The Met starts selling off assets

October 11, 2014 by norman lebrecht


The Metropolitan Opera has begun to raid its vaults to raise hard cash. An item of jewellery made in 1855 for Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, has been put up for sale next month at Christie’s Geneva.

The Feuilles de Groseillier brooch was presented to the singer Lucrezia Bori by Mrs. Vincent Astor, on behalf of colleagues of the Metropolitan Opera Board, on the night of her retirement in March 1936. Ms Bori continued to work as a fundraiser for the Met until her death in 1960, at which point the brooch passed under her will into Met ownership.

The sale is expected to raise between $2 and $3 million.

The brooch is said by insiders to be ‘the most valuable item’ in the Met archives.



Comments (12)

  1. Perhaps a wise decision? Depending on what they do with the money.

    As cash it can be invested and perhaps return about $50,000 a year.

    As jewelry in a safe it returns nothing and serves no musical purpose.

    1. Save The MET says:

      Do you really believe what you wrote? I’ve got a bridge crossing the East River in Manhattan that’s for sale. That money will be burned off faster than you can say the word “Gelb”.

      1. That claim can be made about any money raised at any time by any means.

        What about this circumstance uniquely qualifies it over any other for that particular rant?

      2. I would be most interested in your bridge except for that you are hiding behind a phoney screen name. That is a poor indicator of your trustworthiness on bridges, finances, music… all that.

    2. Paul says:

      This is like Violetta selling off her assets and dying penniless. Why not sell the pin to Mercedes Bass and have her donate it back? Or sell reproductions of the chandeliers?

      1. Michael J. Begley says:

        Paul – Gelb is WAY ahead of you. $6000 (USD) will get you a chandelier reproduction from the Met Opera Shop:

  2. Save The MET says:

    Based upon your statement, you have no familiarity with the terms of Bori’s will.

    1. Save the MET says:

      Your statement, “according to the terms of Mme. Bori’s will, it is after all the Met’s property”

      Your reply to my statement, “If you honestly believe that the Met is violating the terms of Mme. Bori’s will, then you should alert the law firm representing her estate. If not, I’ll just dismiss what you say as more of your reflexive, uninformed Gelb-bashing.”

      So your initial statement was poppycock, you simply have no idea.

  3. Michael J. Begley says:

    Begun? Gelb mortgaged the huge Chagall paintings years ago for $14 million. (They are not murals and could, theoretically, be removed.) I expect those mortgages have as much chance of being paid off during Gelb’s reign as I have of being made Archbishop of Canterbury – and I am an American Catholic!

  4. Michael J. Begley says:

    Paul – Gelb is WAY ahead of you. $6000 (USD) will get you a chandelier reproduction from the Met Opera Shop:

  5. Nathan Lichtwar says:

    The Chagall’s are next if not already pawned…
    Looks like he (Gelb) wants to turn the Met into a parking lot his next adventure…
    Would you trust him to valet park your

    1. Michael J. Begley says:

      The Chagalls were mortgaged in January 2009 – see

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