On a cold, wet Sunday afternoon, three muddy white tents drooped under the weight of the downpour in a magnificent backyard on Park Lane Circle, just west of the Bridle Path. A pile of rugs sat in the middle of one tent, surrounded by paintings, framed hockey jerseys, and fur coats hanging from the tent’s metal frame. Another tent contained two long black tables, one holding a jewellery case, the other covered with handbags—Gucci, Escada, Louis Vuitton—some of which still sported their original tags.
The goods were to be auctioned off, along with the 2.35-acre property on which they stood. Frustrated that her five-bedroom house—modest by the fancy-pants standards of the neighbourhood, despite its indoor pool—had been on the market for six months, homeowner Natalie Wong decided to sell it by auction. It’s a method often used to sell large properties in the United States, but she is the first homeowner in the GTA to do so.
The property ended up selling to an absentee bidder the following day for $5.4 million. But it seemed the major draw for the hundreds of people who braved the miserable weather was two Hermès Birkin bags, which retail for up to $25,000, if you’re willing to sit on a waiting list for two years. The two bags sold for $11,500 and $12,000; a yellow diamond, valued at $400,000, sold for $90,000, and a discontinued Patek Phillipe watch, worth $70,000, went for $17,500. Wong predicted that her castoffs would attract attention, and she was right: “Who doesn’t like to look at pretty things?”