An elderly singer from Athens, Greece, made the winning bids for all of Maria Callas’s underwear – and promised to burn it to save the diva’s "dignity and honor".
Suspender belts, bras, bustiers, slips and petticoats were presented at the auction of Callas’s possessions in Paris at the weekend, and fetched up to £1,000 an item.
Those who felt the sale of such personal items was verging on the tasteless will no doubt be pleased at the promise by the anonymous Greek buyer, who was reportedly acting on behalf of the Greek government. A spokesperson from the Auction Channel, which conducted the sale, said the ashes from the underwear were apparently going to be scattered.
The sale raised more than £900,000 – less than the £1.5m pre-sale estimate. The most expensive item sold was the singer's lucky mascot, a tiny18th-century oil painting of the Holy Family, which fetched £86,730.
The singer's white mink bolero made £28,912 and her famous emerald green silk and chinchilla fur coat went for £21,200. A photograph album compiled by Callas and featuring the Greek-American at work during the Forties and Fifties fetched £28,400. Like most of the items on offer, it was found stored in a garage at the home of her husband, Giovanni Meneghini.
Five pairs of Callas's gloves sold together for £18,000, while her purple silk corset made £3,950 and a pair of 10-denier black nylon stockings fetched £2,500.
Meanwhile, a cleaner who impersonates Maria Callas won the grand final of the UK’s television talent show ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ on Saturday. Nicola Kirsch, 48, from Wiltshire,
won with her rendition of O Mio Babino Caro.
Tue Dec 5 2000 (4:49:38 PM)