Looking Back at the Shirley Temple Auction

Few auctions on Proxibid have garnered as much attention as the Shirley Temple auction, held in Kansas City in July 2015. This massive auction of Shirley Temple’s personal estate—580 pieces in all—comprised of dolls, dresses, props, personal belongings, art, and more drew attention of the masses. Die-hard fans came decked in costume, museums sent curators, curious masses and even Shirley’s children—who, by the way, do not share her signature curls—congregated at The Little Theatre in Kansas City to participate in this historic auction. Meanwhile, thousands of online bidders, from Japan, Germany, Australia, the US and more logged in to bid online with Proxibid.

Little Theater Shirley Temple Auction

The auction was hosted by one of Proxibid’s top clients for collectables, Theriault’s. Known for its unmatched expertise in dolls among other toys, the auction company was selected by the Shirley Temple Estate years before the actual auction took place. Before the auction, items in the collection were separated into groups and spent a year traveling on a museum tour. Days before the auction, the collection was reunited in Kansas City, where Theriault’s planned meticulously to ensure this event was a huge success, selecting a venue that felt in-tune with the massive collection, and organizing the beautiful array of pieces between the grand ballroom and the foyer. Stuart Holbrook, President of Theriault’s, known for his extreme passion in the industry, stressed just how important this auction was, saying, “Shirley Temple’s story is not a Hollywood story, it’s a piece of American history.”

Shirley Temple Auction Lot283

The online catalog received more than 133,000 views and buyers from nearly all fifty states and around the world registered to participate. 28 percent of the items sold in the event went to online buyers, most notably the red polka-dot dress from “Stand Up and Cheer” that we discussed recently in another blog. This dress received international media attention, covered by publications like Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, and Daily Mail UK, and was sold for much more than the original estimate of $20,000—a final hammer of $75,000.

Other irreplaceable items included her Steinway piano – a gift from the Steinway family themselves, an oil painting of the icon as a young star, scrapbooks, movie scripts and the Dreyer Racer given to her by her friend and co-star Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

Bojangles Car Shirley Temple Auction

A year later, this event remains one of the most exciting events we’ve ever been a part of and is a source of pride for the team members that helped make the online experience run seamlessly. Several team members were also on site to provide both logistics and marketing support, coordinating interviews with the media, interacting with guests, and helping buyers register to bid online.

Bidder Registration Proxibid Shirley Temple Auction