Catalog, Auction
Catalog, Auction

Catalog, Auction

Document/Book

Accession Number
2017.003
Description
Beige paper-back auction catalogue with black print text titled: "Valuable Precious-Stone Jewelry and a small group of furs from private owners including the estates of Edna Wallace Hopper and Marguerite A. Keasbey and from Abraham Soltz of Cleveland Ohio Together with the principle portion of the inventory of J. & S. S. DeYoung Inc." Below the title is a line drawing of a gem-stone followed by details of the auction.
Narrative
This auction catalogue lists fourteen pieces of jewelry consigned for sale by the Executor of the Estate of Edna Wallace Hooper, stepdaughter of Alexander Dunsmuir (1857-1900). Hopper was notoriously secretive about her age, and according to her biographer, not truthful about it when pressed. Some sources say she was born in 1865, others say 1874. The jewelry sale took place on December 7th & 8th, 1960 in New York, the city where Hopper normally resided from about 1886 until her death in 1959.

The catalogue describes lot #241 as “THREE CULTURED PEARL NECKLACES Single strands of graduated pearls”. Various historic photographs exist in which Edna wears three strands of pearls of graduated sizes. One example is in Craigdarroch’s museum collection (see 2012.009). But pearl necklaces are quite common and it is unreasonable to conclude with certainty that the catalogue is describing the necklace depicted in 2012.009

The catalogue describes lot #327 as “DIAMOND LOCKET AND PEARL CHAIN Oval platinum and gold double-face mount set with thirty-two old-mine diamonds weighing about 7.50 carats, eighty-four small old-mine diamonds weighing about 1.50 carats; one hundred and sixty-three small pearls in a chain”. A locket and chain seemingly matching this description is worn by Edna Wallace Hopper in numerous historic photographs, including these ones in the Craigdarroch Castle Collection: 2008.007.001; 2008.007.002, and; 2012.014.

Edna Wallace Hopper Hopper biographer Jim Alessio, author of The Eternal Flapper: The Many Lives of Edna Wallace Hopper (Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2009) told Craigdarroch’s Curator Bruce Davies that Edna cherished the necklace and locket depicted in these photographs. He stated that the locket contained a photograph of her mother, Josephine Wallace, later named Mrs. Alexander Dunsmuir. The same locket and chain can be seen on pages 227, 228, and 373 of his aforementioned book.

Craigdarroch’s Executive Director John Hughes, formerly a professional jeweler, compared the catalogue’s description with Craigdarroch Castle Collection photograph 2008.007.002 and made these observations: 

“I’ve played with contrast and clarity in my photo editor in order to count the number of stones in the locket and the pearls as they are the largest stones in the piece and reasonably well defined in certain areas. I count 14 pearls in approximately 2 inches of chain which is 168 pearls in a 24-inch necklace. Leave space for the clasp and connectors and we’re in the right ball park for this piece to contain 163 pearls in a 24 – 26-inch length. The 84 small old mine cuts are not well defined which is to be expected given the size of each individual stone is about 1 millimeter. However, that number, size and cut of stone would fit into the platinum/gold detail connecting the pearls to the locket with perhaps a few in the clasp which we can’t see. (I doubt the clasp was devoid of detail but it may have been filigree with no stones) There could be a length adjustment at the clasp to allow the wearer to go from, for example, 20 - 24-inch length to fit the bust line of her dress. That option was common enough. I feel strongly that there is a very good chance the description in the catalog fits with the piece worn in the photograph.” 1
 
Where and when Edna Wallace Hopper acquired her many pieces of jewelry is mostly unknown. But at least some of it was purchased by her stepfather Alexander Dunsmuir. In 1903 Edna testified under oath:

“We went to Tiffany’s, and he [Alexander Dunsmuir] made a couple of selections there, he bought me a very handsome broach, pearls and diamonds, and bought some presents for my mother.” 2
 
This catalogue aids in the understanding and presentation of the story of Edna Wallace Hopper and the Dunsmuir family. It may one day help The Castle Society to identify and acquire jewelry once owned by Edna Wallace Hopper.
 
  1. John Hughes, e-mail message to Bruce Davies, July 11, 2017.
  2. British Columbia Archives. GR-2731 Hopper vs. Dunsmuir case file 12/92 Transcript from Victoria (Hon. Justice Drake) Victoria, December 3, 1903. P128
History of Use
This catalogue was bought by The Castle Society from an EBay seller in California. On the first page of the catalogue is a circa 1960-1970 return address sticker for a person in Los Angeles. No other history of use is known.
 
Date
1960
Dimensions
23 cm x 18 cm
Material
Paper
Country of Origin
USA

Related people/businesses/organizations
Publishers Printing-Rogers Kellog Corporation (publisher)
Parke-Bernet Galleries Inc. (editor)
Edna Wallace Hopper (relates to)
Related Objects

photograph, 2008.007.001 (is related to)

photograph, 2008.007.002 (is related to)

photograph, 2012.014 (is related to)