The Real Deal Miami

Auction of personal items from Kluge’s Palm Beach estate starts today

Columbia University sold the billionaire’s Palm Beach residence in April for $39M
By Mike Seemuth | June 14, 2016 11:15AM

Kluge estate in Palm Beach and Donna Trilby

Kluge estate in Palm Beach and Donna Tribby

An auction of furniture and other personal items from the estate of the late billionaire John W. Kluge begins today in West Palm Beach.

Auction items

Auction items

“There’s been a tremendous amount of interest,” said Donna Tribby, managing director of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, which will conduct the auction. “It’s very comfortable furniture. When you walked into their house, it wasn’t like a showplace. It was a comfortable, luxurious place to live.”

Kluge, best known as founder and chairman of media conglomerate Metromedia, died in 2010 at age 95.

His alma mater, Columbia University, inherited his Palm Beach residence, including a main house, guest house and three cottages for staff, and sold the 4.3-acre property at 89 Middle Road in April for $39 million. Insurance tycoon Peter Wood was the buyer.

Tribby said low estimates for 495 items and sets of items from the Kluge estate total $395,000.

A 19th Century convex mirror could draw some of the auction’s highest bids. The estimated value of the mirror is $5,000 to $7,000.

Among other “sleepers,” a Chinese water-color painting could sell for as much as $10,000, Tribby said.

The wide assortment of auction items also includes a mahogany pool table, model ships, French silver flatware and even a collection of geodes and sea shells.

“It’s a very personal collection,” Tribby said.

Proceeds from the auction will support a student scholarship fund at Columbia University.