Imelda Marcos, widow of the former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, served as the First Lady of the country from 1965 to 1986. Often referred to as the Steel Butterfly, she was well known for her famous collection of shoes (estimated to be at about 1,200 pairs at one point in time).
Now, we learn that she also had (not surprisingly) a pretty spectacular collection of watches and jewelry. Those items are about to go up for auction. In fact, the jewelry has been in the Filipino government’s possession since 1986, when the Marcoses fled the Philippines after a revolt.
The collection includes pieces recovered from the presidential palace, seized by customs officials at the Manila airport, and seized by the U.S. Bureau of Customs when the Marcoses arrived in Hawaii.
The collection has been appraised by Christie’s and Sotheby’s, and is estimated to be worth $21 million. Among the stand-out watch brands: Patek Philippe, Rolex and Cartier. There is also a host of stunning jewelry, including spectacular pieces by Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and others, as well as a 25-carat, barrel-shape India pink diamond estimated to be worth least $5 million.
It is expected that a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the collection will directly benefit the Filipino people. The Philippine government will soon determine the dates of the public exhibition and auction. As soon as we get more details, we will share them, as this is expected to be a big international draw.
Credits: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images; ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images.