How Much Would You Pay for a Bison Head?

Unique items auctioned for millions at a Virginia estate

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Nothing like a wealthy socialite's auction to remind you how poor you are.

    Bidders paid $15.2 million at an auction at the country estate of socialite and vinter Patricia Kluge. Sotheby's held the event Tuesday and Wednesday at Albemarle House in Charlottesville.

    Furniture and fine art were all for sale. Among the goodies -- an ornate Qing Dynasty Chinese table clock, which raked in almost $3.8 million.

    There were some odder items for sale, too, and they fetched a good price. One bidder paid $3,400 for a mounted bison head. A 1954 set of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" books went for $17,500.

    Sotheby's previewed the 900-item collection for a week before the sale, and more than 2,000 visitors who paid $65 for the 620-page auction book attended the public exhibition to examine the collection at the 23,000-square-foot English country manor.

    The preview and auction also was a showcase for the 45-room brick Georgian, which also is on the market. Kluge acquired Albemarle House, its accouterments and 3,000 acres in the settlement of her 1990 divorce from billionaire media mogul John W. Kluge. The couple had been married for nine years.
    Sotheby's International Realty has listed the estate at $48 million, reduced from $100 million last fall. The property also includes about 300 acres, multilevel English gardens and fountains, a swimming pool, and a rustic guest cabin.
    Kluge and her husband, William Moses, have moved to a 6,400-square-foot home elsewhere on the estate grounds. She said that they wanted to scale back so they can focus on traveling and running their winery business.

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