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The BBC's Emma Simpson
"He was as passionate about collecting as he was about designing"
 real 56k

Friday, 6 April, 2001, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Bidding begins for Versace collection
Versace collection
Antiques and art make up the Versace lots
An auction of the contents of the home of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace has taken $2.7m (1.9m) in its first day.

The first session of the three day sale at Sotheby's in New York saw healthy bidding for his opulent possessions.

Versace was shot on the steps of his Miami house by a gay serial killer, who was later found shot dead on a Miami Beach houseboat.

The most expensive item proved to be a Antoine Dubost painting entitled Le Retour d'Helene which sold for $236,750 (165,372).

Experts had estimated a price of just $150,000 (104,776).

Before his death in 1997, Versace's fashion house was favoured by a host of celebrities including Madonna, Liz Hurley and Sir Elton John.
Versace
Versace was slain by a gay serial killer

He also designed outfits for the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who attended his funeral just a month before she died.

Other highlights from the sale included an 1830 Charles X hardstone-mounted console which went for $192,750 (134,638), nearly twice its estimated price.

Free mattress

An Italian plaque showing the shield of Achilles fetched five times its estimate at $154,250 (107,745).

Bargains included six couture Versace dresses sold for $6,000 (4,190) each.

Proceeds from the auction will go to PAX, a New York charity promoting gun safety and to the National Center for Victims of Crime in Virginia.

Versace design
Iconic jacket and dress goes under the hammer

Several beds from Versace's mansion were sold with mattresses thrown in free because it is illegal to sell second-hand bedclothes in New York.

Elaine Whitmore of Sotheby's said: "His celebrity certainly played a part, but it was not the final factor.

"It was the pieces that brought the bidders out."

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See also:

12 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Versace art for sale
13 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Madonna eyes Versace spring look
10 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Royal follower of fashion
09 Dec 97 | World
Fashion's tribute to Versace
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