20 Apr 2021
March 29, 2012 - Filed under: Antiques News — David

antique cabinets and other items from the estate of British actress and philanthropist Dame Celia Lipton Farris have gone under the hammer in New York, including antiques which once belonged to the Vanderbilt family.

The daughter of British bandleader Sydney Lipton, Celia Lipton Farris (1923-2011) was a Scottish child prodigy who achieved fame as ‘the British Judy Garland’, later performing on Broadway until marrying inventor Victor Farris in 1956. The owner of 17 companies, and inventor of the paper clip and milk carton, he left his wife a £100m fortune when he died in 1985. He and Celia, with their two adopted daughters (they were unable to have children of their own) lived in a fabulous Palm Beach mansion. Once owned by the Vanderbilt family, many antiques from the Vanderbilt collection were included in the sale and are included in the Celia Lipton Farris estate auction.

When Victor died, Celia threw herself into a new career as a philanthropist and charity fundraiser in the US and UK. Made a Dame of St John in 2004, her name may be unfamiliar to residents in Cumbria. However, the antique marquetry furniture , Linke antique chests, ormolu mounted antique dining tables and other pieces in her collection filled several trucks – so much so that the sale had to be spread over two dates (17th March and 31st March).

The one fly in the ointment was the 20% seller’s commission payable to the auctioneer, which surely could have been put to more charitable use. Anyone handling an estate sale in Lancashire may be better rewarded entrusting the ormolu antique desks to a Preston antique dealer.

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