A yarmulke once worn by Frank Sinatra has been sold at auction for $9,370. According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the skull cap owned by the late music legend was auctioned by Sotheby’s on December 6 as part of an estate sale for Sinatra’s late wife, Barbara. The estate sale was called “Lady Blue Eyes: Property of Barbara and Frank Sinatra.”
It is unknown who purchased the kippah. But the item sold for much more than expected, with the original estimate listed at only $200-$400.
According to the Sotheby’s website, the item is a “hand-crocheted yarmulke, with musical notes and ‘Frank’ border.” The item’s origin and the exact circumstances under which Sinatra acquired it are unclear.
The auction website describes Sinatra as “a lifelong sympathizer with Jewish causes,” and notes that he was awarded the Hollzer Memorial Award by the Los Angeles Jewish Community in 1949. It also references The House I Live In, a 1945 short film Sinatra made in which he “intervenes when he witnesses a group of children chasing a Jewish boy.”
The Catholic Sinatra was friends with many Jewish people during his childhood in New Jersey, and once he became famous, he began advocating against anti-Semitism, both spreading awareness of the Holocaust and even becoming a member of a majority-Jewish golf club, rather than join one that restricted Jews.
Sinatra performed a benefit at the Hollywood Bowl in 1947 to encourage the establishment of the State of Israel and was even said to have aided the Israeli paramilitary organization Haganah in one operation in New York. Sinatra would visit and perform in Israel numerous times and went on to establish numerous Frank Sinatra Centers in Israel. The singer’s support for Israel even got his music banned at various times from several Arab countries, including Egypt and Lebanon.
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) December 6, 2018
The Sotheby’s auction included a wide variety of merchandise owned by the Sinatras. These included Barbara’s engagement ring, a signed painting of Sinatra by Norman Rockwell, furniture, concert posters, pictures with presidents, a letter from Bill Clinton wishing Frank a happy birthday, and a script of Sinatra’s movie From Here to Eternity. A separate auction was held for Barbara’s jewelry collection.
The auction fetched a total haul of $7.8 million, Art Daily reported, with the entire auction sold out.
Frank Sinatra married the former Barbara Blakeley, his fourth wife, in 1976; Barbara had previously been married to Zeppo Marx of the Marx Brothers. They remained married until Frank’s death in 1998, while Barbara died at age 90 in July of 2017.