For Sale: Jewelry with Nazi links


Christie’s is starting to sell the jewelry of an Austrian billionaire whose businessman husband made his fortune under the Nazis

Auction house Christie’s will soon begin selling jewelry belonging to Austrian billionaire Heidi Horten, whose German businessman husband made his fortune under the Nazis.

According to an AFP report, Christie’s will offer 700 lots from the collection of Horton, who died last year at the age of 81. forbes, He was worth 2.9 billion dollars. Their collection includes “unique and extravagant pieces” from 20th-century designers including Cartier, Harry Winston, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels. According to estimates, the estimated value of the entire collection is more than $150 million.

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Four hundred Horton lots will be sold at Christie’s Geneva auction house from May 10-12. Other pieces will be sold May 3-15 and online in November.

The Horton collection features a 25-carat Cartier ruby ​​and diamond ring and has “a saturated pigeon-blood red hue and exquisite purity,” according to the auction house.

“What makes this collection particularly remarkable is the breadth and quality of the gems represented,” said Max Fawcett, Head of Jewelery at Christie’s in Geneva.

“You’ll find everything from costume jewelry and one-of-a-kind haute jewelry pieces to historic gems with exceptional provenance,” he said.

According to a report published in January 2022 by historians commissioned by the Horten Foundation, her husband Helmut Horten, who died in Switzerland in 1987, was a member of the Nazi Party before being expelled.

In 1936, three years after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Horton took over Alsberg, a textile company based in the western city of Duisburg, after the Jewish owners fled, reports AFP.

They later took over several other shops that had been owned by Jewish owners before the war.

“How did a 27-year-old man take over a large department store? Did he put the (Jewish) salesman under pressure?” Historians wrote.

“In the years 1933–45 West German entrepreneurs among West German entrepreneurs kept quiet about their activities. And so the image of an unscrupulous profiteer persists to this day.”

On its website, Christie’s states that “Mr. Horton’s business dealings during the Nazi era, when he bought Jewish businesses sold under duress, are well documented”.

Christie’s CEO Guillaume Certitold told AFP in a statement that the auction house’s decision on the sale was made after “careful consideration”.

“It was never the intention of Christie’s to hide information about Mr. Horton’s well-documented history and we have added relevant information to our sales materials and website to ensure that the facts are clear to all,” he added.

Proceeds from the sale will go to the Heidi Horton Foundation, established to support the eponymous art collection as well as medical research, child welfare, and other philanthropic activities supported by the wealthy heiress.

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