Furniture From the Waldorf Astoria and Auction

11:01 am  |  02.08.2021

The Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan was considered New York’s flagship hotel. After renovation, it reopened. Before that, about 15,000 items were sold at auction, including paintings from the room of a cinematic icon.

Chandeliers, vases, showcases – and the door to the suite in which the former US President Herbert Hoover once slept: around 15,000 pieces of furniture from the famous Waldorf Astoria New York were auctioned. “These are unique objects from a legendary hotel,” said a message from the US auction house Kaminski.

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The Waldorf Astoria New York, a luxury hotel for Hollywood stars, artists, and top politicians since it opened in 1931, is currently being extensively renovated and refurbished. The proceeds from the auction are intended to fund work on St. Bartholomew’s Church, which is adjacent to the hotel in Manhattan. “Many of the items auctioned have witnessed history, and we are delighted that they are new to live in the homes of avid collectors find “, it continues.

The Waldorf Astoria New York has been a luxury hangout for Hollywood stars, artists, and top politicians since it opened in 1931. In 2014, the Hilton hotel chain sold its flagship property to Chinese insurer Anbang Insurance for $ 1.95 billion. He has announced a major renovation. The deal was controversial: regular and state guests stayed away, they did not trust the new owner. Two years later, Anbang shut down the Waldorf. For another reason: In the course of a massive refurbishment, it is converting half of the rooms into apartments for millionaires. But that is also not without controversy – New York already has too many VIP properties and too little affordable living space.

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The first house: the forerunner Hotel Astoria on Fifth Avenue (1904). This is where the Empire State Building stands today.

Relocation to Park Avenue: The excavation pit for the new Waldorf Astoria (1929).

Steel inside, limestone outside: the Waldorf Towers grow into the sky (1930).

Tower of Babel: Construction of the Waldorf Astoria (1930).

For Anbang, the Waldorf was part of a global expansion on credit that went wrong. In 2017, Wu Xiaohui, the founder and chairman, was arrested and later sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud. The Beijing government smashed Anbang and sold 15 hotels. The Waldorf Astoria is one of the last remaining items.

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The future of the hotel was assured, it was said, especially since the management was still with Hilton. In the middle of such a monumental building project, you can hardly get out. At the moment the hotel is being refurbished. The proceeds from the auction are intended to finance work on St. Bartholomew’s Church, which is located in the Manhattan borough right next to the hotel.

European nobility: Prince Rainier of Monaco proposed marriage to Grace Kelly in 1955 after dinner at the Waldorf Astoria.

Queen in intoxication: Queen Elizabeth II drove up in the luxury coach (1957).

Exiles at home: The abdicated British King Edward VIII and his American wife Wallis Simpson had a suite in the Waldorf Astoria from 1941 to 1961.

Iconic facade: the main entrance to the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue.

But royal fans also get their money’s worth. Pieces from the suite of Edward VIII and his wife Wallis Simpson can also be found at the auction. The couple lived in the Royal Suite on the 42nd floor for some time after Edward abdicated the throne to marry the divorced American Wallis Simpson.

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Not all of the hotel’s important pieces are up for auction. Selected objects with historical reference will be restored and should be on display in the hotel again after the reopening. These include the “Spirit of Achievement” statue that adorned the entrance to Park Avenue, a rocking chair by John F. Kennedy, and the Steinway grand piano by American composer Cole Porter.

One of the most spectacular items in the auction is the furniture from the room in which Herbert Hoover lived permanently in the 1940s – including the front door, which is valued at between $ 200 and $ 300. A carpet from the suite used by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is said to fetch $ 2,500 to $ 3,500. The most expensive item is an oil painting from the room in which the actress Elizabeth Taylor slept, which is estimated at 8,000 to 12,000 dollars.

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