TODAY

TODAY   |  April 22, 2014

Huguette Clark’s treasures up for auction

The possessions of the late Huguette Clark, one of the wealthiest and most secretive women in America, will be auctioned off. They include a Stradivarius violin worth an estimated $7.5 million and a Claude Monet painting valued as high as $30 million.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we've made our way to christie's auction house for a closer look at a remarkable collection. it has all the makings of a hollywood mystery. reclusive heiress dies leaving behind a massive fortune. but it isn't fiction. it's the fascinating life of huguette clark . huguette clark , her name and life cloaked in mystery, as one of the wealthiest and most secretive women in america. she died in 2011 at the age of 104, so private, this is believed to be the last photo taken of huguette clark in public in 1928 . she was 22. the daughter of a copper baron, clark left behind a fortune worth over $300 million, including three sprawling estates, perfectly manicured, but left unused for decades. a seaside mansion in santa barbara , california, worth $84.5 million. a 52-acre connecticut retreat worth over $14 million. and perhaps the most stunning, three apartments in the same building on new york's famed fifth avenue. 42 rooms worth $54 million. she had $75 million worth of personal property, including a $25 million monet painting. despite these luxurious homes filled with fabulous possessions, huguette clark spent her final time on this earth somewhere else, choosing to live in a new york city hospital for the last 20 years of her life. all right, the clark family treasures are now up for auction here at christie 's, including a rare treasure from the music world . let's begin our tour with multiple grammy winner joshua bell . he's one of the world's most renowned and celebrated violinists. good morning, nice to see you.

>> nice to see you.

>> say hello to my little friend. tell me about this.

>> well, i just grabbed it out of that case. i feel like a kid in a candy shop . this was made in 1731 by the greatest maker of all time. it was played by rudolph kroitzer, w kroitzer,.

>> you've owned three of these violins.

>> i own one now.

>> each one has its own personality. can i hear the personality of this one?

>> well, this one, i love the low and the bottom. the g-string, as we call it.

>> it's got a rich, warm quality.

>> any idea on the price of something like this?

>> i don't know. they're saying it might go for around $7 million to $10 million. which is a bargain compared to that over there.

>> as i move on, will you continue to play a little bit for us? joshua bell . thank you very much. i want to say hi to brooke lampley for us. head of impressionist art here at christie 's. this is a beautiful monet .

>> also a bargain.

>> talk to me about this painting. there are was painted in 1907 and comes from his water lily series, when he moved in 1883 , but later, he would devote himself for over 30 years to just painting the surface of his lily pond.

>> the violin was found in a closet. where was this?

>> this was in a sitting room . and it's been -- it had been in the apartment on fifth avenue for so many years, it has not been publicly exhibited since 1926 .

>> it's unbelievably beautiful. can we just mention there are a couple of other renoir paintings as well.

>> there are two renoirs. three that we're offering from the clark collection. this is a still life with chrysanthemums and a young lady with a parisol, both painted in the 1870s . great early impressionist dates. both like the monet absolutely pristine, kept in perfect condition. sequestered away for so many years. and now it's exciting to bring them to the public.

>> an amazing collection from a very mysterious and wealthy woman. brooke, thank you very much. joshua bell over there, thank you very much. coming up