Not every state in the USA can claim to have once been its own independent kingdom. In fact, only one can. Before its controversial annexation by the USA in 1893, the Kingdom of Hawaii was a small country spread across the Hawaiian islands, first unified under King Kamehameha the Great in 1795. Although the monarchy was abolished through an armed coup launched by the European-American settlers of the island, many descendants of the former Hawaiian nobility and royalty remain today. One, Princess Regina Kawananakoa, passed away last December.
As many people do, the late Princess accumulated a number of treasures during her lifetime, and these have now been auctioned off at the end of last week.
In total, the auctioneers have accounted for over 700 individual pieces to be made open to the public for a preview, all acquired from the Princess’s Hawaii Loa Ridge residence, which is also to host the show. The residence, a three story mansion with a wine cellar, swimming pool, and home cinema, has already been sold off. Those previewing the items to be auctioned were rather impressed by the grandeur of the household.
The items to be sold off include many royal artefacts from the Kingdom of Hawaii, such as portraits of prominent ali’i, jewellery, vintage photographs, crystal ware, ornaments, and antique furniture. The auction itself was held online, with bidding starting at $10, although, with the number of old and valuable pieces, the final bids probably wound up several magnitudes higher. The sheer number of items has meant that it would have been impossibly long to auction live, hence the preview.
Those attending the auction were grateful for the chance to see the items first before bidding anything, as it can often be hard to get a proper estimation of an object regarding size or value through merely a photograph.
While many items may well have been snatched up by galleries and museums, there are also some private collectors looking for something with a bit of Royal Hawaiian history to them as well.
“To be able to have something that one of the princesses had would be just such a keepsake, just such an honour,” commented one of the attendees.