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Auction house: 'Bunny' Mellon's objects fetch $218M

Posted November 24, 2014

Heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon gave millions of dollars to John Edwards' presidential campaign.

— Sotheby's auction house says its multi-day sales of Rachel "Bunny" Mellon's furnishings, art, jewelry and other objects totaled $218 million.

Three works — two paintings by Mark Rothko and a Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond — fetched over $30 million.

The 9.75-carat, pear-shaped gem set an auction record for any blue diamond.

More than 1,500 lots were offered over five days. The pre-sale estimate was over $100 million. The last sale was Sunday night.

Proceeds will benefit The Gerard B. Lambert Foundation. It supports The Oak Spring Garden Library in Upperville, Virginia, which houses Mellon's collection of works related to landscape design, horticulture and natural history.

Mellon died in March at 103. She was a noted horticulturist, heir to the Listerine fortune and the widow of philanthropist Paul Mellon.

She also was a prominent figure in the trial of former U.S. senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. Edwards was accused of using campaign donations from Mellon to hide his pregnant mistress from the media during the early stages of the 2008 campaign. A jury acquitted Edwards in 2012 of one count of fraud, and prosecutors dismissed the remaining counts after a lengthy trial.

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  • Sonja Yagel Nov 24, 2014
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    Love that comment GLARG

  • glarg Nov 24, 2014

    How much did John Edwards go for?

  • bubbaOK Nov 24, 2014

    The Mellons were selfless in their charity funding entire collections and "wings", among other things, in the Va Museum and were philanthropists unknown here. Her passing like Brooke Astor & Mrs. Mellon Bruce, mark the end of an era.