200 people gathered at Palm Beach’s Modern Auctions yesterday to bid on the treasures of the legendary New York nightclub, Studio 54. Thousands of items were up for bid which had previously belonged to Bill Hamilton, the companion of the 1970s nightclub owner Steve Rubell.
Photographs of socialites and celebrities, letters, and artwork were many of the items auctioned off on Saturday by auctioneer, Rico Bacca. Popular items included a photo of bartender Sal DeFalco with Graces Jones, which went for $1500, a collection of six record albums from the DJ booth in Studio 54 for $450, and an invitation to Studio 54’s New Year’s Eve party from 1981 for $1,500.
Photographs of celebrities at Studio 54 in the late 1970s were the biggest hit at the event, with many photographic collectors in attendance. A Polaroid of Rubell and Grace Jones taken by Andy Warhol brought in the most money at the auction, being sold at $10,000.
Other photographs taken at Studio 54 included celebrities such as Cher, Sylvester Stallone, Brooke Shields, and Calvin Klein. Tommy Morrison, a 31-year-old Palm Beach collector, spent $7,000 in only the first hour on photographs. A famous photo of Rubell, Warhol, Shields and Klein was one of the many photos Morrison took home for $1,800.
The Studio 54 guestbook went for $6,000 and $6,500 for Rubell’s old phone book from his time as owner. “This is where the disco ball dropped. All those people who went to Studio 54, they didn’t move to San Diego. They came to Palm Beach,” said Rico Bacca.