Lessons learned from Russell Crowe's "The Art of Divorce" Auction

Lessons learned from Russell Crowe’s “The Art of Divorce” Auction

Lessons learned from Russell Crowe's "The Art of Divorce" Auction

Several months ago, Sotheby's Australia announced the April 7, 2018 auction of personal effects Russell Crowe acquired during his near 15 year marriage to Danielle Spencer. Crowe's "Art of Divorce" auction could be easily be viewed as a media spectacle. It was one of the first auctions for Sotheby's to be broadcast on Facebook Live, garnering over 121,000 views.  206 Lots of jewelry, art, and movie memorabilia fetched a whopping $3.7 million dollars in a five hour simulcast auction, beating pre-auction estimates by 44.5%.

As Matthew Phillip wrote about the auction in his April 9 Vanity Fair article, "When you strip away the money and glamour and moments of self-deprecating theater here, what remains is a five-hour showcase of his film résumé with a glimpse at his personal taste—the kind of in-depth autobiographical treatment you usually don’t get until you’re dead."

What seems to be missing in all of the media hype is the true reasoning behind the spectacle: Legal representatives could not come to agreement on what the martial estate's collection of items was worth. Therefore, each party could not determine what would be an equitable division of those items were. This challenge is an all too common predicament faced by many Coloradans of all walks of life experiencing a death, divorce, or other major event: "How do we quickly establish a market value for our home and valuable personal property in it's current condition, location, and environment?"

What was never mentioned in the auction (outside of the terms and conditions) was that Crowe had an outside representative bidding on his behalf. In his tweet after the auction, Crowe admitted that he had "a bunch of stuff I didn’t really want to sell coming home". Although the items belonged to the marital estate, the auction allowed for a neutral platform to establish market value, even if physical possession of all items did not necessarily change hands to an outside party.


Mike Whitfield is the Auction and Appraisal Services Manager for the Schur Success Group. The Schur Success Group solves asset valuation and sales challenges with cutting edge accelerated marketing strategies for organizations of all sizes. The Schur Success Group can help sell any major asset of value; including real estate, commercial and industrial equipment, fine art, jewelry, automobiles, and firearms; from Denver to Fort Collins, Colorado Springs to Aurora, and all Colorado points in between. Call 719-667-1000 to speak with an asset expert today.

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