The life of Lupita Tovar, it turns out, would make a great movie.

In her 106 years on the planet, Tovar witnessed the advent of automobiles and antibiotics, of space travel and Snapchat. She made her way from a village in rural southern Mexico, where she was born during the outset of the country’s revolution, to the United States after being discovered by a director at the age of 18.

She earned her fame starring in more than 30 films during Hollywood’s Golden Age and accepted a proposal over the phone from a prominent Eastern European talent agent and producer, Paul Kohner, before decamping to Czechoslovakia to marry him. It was Kohner who envisioned the Spanish language versions of American movies, shot at night on the same sets and using the same equipment, which brought Tovar into the limelight. She is perhaps known best for her 1932 starting role in Dracula, which was added in 2015 to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress list of culturally significant films.

“She became known when portraying the heroine in the classic Dracula done for the Spanish market. She was every bit a star in her own right in this country and her native Mexico for her many other roles,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage Auctions. “In 2001, she was awarded the Mexican Film Industry’s Golden Ariel Award for her lifetime contribution to the great culture of country.”

She also acquired some great jewelry. Heritage Auctions’ September Jewelry Signature Auction will include pieces from Tovar’s personal collection – a selection as eclectic as might be expected from a centenarian such as she was. Spanning the decades, the collection contains everything from an art deco wristwatch and several retro brooches to a heavy 1970s gold bracelet. A Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby, Diamond, Platinum, Gold Brooch (est. $12,000-15,000) and matching pair of Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby, Diamond, Platinum, Gold Earrings (est. $7,000-9,000) in a charming floral motif are the highlight.

BroochRuby, Diamond, Platinum, Gold Brooch, Van Cleef & Arpels
The brooch features full-cut diamonds weighing a total of approximately 1.75 carats, set in platinum, enhanced by round-cut rubies weighing a total of approximately 11.00 carats, set in 18k gold, marked VCA. Gross weight 45.40 grams.
Property from the Estate of Lupita Tovar and Paul Kohner, Bel Air, California
Estimate: $12,000 – $15,000. 

 

EarringsRuby, Diamond, Platinum, Gold Earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels
The earrings feature round-cut rubies weighing a total of approximately 9.00 carats, set in 18k gold, enhanced by full-cut diamonds weighing a total of approximately 1.00 carat, set in platinum, marked Van Cleef & Arpels. Gross weight 21.05 grams.
Property from the Estate of Lupita Tovar and Paul Kohner, Bel Air, California
Estimate: $7,000 – $9,000. 

 

“Lupita Tovar accumulated this amazing collection over decades beginning in the 1930s. When you see photos of her, she is so glamourous and striking because of her natural beauty and her taste in jewelry, which includes many of the items offered in this collection,” said Gina D’Onofrio, Heritage Auctions Director of Fine Jewelry, Beverly Hills. “She had impeccable taste, and her collection includes rings, bracelets and brooches that are remarkable.”

The jewels will be offered Sept. 25 in Beverly Hills, not far from Tovar’s Los Angeles home. Visit HA.com/5312 for details.

Written by: Steve Lansdale


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