World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman to be auctioned in over a week long event

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World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman to be auctioned in over a week long event
Wesport, Connecticut. Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s has unveiled the full auction contents of The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, which will be offered across a series of auctions this June in New York. The series of sales, consisting of more than 300 individual items that the legendary actors assembled and enjoyed throughout their 50-year marriage, will offer a rare window into the personal and professional lives of the famed couple who were also dedicated philanthropists. Drawn primarily from their residence in Connecticut, Sotheby’s sales will offer film and entertainment memorabilia, automotive and racing collectables, family photographs, antique furniture, as well as fine decorative arts collected by the couple – in addition to two of Paul’s highly coveted Rolex wristwatches. Together, the auctions will illuminate the two worlds that Woodward and Newman occupied: the glamorous lifestyle of a Hollywood power-couple and their private life where they surrounded themselves with the people, objects and philanthropic causes they cherished the most.

The World of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman is divided into three separate sales; Important Watches (9 June) – which is highlighted by three watches that were frequently worn and much loved by Joanne and Paul, A Life and Legacy (31 May – 12 June), which features memorabilia from Joanne and Paul’s careers as well as the art and objects that they surrounded themselves with, and finally High Speed (31 May – 13 June), which is a sale entirely devoted to Paul’s extensive legacy in the car racing world. In addition, a selection of movie posters and other works from the collection will be available on Sotheby’s Buy Now marketplace. The exhibition will be open to the public at Sotheby’s New York galleries from 1 – 11 June, alongside Sotheby’s Luxury Week exhibitions of jewelry, watches, luxury handbags & accessories, and more.


While a Rolex ‘Paul Newman Daytona’ is widely recognized among the most coveted vintage Rolex models, rarer still are Daytonas worn and owned by the Hollywood legend himself – with only two other examples previously sold at auction. The two present examples to be offered this June stand out even further, imbued with sentimental and historical value imparting from pinnacle moments in Newman’s celebrated racing career: the reference 16520 (est. $500,000 – 1 million), was presented to Paul after his team won the GTS-1 class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona Race at the age of 70, becoming the oldest driver to ever do so, and the reference 116519 (est. $500,000 – 1 million), the last Daytona ever gifted to Paul by his wife, Joanne Woodward, bearing the tender inscription “Drive Very Slowly Joanne”. These historically important watches will be accompanied by Joanne’s white gold Patek Philippe Reference 4459, engraved with her initials on the caseback (est. $2,000 – 5,000).

In 1995, Paul Newman – Hollywood legend and veteran race car driver – claimed victory in the GTS-1 class at the 24 Hours of Daytona, an endurance race held annually at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The impressive victory was a feat for Newman, who, at 70 years old, became the oldest driver to ever win the race – an accomplishment still held today in The Guinness Book of World Records.

Upon winning the race, Newman was named ‘Rolex Motorsports Man of the Year’ and was presented a reference 16520 ‘Zenith’ Daytona, bearing the inscription ‘Rolex at Daytona 24 Paul Newman Rolex Motorsports Man of the Year 1995.’ Accompanying the watch in the sale is Newman’s ‘Rolex 24’ Winner’s Award (est. $2,000 – 3,000), representing one of the proudest moments of Newman’s motorsport career – physical evidence that the great actor could not only portray on-screen champions but embody one in real life.

Known for his philanthropic work, Paul later chose to auction the one-of-a-kind watch during Antiquorum’s ‘Famous Faces’ sale in 1999. The timepiece was the star highlight of the night, achieving $39,000 to benefit Newman’s charity, The Hole in the Wall Gang, an organization providing medically supervised summer camps and programs free of charge to children with serious illnesses.

Despite the record sale, Newman was seen wearing the watch again years later, so it is thought that one of his loved ones had purchased the watch back for Newman. There can be no doubt how significant and nostalgic the watch and memories were to him and his motorsport career, as he continued to wear the watch for years to come.

Featuring a black dial, this white gold automatic chronograph wristwatch from circa 2006 was the only precious metal Daytona ever owned by Paul Newman and one of only three known Daytona watches gifted to Paul from Joanne. The watch is further distinguished by an inscription on the caseback which reads; ‘Drive Very Slowly Joanne.’ For Joanne Woodward, this phrase was meant to hug Newman’s wrist, and trigger a reminder to keep his hands at 10 & 2 while navigating life in the fast lane. Woodward is known for her loving inscriptions and her fear of Newman’s need for speed every time he would step onto the racetrack. This auction marks the very first time the watch will be offered on the market and is the last Daytona Joanne ever presented to Paul.

From watching his Newman-Haas team race at the Indy 500 to his iconic Barbara Walters interview in 2007, Paul Newman’s reference 116519 embraced his wrist during the most important moments of his final years. Most notably perhaps, Paul wore the watch from Joanne as he took his famous final laps at Lime Rock Park on August 13, 2008. The track was completely closed to the public, granting Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s loved ones complete privacy, as they got to observe the Hollywood-star turned racing mogul zoom past them in his 700 horsepower GT1 Corvette, completely at ease. The icon passed away just over one month later at the age of 83. Accompanying the watch in the sale is Newman’s very last Sparco racing suit (est. $5,000 – 10,000). Used from the 2003 racing season straight through to his last laps a month before his passing, this bore witness to some of Paul’s last great victories. Embroidered with his initials, ‘PLN’, the logo of his Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, ‘Butch’, and a small McDonald’s logo at his right shoulder – each piece represented something near and dear to him.


The Westport, Connecticut home of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman encapsulates the life they built and shared together with their family: full of love, humor, and a sense of adventure. The Life & Legacy sale features a curated selection of the memorabilia, furniture, fine art, and décor that the Newman family amassed and lived with for decades on end.


The significant selection of film & entertainment memorabilia on offer features material associated with projects spanning Joanne and Paul’s careers in film and television. Highlights include scripts and award certificates associated from iconic films such as, Rachel, Rachel, The Hustler and The Color of Money; movie props such as the pair of metal shackles from Cool Hand Luke and a coat rack from the 46th Academy Awards’ Best Picture winner, The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford; and wardrobe including a pair of brown boots that Newman wore from the shootout scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as well as the red velvet dress worn by Joanne Woodward in The Three Faces of Eve, and the purple sequin gown worn onstage in her 1988 production of Sweet Bird of Youth.

Scripts were usually stacked on tables and desks, to be gone through at offices, in the living room, by the pool. We grew up watching them read. I can remember my father settling into his worn leather wingback with a script in his lap, stirring with an extended pointer finger those gobsmackingly large martinis late at night, followed in the morning by iced coffee, same finger, same beer mug, with a chaser of stale popcorn.


The auction includes a selection of furniture and decorative art, including 19th century American folk art portraiture, 18th century American and English furniture, and an assortment of decorative art from their residences in Connecticut where they would often gather their famous friends and family for holidays, special occasions and regular movie nights at ‘The Barn.” Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman’s furniture includes an array of antique inspired forms demonstrating both their zest for travel and cosmopolitan lifestyle as well as their comfortable home life where they could relax and be with one another. Regulars on the antique and decorative art fairs in Connecticut, their art was equally cosmopolitan and eclectic but was also a unique window into their idiosyncratic sense of humor – particularly seen with the American ‘Hollywood Producer’s’ Tin Pig Bench, which was situated in Paul’s office. Clea Newman recalls that her “Dad loved to pull pranks on his friends. One of his favorite bits was making everyone who arrived late sit on the pig bench for their meeting. He was a real stickler for time.”

The sale also includes a bespoke Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. oak billiard table, which was located in the couple’s New York City Apartment and often used by Paul with friends and colleagues. This beautiful figured oak table was manufactured in the early 20th century and is fitted with a Monarch cushion. The table is also being offered with a set of 15 pool balls and western-style embroidered cover. A custom “Fast Eddie” pool cue made for Newman in the 1986 film The Color of Money, is also being offered in the sale (est. $2,000 – 3,000). In the sequel to the 1961 film, The Hustler, Newman reprises his role as “Fast Eddie” Felson, a pool hustler who discovers and mentors a young and talented pool player, Vincent Lauria, played by Tom Cruise. While the film gave rise to the pool cue brand Balabushka, it was actually the manufacturer Joss that made both Cruise’s look-a-like Balabushka and Newman’s cue with his nickname “Fast Eddie” inlaid on the center of the shaft and undulating ace playing cards along the bottom of the handle. Other billiards related items include several lots of signed and branded pool cues, a hanging pool rack with triangles, diamonds, and chalks, and a set of four high-back spectator’s chairs.

Further illuminating Joanne and Paul’s relationship and storied 50-year marriage through the furniture and objects they surrounded themselves with is an early 20th century cream-painted cast-brass and iron bedframe from the couple’s infamous ‘F*ck Hut’ (est. $500 – 1,000). This seemingly ordinary double bed was found and purchased by Joanne at a thrift shop, and was kept in the Newman home. In excerpts from his posthumous memoir, Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of An Ordinary Man, Newman recounts finding Joanne in their Beverly Hills home in a paint-covered smock, upon returning from their honeymoon in 1958. She led him to a small room where she had moved “some thrift-shop double bed with a new Sealy mattress,” recently re-painted by her. Joanne proudly coined the room the ‘Fuck Hut,’ and the two would spend “several nights a week and just be intimate and noisy and ribald.” Newman credits his wife by claiming she “gave birth” to the “sexual creature” inside of him, which helped him embrace his legendary sex symbol status in Hollywood. The bed and its accompanying story has gained wide attention for demonstrating Paul and Joanne’s affection, playfulness, and lust.


Both Joanne and Paul were longstanding supporters of the Democratic party and its causes, from their strong endorsement for 1968 presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy (which earned Paul a spot on President Richard Nixon’s infamous “enemies list”) to their early activism in the civil rights movement. The auction offers a number of signed letters, awards and photographs from political figures, including a copy of Nixon’s enemy list – with Paul listed as #19 out of twenty names in the memo – and with his notes on Paul’s “Radic-Lib causes” (estimate $150 – 250), a typed letter signed by President George Bush issuing a joking “pardon” to Paul, evidently relating to some misunderstanding at the 1992 Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, at which Newman and Woodward were recognized for lifetime achievement (estimate $1,500 – 2,000), the Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service in recognition of Outstanding Public Service, given to Joanne and Paul in 1994 (estimate $500 – 700), and photograph of Joanne and Paul with President Bill Clinton (estimate $600 – 800).


Newman discovered his driving abilities while playing an Indy 500 racer in the 1969 film Winning, subsequently pushing the burgeoning film star to launch a successful second career that would span more than three decades and garner multiple podium finishes. Many of Newman’s greatest victories on-track can be relived through race- worn fire suits, custom helmets, and championship rings kept for years by the undeniably talented driver. The auction also includes two of Paul’s automobiles – a 1997 Legends Racing Car, acquired by Newman to sponsor young rivers in the Legends racing series (est. $5,000 – 10,0000) and a one-off 1998 Volvo V90 “Volvette”, built in 2007 by Newman’s race team as a surprise gift (est. $20,000 – 25,000).

I think my Father’s racing career may actually have arisen in the early sixties in LA. He’d had a Porsche engine installed in his VW Bug and he’d take Scott, Susan and me out for rides. These were the days when he wore his orange jumpsuit everywhere. I remember once, while waiting at a red light, a guy in a sports car in the lane to the right of us kept revving his engine – looking over at the VW with complete disdain. My Father did a little revving himself. The moment the light turned green, they both floored it. The guy in the sports car was a speck in the VW’s rearview mirror within seconds while my Dad cackled with glee.

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