MANHATTAN — Those who never made it to Elaine's, the legendary Upper East Side restaurant that served famous New Yorkers like Woody Allen and Truman Capote, were given a chance to own a piece of its history Tuesday.
A standing-room only crowd —with hundreds more on the phone and online — gathered to bid on items from Elaine Kaufman's personal collection from her restaurant and from her Upper East Side penthouse being auctioned off at Doyle New York.
Sales totaled $385,734, with all but seven of more than 240 items finding a buyer, Doyle officials said.
"Table No. 1" — the one that had the best vantage point in the restaurant and the place to "see and be seen" according to the auction house — went for for staggering $8,750 to a buyer in Massachusetts after being estimated at $400-600.
A vintage cash register went for $4,063 to a buyer from Connecticut willing to shell out more than the $400 to $600 estimated price. A butcher-block table, which sold for $2,813 estimated at $200-300 went to a New York buyer.
A photographic collage by West Coast artist Wallace Berman, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000, fetched $41,250 from a California buyer, and a New York buyer snapped up a French Art Nouveau poster by Alphonse Mucha’s 1986 Salon des Cent for $25,000 that was estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.
“Elaine lived a long, happy and prosperous life," said Diane Becker, the restaurant’s longtime manager, who inherited Kaufman’s entire estate when the restaurateur died in December at the age of 81 and worked with Doyle on the auction.
"Elaine lined the walls of her restaurant and home with artwork, books, photographs and memorabilia, some of which was given to her by the wonderful people she met night after night at her restaurant," she said. "I feel that this is the best – and frankly only — way I know to share Elaine with those she cared about most — her Elaine’s family.”