Diamondvues has been following the story of the Phillipine Government trying to recoup the money they claim Imelda Marcos stole from them by litigating to seize her diamond jewelry.
In this continuing saga, todays Phillipine Inquirer reports that the Phillipine gov’t is confident that the world’s fascination with her mystique will fetch a price running into the millions of dollars, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) says it is also now considering auctioning off former First Lady Imelda Marcos gowns and famous shoe collection along with her jewelry.
PCGG Commissioner Ricardo Abcede said he will discuss this possibility with three international auction houses he had earlier invited to bid for three collections of jewelry seized from the Marcoses after the 1986 People Power revolt that ended Ferdinand Marcos 20-year rule.
In an interview with the Inquirer yesterday, Abcede said that, like the jewelry, Imeldas gowns and shoes were nonperforming assets that should have been sold a long time ago.
Abcede said he expects that the jewelry alone, earlier estimated to be worth around $10 million, would fetch as much as $150 million, or about P8.4 billion, in an international auction.
Fascination with Imelda
Abcede believes that the worldwide publicity that the jewelry has received, plus the fascination with Imelda, the total price could be 15 times what has been previously estimated. This has happened several times with auction houses, Abcede said. He recalled that a rocking chair once owned by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy fetched a price 15 times its original estimated value.
Its a celebrity auction, meaning the price will be dictated not by the item itself but by its association with the celebrity, Abcede said.
He did not say how much the gowns and shoes would fetch or who would be interested in them.
Displaying Imeldas gowns and shoes as done in the past is no longer feasible because people lose interest after around three months, according to Abcede. He added that, like the jewelry, they could be put to better use by being sold, with the proceeds going to the governments land reform program.
3,000 pairs of shoes!
At the time of the Marcoses ouster, the former first lady was reported to have around 3,000 pairs of shoes, including many designed by such world-famous names as Ferragamo, Givenchy, Chanel, and Christian Dior, all size eight-and-a-half.
She had admitted owning only 1,060 pairs, saying they were mostly given to her as presents by Filipino shoe manufacturers in Marikina. Nonetheless, this massive shoe collection has gained her international notoriety.
Her gowns, mostly ternos, were designed by top Filipino designers like Pitoy Moreno, Ramon Valera and Joe Salazar, and international designers Valentino and Jean Paul Gaultier (in the 70s before he became famous).
The PCGG has been negotiating for some time now with three major international auction houses, namely, Sothebys, Christies, and Bonhams, for the right to sell the Marcos jewelry.
While the auction was planned initially to be held abroad, the PCGG is now considering holding it in the Philippines in hopes it would attract tourists and funnel taxes from the sale directly into the national coffers instead of going to some foreign government. Abcede said March would be a good time to hold the auction in Manila because it would fit in with an international jewelry fair in Hongkong.
Mrs. Marcos is seeking a court injunction to stop the sale, claiming she is the rightful owner of the jewelry, but nothing has come out of this thus far.
The jewelry consists of three lots: the Malacanang collection consisting of around 300 items left behind in Malacanang when the Marcoses fled; the Honolulu collection of around 400 items confiscated by U.S. Customs in Hawaii when the Marcos landed there in 1986; and the so-called Roumeliotes collection, supposedly the most expensive, confiscated at the Manila airport in 1986 from Greek national Demetriou Roumeliotes, said to be a friend of the Mrs. Marcos.
Abcede said keeping the jewelry on display as some quarters want goes against the mandate of the PCGG and would require a congressional amendment of the law creating it.
I have one question, friends: Abcede heads the Commission on Good Government; isn’t that an oxymoron? Talk about non-performing ass-ets!