BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Iconic pieces from the life and career of beloved late actress Betty White are on display and auctioned in Beverly Hills this week, including an original screenplay for the pilot ‘The Golden Girls’, the front door to White’s Brentwood home and jewelry from her personal collection.
Betty White died on December 31, 2021 at the age of 99, just weeks before her 100th birthday. Her estate gave around 1,600 personal items from White’s career and life, including clothing, screenplays, art, furniture and jewelry, which are likely to attract bids from fans, collectors and museum curators alike.
The prices of the items are conservative compared to previous Julien’s Auctions auctions, which White would have wanted, said Martin J. Nolan, executive director and CFO of Julien’s Auctions.
The bidding will likely push up the more reasonable, estimated prices, a price jump that Nolan calls the “Betty White factor.” According to Julien’s website, some items have already been bid for tens of thousands of dollars over estimate. Nolan said he wouldn’t be surprised if the auction totaled between $1 million and $2 million.
The most expensive item in the collection is White’s latest car, a 2000 Cadillac Seville STS Touring Sedan, estimated to be worth between $5,000 and $7,000. Eight bids prior to the auction brought the car’s price to over $12,000.
“When you come to an auction like this, you look at the items and you look at the intrinsic value. What are the items themselves worth? We don’t know what the ‘Betty White factor’ is. That would definitely be coming up auction days,” Nolan said. “You can’t guess…but we have good indications that Betty is very collectible, very popular, and very desirable.”
Julien’s Auctions previously conducted property auctions for celebrities such as Marylin Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Bob Hope.
The items were on display to the general public at Julien’s Auctions at 257 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills on Wednesday and Thursday.
The live auction runs Friday through Sunday at Julien’s Auctions and online at Julien’s website.
Curators spent three weeks searching White’s Brentwood home trying to put together an exhibit that would capture White’s personality, accomplishments and legacy, Nolan said. Attendees should feel like they’ve spent time at White’s home — even a visitor who had never heard of White would get an idea of who she was, Nolan said.
“What it does is tell the story, keep its memory alive — that’s its legacy,” Nolan said. “We wanted to show her love for animals. We wanted to show her own nostalgia by including items she had and collected with her husband Allen. [We also included] Her parents’ belongings – her mother’s artwork, a watch given to her by her mother in 1940.”
In addition to highlighting her career accomplishments like being the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live and a laundry list of awards, the curators were careful to also showcase White’s sense of humor and levity, Nolan said.
“She had an audience that was young and old, and she’s still relevant, and she’s still humorous. So we wanted to show their love for games. We also wanted to show her humorous side — her whimsical side,” Nolan said.
White didn’t have her awards on display at her home, but Nolan and his team felt it was important to showcase their accomplishments, he said.
The auction has received an incredible response from the public and the team at Julien’s Auctions, almost all of whom wanted to work on the White auction, Nolan said.
“It was phenomenal. We’ve had the auction online for three weeks now – we’ve already received over 5,000 bids, which is phenomenal. I don’t think we’ve ever had an auction with such pre-auction interest. That’s really revealing,” Nolan said.
Proceeds from the auction will go back to Betty White’s estate, but Nolan reckons the money will ultimately be donated as White has a long history of humanitarianism and advocacy.
Check out highlights from the collection. Click on the photo to view the item online and see the current bid: