Posted 6 years ago
In 2011, Christie's auctioned off Elizabeth Taylor's clothing, jewelry, etc. She had LOTS of stuff and many fabulous jewels (my favorite was La Peregrina, a 203 grain pear-shaped pearl on a Cartier diamond necklace). A necklace of 13 ivory theater tokens, put together by Edith Head and gifted to Liz, was one of the few lots which had an auction estimate within range ($1500-$2000). I swear everyone I know had bids on that necklace! It sold finally for $214,500! Here is a photo of the Liz necklace"
Ivory tokens were used by the wealthy as tickets to access their boxes at the opera, theater and/or Covent Garden. The box-holder's name and seat number were often written on the token.
So, after the Liz auction disappointment, in consultation with a friend in London, I started to collect theater tokens so I could have my very own necklace. It took a couple of years, as these tokens are snatched up by collectors. My friend has an elderly client who has some great ones and he lets a couple go once in a while. Finally we had enough tokens, we found a jeweler to make a chain just like Liz's necklace, and voila! Here it is....
Double-sided tokens from left to right (front / back):
- Sir Proby Cautley Stall 45 / Her Majesty's Theatre, 1858
- Mrs. Ewing Box 71 1/2, Seat 3 / Her Majesty's Theatre, opera director signature, 1846
- His Excellency the United States Minister Box 10 Seat 2 / Her Majesty's Theatre, 1844
- HH [His Highness] The Maharaja of Gualior. Royal Italian Opera Covent Garden around edge / 1866 Box 11 1
- Her Majesty's Box 13 / Opera 1837 [ Royal ivory opera token, dated 1837, a subscription to the Royal box in the year Victoria ascended the throne. The token is unusually large and carefully inked. The size of the Queen's box, befitting royalty, was unusually large, as this token is for seat 13.]
- Duke of Wellington, Pitbox 3 Number 4 / 1842 Signed by FG Pole (?) Director of the Opera, Her Majesty's Theatre
- Her Majesty's Opera Drury Lane 1868 / 114 [Unusual as it is unissued to a subscriber.]