The Wolf Collection, the collection of a lifetime

Apr 17, 2023

There are auctions that cannot be missed. Auctions that should be followed because they will go down in history. Well, the Wolf family auction – the Wolf Collection – is one of those important events that mark the existence of an auction house. Since 4 April, Sotheby’s has been offering a chance to delve into one of the greatest collections assembled during the 20th century, that of the Wolf family. The ambition is to see the result exceed 50 million dollars.

Erwin and Joyce Wolf at the opening of the exhibition Jewels by Jar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Photo taken on 20 November 2013. Photo: Joe Schildhorn / BFA

The Wolf collection is first and foremost the story of love at first sight. Joyce and Erwin were married just 15 days after they met in the early 1950s. Their love story will last more than 66 years. I particularly like this beautiful photo taken on 20 November 2013 during the opening of the Jewels by JAR exhibition at the Metropolitan in New York. You could feel the tenderness and love that united this very discreet couple. The couple built their economic prosperity mainly around oil. They founded the Wolf Land Company, which has since become the Inexco Oil Company. The flat on 5th Avenue in New York gradually became a temple to American art. The couple did not really venture outside the United States to build up their collection. Furniture, paintings, books, no less than nine auctions were needed to disperse the lifetime acquisitions, which for a few more days were the property of Mathew Wolf, their son and sole heir. And among the various auctions, one is entirely dedicated to jewellery.

Lot 115: DAVID WEBB – Yellow Gold, Diamond, Emerald and Ruby Brooch. Estimated at $40,000-$60,000. Photo: Sotheby’s

No less than 105 lots are on offer on 20 April 2023. This fascinating collection includes numerous pieces from David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels New York, Tiffany & Co (Jean Schlumberger and Angela Cummings), Harry Winston and a few French pieces from Cartier, for example.

Lot 121: TIFFANY & Co – Pair of bracelets and earrings by Angela Cummings for Tiffany & Co. yellow gold, lapis lazuli and jasper. Estimated at $18,000 to $22,000. Photo: Sotheby’s

The jewellery catalogue may be small, but it is nonetheless sumptuous, with several pieces with high estimates approaching or exceeding $500,000. A JAR brooch should also find a new owner without difficulty. Note that Joyce Wolf was wearing this jewel in the photo taken for the opening in November 2013. The mysterious setting is extremely well represented in the collection, as is the plant theme, as flowers are among the favourite pieces in this set. If you are a lover of perfectly executed modern jewellery, you must discover the collection. And if you can, get a piece of the American dream that was the Wolf’s…

Lot 159: JAR – Gold, silver and copper brooch circa 2004 set with sapphires, garnets and diamonds. Estimate $250,000-$350,000.
Lot 206: VAN CLEEF & ARPELS – Gold, diamond and ruby brooch, circa 1964-1965. Former Alice E. Adams Collection. Estimate $400,000-$600,000. Photo: Sotheby’s

See you soon!


marie chabrol

Hello my name Is Marie. Speaker, consultant & teacher, I write with passion about the world of jewelry.

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