If walls could talk, Martin’s Tavern in Washington, DC, would be a never-ending source of tantalizing political back stories that never made it into print. Since 1933, the beloved Georgetown restaurant has been a favorite of presidents, the press corps, sports legends and visiting dignitaries. Under the watchful eye of successive generations of the Martin family, each president from Truman through George W Bush was escorted to their favorite booth or table where, on a number of occasions, history was made. It was at Martin’s Tavern that Congressman John F Kennedy proposed to future first lady Jacqueline Bouvier. LBJ was known to discuss pending legislation there with his closest advisers, and there is evidence to suggest that spies consorted at the establishment in the 1930s and ‘40s.
On May 22nd, AOK Auctions of Damascus, Virginia, will offer property from the estate of Kelli Ireson Martin, who co-owned Martin’s Tavern with her husband, William A Martin Sr, the third-generation Martin family member to operate the business. The couple owned homes in Arlington, Virginia, and Vero Beach, Florida, where Kelli Martin, a passionate supporter of local charities, resided until her passing in 2019.
Kelli Martin’s selective taste in jewelry is reflected in the ultra-high-quality pieces consigned to the auction. A magnificent custom-designed platinum ring features a certified 10.22-carat center diamond, F color, surrounded by another 8.5 carats of diamonds. It is estimated at $100,000-$200,000 and will convey with an EGL certificate.
Another of Mrs Martin’s favorite rings has a fine 6.2-carat pear-shape solitaire diamond as its focal point and is flanked by an additional 12 baguette diamonds (6 on each side). The solitaire’s color is I1, and its clarity is VS1. Estimate: $50,000-$100,000
Undoubtedly, those who knew Kelli Martin would remember the classic beauty of her 14K white gold diamond stud earrings, with each diamond weighing a hefty 4+ carats. The diamonds are graded I2 in clarity and are I and H in color, respectively. The pre-sale estimate is $35,000-$50,000. Yet another highlight is Mrs Martin’s pendant designed with an 8-carat square emerald surrounded by 2 carats of diamonds. Estimate: $12,000-$20,000
An elegant timepiece from the Martin collection, an 18K rose gold 35 mm fake Pasha de Cartier watch comes with its original Cartier box and paperwork. It comes to auction with an $18,000-$30,000 estimate.
A small fleet of motor vehicles is led by Kelli Martin’s personal 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Convertible, gold with a beige interior. The 5-speed automatic has a V-8 engine and has been driven only 27,000 miles. It has its additional hard top and is estimated at $13,000-$25,000. Cars from other consignors include a reliable 1995 Camaro Z28 with an LT1 350 Corvette engine, 6-speed transmission, new tires and new AC unit, $12,000-$18,000; and a burgundy 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS with a 350 Turbo transmission and original interior. The car has undergone a painstaking 10-year restoration and is in such fine working order, it could be driven as an everyday vehicle, if desired. The auction estimate is $16,000-$22,000.
A remarkable estate collection of early and vintage baseball cards and autographed ephemera includes scores of rarities that sports collectors will not want to miss. There are two old autograph books containing signatures of baseball superstars, including Hall of Famers, which will be offered as separate consecutive lots. One of the books contains 60+ autographs, including those of Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Whitey Ford, Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken Jr. The second book contains 35 signatures, including Stan Musial, Jock Conlan and Red Grange. Each book is estimated at $8,000-$15,000.