.

Some famous figures are major collectors and collect only for collecting’s sake. Of course, some celebrity collectors amass unique objects for sport and fully enjoy the thrill of a quite expensive hunt.

— Verderame is an author and award-winning TV personality on History channel’s No. 1 television show, “The Curse of Oak Island.” With a Ph.D. from Penn State University and experience appraising 20,000 antiques every year from audiences nationwide, Dr. Lori presents antique appraisal events.

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