Doris Day auction raises nearly £2.5m after moving online during outbreak

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

A sale of film memorabilia, artwork and jewellery owned by Doris Day has been sold for a total of £2,444,325.

More than 1,100 items owned by the late Hollywood star went under the hammer during a two-day virtual sale hosted last weekend by Julien’s Auctions.

The total smashed a pre-sale estimate, set by the auction house, of between £244,325 and £488,650.

Doris Day’s 1930 Ford convertible (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

The top-selling item was Day’s 1930 Ford Model A rumble seat roadster, named “Buttercup” and used on her show Best Friends, which sold for £78,145 – more than nine times its starting estimate.

Other highlights from the sale included Day’s 2002 Cadillac Escalade SUV (£23,446) and her director’s chair from The Doris Day Show (£13,026).

A Cartier piece with 27 round diamonds worn by the star in the late ’70s sold for £33,073, far exceeding its original estimate of between £651 and £977.

Julien’s Auctions said that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it had made “an unprecedented change” to its usual in-person, phone and online auction format.

A poster from the sale (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

Instead, auctioneers held the event over livestream from their homes, tracking real-time bids coming in online and over the phone.

The lots also included furnishings, household pieces and personal items from Day’s home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

US-born actress Day died in May last year at the age of 97.

All proceeds from the sale will go to her eponymous animal foundation, to which she dedicated most of her later life.

Day was one of the top box office draws of the 1950s and ’60s owing to her girl-next-door image and distinctively sweet voice.

She is best remembered for starring opposite Rock Hudson in romantic comedies including 1959’s Pillow Talk, as well as for sitcom The Doris Day Show.

Ahead of the sale, Julien’s Auctions launched a video tour of the items displayed in Day’s home via YouTube, which was viewed more than 122,000 times.

Julien’s Auctions is one of the world’s biggest auction houses and has previously handled the sales of items belonging to stars including Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Amy Winehouse.