By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
Those with a keen eye for fashion and furnishings have an opportunity to purchase the belongings of Kathleen DuRoss Ford, the late wife of Henry Ford II in an auction that begins Friday — for couture — and then continues Saturday and Sunday, when the lots will include china, crystal, art, decorative accessories and furniture, including custom pieces.
The auction house handling the sale is Kaminski auction house in Beverly, Massachusetts. The company also has a presence in West Palm Beach and Southern California.
In-person previews ends Thursday, but you can view the lots online at KaminskiAuctions.com. A 20% buyer’s premium is applied to in-person, absentee and online bids.
You may recall that Christie’s in New York City has already auctioned many high-quality items from the estate of Ford, who died last May at 80. As the Shiny Sheet’s Shannon Donnelly reported, the Christie’s sale last week brought in $4.7 million, and the auction house has scheduled another auction at its London showroom on April 15.
But there were plenty of other items from Ford’s estate that Kaminski Auctions is putting up for bid. The auction house is owned and operated by Frank Kaminski, who has ties to Santa Barbara, California, and with his wife, Joi, is a familiar face to many in Palm Beach.
Frank’s West Palm office is at 3602 S. Dixie Highway in the building that houses Blue Moon Antiques. Kaminski Auctions offers estate appraisal services and liquidation services as well.
Known for his astute business acumen, Frank handled the sale of furnishings and accessories for New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. There is always room in the auction field for competition, and Kaminski’s reputation continues to grow.
For the Kate Ford auction, Kaminski will be selling pieces in her wardrobe, including a plethora of shoes and handbags. Items include designs by Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and YSL. Their owner had a reputation for obtaining only the best of what the world offers.
She was the widow of the late Henry Ford II, who headed Ford Motor Co. They married in 1980 and he died in 1987.
I first met Kate Ford many years ago when I was organizing a fundraiser in Palm Beach to benefit AIDS research. She and Florence Knudsen agreed to be honorary chairwomen of the event. This was unfortunately during a time when attaching one’s name to an AIDS charity was frowned upon by the unenlightened, but these women didn’t hesitate to lend their names to help address a great need.
Kate Ford owned many home accessories worth a look, from mirrors and paintings to sculpture and fine rugs. Lots 918-923 include furnishings from her garden terrace. Those of you who may have been in her lakefront home on the North End of the island may have enjoyed sitting out on the terrace with the charming and generous Kate, who loved Palm Beach and her friends.
She is indeed missed. I’m sure for many, owning a piece of clothing or, perhaps, her dancing shoes would bring happy memories.