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Doris Day Estate Auction Raises Nearly $3 Million

Courtesy Julien's Auctions
Doris Day's 1962 Golden Globe and this newspaper photo of Day and Rock Hudson holding their awards sold for $25,600.

Update 11 a.m. Tuesday April 7:  The estate auction for Doris Day, Cincinnati's biggest Hollywood star, raised nearly $3 million for her animal foundation, more than four times the presale estimate.

Day's classic 1930 Model A Ford convertible with under 36,000 miles – the car she called "Buttercup" on her Best Friends TV show (1985-86) – was the top selling item at $96,000, according to Auction Central News.

Credit Courtesy Julien's Auctions
Day's 1930 Model A Ford convertible sold for $96,000.

All of the 1,100 items were sold by Julien's Auctions in an online-only auction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sale was promoted with a rare nine-minute video tour of the reclusive Day's Carmel-by-the-Sea home, and a 30-minute tour of the displays at Julien's Beverly Hills showroom. Both are in my April 1 blog below.

Among the most popular items according to Auction Central were:

Credit Courtesy Julien's Auctions
This Cartier 18k gold brooch with 27 diamonds sold for $40,625.

-A gold bird brooch with 27 diamonds, marked "Cartier Inc/France 18kts," and a photograph of Day wearing it in the late 1970s, sold for $40,625.

--Her 1962 Golden Globe Award for "World Film Favorite" and a photo of her with friend and frequent co-star Rock Hudson, sold for $25,600.  Julien's also sold her 1959 Golden Globe ($22,400) and 1957 Golden Globe ($16,000).

–-Her 1956 gold record award from Columbia Records for her hit "Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)," $15,625.

--The 14-karat gold and gem-set charm bracelet originally belonging to Day's mother -- Cincinnati native Alma Sophia Welz Kappelhoff, who died in 1976 -- sold for $21,875. Day's 14-karat gold charm bracelet, $15,625.

Credit Courtesy CBS
Day's monogrammed director's chair sold for $16,000.

--Her "Doris" director's chair from her 1968-73 television series, The Doris Day Show, $16,000.

--Doris Day’s 2002 Cadillac Escalade SUV, $28,800.

--The brass embossed elephant jardiniere Hudson brought her from Africa, $15,625.

Day was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Evanston on April 3, 1922. She died last May 13, 2019, at 97. A world renown animal lover, she started the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978.

Read more about her career here.

Original post April 1 2020:  You can take a sentimental journey through Doris Day's California home and see her estate items to be auctioned in an online sale this Saturday-Sunday April 4-5 by a Beverly Hills company.

Two videos (below) by Julien's Auctions give you a rare look inside the reclusive Cincinnati native's Carmel-by-the-Sea home and most of her furnishings, artwork, jewelry, clothes and other items being sold to benefit the Doris Day Animal Foundation, which she started in 1978.

Credit Provided
Doris Day died in May 2019 at age 97.

Born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff, she was Cincinnati's biggest Hollywood movie star. The dancer-turned-singer and actress died last May 13 at age 97 – although she had fibbed about her age for years, as confirmed in this nine-minute Julien's Auctions video. It shows Day's 1970 driver's license with her date of birth of April 3, 1922…. and her 1973 U.S. passport listing her birthday as April 3, 1924.","_id":"0000017a-3b54-d913-abfe-bf54fc980000","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">">","_id":"0000017a-3b54-d913-abfe-bf54fc980000","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">

The sale, starting the day after her birthday, has nearly 1,100 lots, which include:

–Day's charm bracelet, and the gold charm bracelet belonging to her mother, Alma Sophia Welz Kappelhoff, born in 1895 in downtown Cincinnati to German immigrant parents. Alma died in 1976. Also available are her pearls, a gold bracelet, white rose broach, silver dog pendant and a frog broach.

–The two-piece ivory-colored suit that Day wore in 1989 to accept the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes ceremony.

– Her four Golden Globes and other awards.

Credit Courtesey CBS
Day loved to wear hats, and some she wore on the 'Doris Day Show' will be auctioned this weekend.

–The grandfather clock, wicker furniture, monogrammed director's chair, hats and Western boots from The Doris Day Show, her 1968-73 CBS sitcom which helped Day pay off her late husband's debts.

–A half dozen paintings, including one from her bedroom by singer Tony Bennett signed "Benedetto," his real name.

–A large framed photograph of Day as a toddler, probably taken in Cincinnati.

–A large yellow rectangular vase given to her by Paul McCartney, and silk pajamas from Stella McCartney in a box signed by Stella and her dad, Paul.

–35mm film reels of her movies, including Pillow Talk with Rock Hudson and Please Don't Eat The Daisies.

–Day's menagerie of stuffed animals; porcelain kittens in a basket; a brass embossed elephant jardiniere that Hudson brought her from Africa; and an assortment of ceramic dogs, birds, cats and turtles.

The world renowned animal lover started the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978.

–A Louis XV style dining table and chairs; Schumann China and dinnerware; Wallace Silversmiths sterling flatware; crystal stemware; and silver tea set.

–A red lacquer Young Chang upright piano from her late son, music producer Terry Melcher.

–Her roll-top desk, white dresser, lamps, couches, breakfast table, swivel bar stools.

–The classic 1930 Ford convertible seen in the opening credits of her Doris Day's Best Friends TV show (1985-86).

–And a six-foot high white wrought iron shelving unit from her grandfather's Cincinnati bakery.

"Doris as a young girl would work there and help out, stacking loaves of bread on this iron shelving, and then she brought it to her various homes," says Martin Nolan, Julien's Auctions executive director. "She always kept it with her. It reminded her of where she came from. And in fact she used it in her home for her sweaters." 

All bidding will be done online. Prospective buyers must register by 3 p.m. Saturday, April 4 (noon Pacific Standard Time) at Julien's Auctions. Here's a 30-minute video showing most of the items.","_id":"0000017a-3b54-d913-abfe-bf54fc980002","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">">","_id":"0000017a-3b54-d913-abfe-bf54fc980002","_type":"035d81d3-5be2-3ed2-bc8a-6da208e0d9e2"}">

Day grew up in Evanston, took lessons at Hessler's Dance Studio in Mount Adams, and attended Our Lady of Angels High School in St. Bernard.

She was dreaming of a professional dancing career until breaking her leg in a Hamilton car-train accident in 1937, and spent her recovering concentrating on singing. She performed on WLW-AM and around town before hired by local bandleader Barney Rapp, who suggested she change her name to Doris Day, since she enjoyed singing the popular song "Day By Day." She literally was the girl next door here until 1940, when Les Brown offered her $75 a week to sing for his Band of Renown. Read more about her in my story from last May here.

In 2017, Cincinnati City Council gave Walnut Street in front of the Aronoff Center an honorary  secondary name of "Doris Day Way" at the urging of retired surgeon Bob Maltz and Herb Reisenfeld of Provident Travel. Reisenfeld loves to say that his mother-in-law, singer Ruby Wright "was responsible for Doris Day's career" because Rapp hired teen-age Day when Wright was pregnant with her daughter Susie. He told the story on WVXU's Cincinnati Edition in 2017.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.