ON LOCATION
“It’s like leaving behind an old house full of memories,” Connie Francis says of the upcoming auction of her possessions.

The Connie Francis Collection

POP-MUSIC LEGEND DECIDES TO CONNECT WITH FANS BY OFFERING CLOTHING, PERSONAL ITEMS FROM HER STORIED CAREER

By Ana Veciana-Suarez

Chart-topping singer Connie Francis’ career spanned decades and took her to famous stages and private receptions around the world, often giving her the distinction of being the first performer to introduce American music to foreign audiences. She sang for presidents and queens, celebrities and servicemen, and her signature songs— think Where the Boys Are, Who’s Sorry Now?, Stupid Cupid, Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool — became the soundtrack of an entire generation.

EVENT

THE CONNIE FRANCIS COLLECTION
ENTERTAINMENT SIGNATURE® AUCTION 7174
Oct. 1, 2017
Live: Beverly Hills
Online: HA.com/7174a
INQUIRIES
Garry Shrum
214.409.1585
GarryS@HA.com

“I think of those years as a kind of innocent time, a sweeter time,” Francis tells The Intelligent Collector. “It feels as if life was simpler then. And I think my fans may see it that same way.”

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connie on sullivan show
Connie Francis burst on the pop music scene when the single 'Who’s Sorry Now?' debuted in 1958, selling more than a million copies and making her a frequent guest on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

Connecting with her fans, some of whom have followed her since her American Bandstand days in the late 1950s and early ’60s, is the primary reason Francis decided to consign about 1,400 items to Heritage Auctions for an auction Oct. 1, 2017, in Beverly Hills. The items chronicle a stellar career — she recorded 3,000 songs and in 12 different languages — as well as an offstage life with its share of obstacles and personal challenges.

Many of the items in the auction once hung on the walls of her spacious south Florida home, but others were kept boxed “all over the place” – the garage, the attic and a storage unit. Now she’s hoping the beloved pieces will find a home with the people who fondly remember Dick Clark and the movie and song that inspired years of college spring breaks in Fort Lauderdale. “I wanted to have the auction while I was still alive,” says Francis, who turns 80 in December. “I have a close relationship with many of my fans, so I thought it would be good for me to enjoy this.”

Garry Shrum, consignment director for Heritage Auctions’ entertainment and music department, believes the Francis items will attract bidders from all walks of life. “It could be a dentist, a doctor, a retiree, a housewife – even a restaurant that has a rock ’n’ roll theme or a lawyer who wants to put a shadow box in his office,” he says. “These are people who want a particular item because it speaks to them about a particular time in their lives.”

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Connie Francis Personally Owned Ring

Connie Francis Personally Owned
10k White Gold Ring
Adorned with Diamonds
and Massive Emerald
Opening bid: $15,000

BID NOW

The singer’s fans will have plenty to choose from. It took Francis and a couple of helpers about a year to sort through the items to be auctioned. The collection includes numerous awards, dozens of gowns and personal items, such as jewelry and handbags, as well as autographed albums and singles, photographs and music sheets hand-annotated by famous composers who arranged songs for the New Jersey native.

Some notable pieces in the auction include her original “Best Female Vocalist” awards, voted by American Bandstand viewers for five straight years; three Bravo Otto awards, 18-carat gold medallions from Germany; a 1950s love letter from Bobby Darin, the man she considers “the love of my life”; and a 1967 jacket Vietnam servicemen gave to her with patches from the places she performed.

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Connie Francis 18K Gold 'Bravo' Award
Connie Francis
Bravo Award
Germany, 1962
Opening bid: $3,000

BID NOW

Fans will also find letters from various politicians and celebrities, including Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon; a cocktail emerald ring surrounded by diamonds that she considers “one of my favorites, it’s just so beautiful”; the original gloves she wore to an audience/ performance for Queen Elizabeth II in 1963; and a beaded gown by American designer Nolan Miller that she wore for a comeback performance at the Diplomat Hotel in 1989.

“It’s like leaving behind an old house full of memories,” says Francis, of sorting through her possessions. “You have a lot of mixed emotions.”

Part of the auction proceeds will go to ETHOS Together, a non-profit Francis founded for military veterans. Supporting U.S. servicemen has been a cause close to Francis’ heart ever since she was a child performer playing the accordion for soldiers.

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Connie Francis Military Jacket
Connie Francis
Personally Owned
Military Jacket
Adorned with Patches
of Vietnam Bases
She Visited
(Includes CD of her album
'A Soldier Died Today')
Opening bid: $2,500

BID NOW

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Connie Francis Book Cover

Francis’ autobiography, 'Among My Souvenirs: The Real Story, Vol.', is scheduled for release this September.

Putting together the collection for auction coincided with the writing of her autobiography. Among My Souvenirs: The Real Story, Vol. 1, is scheduled for release in September. Working on both, she admits, forced her to relive both the low and high points of a life that saw professional successes but also heartbreaking setbacks, including a 1974 rape in a motel room, nasal surgery that left her temporarily without a voice, and a very public struggle with mental illness. While any memorabilia connected with Dick Clark triggers a smile — “Those were the happiest years of my life. It [American Bandstand] was like a big rock ’n’ roll party every day.” —she also admits to weeping jags when handling certain items.

“Some brought back very painful memories,” she explains. “I cried going through the love letters I wrote to Bobby [Darin]. It gave me insight to who I was at 18.”

Despite the emotional hardships she has faced, Francis maintains her sense of humor. “I don’t like to exercise, so I say that if it weren’t for my mood swings, I wouldn’t get my exercise at all,” she quips in a perfect deadpan delivery.

ANA VECIANA-SUAREZ is a syndicated columnist for Tribune Content Agency and author of The Chin Kiss King: A Novel. She collects autographed books from her favorite authors.

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Connie Francis Dior Jacket
Connie Francis
Personally Owned
Christian Dior
Red Ostrich and
Gold Snakeskin Jacket,
Gifted to Francis by Prince Rainer
of Monte Carlo, 1982
Opening bid: $1,500

BID NOW

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Connie Francis Sable Stole
Connie Francis
Personally Owned
and Worn Brown
Sable Stole with Tails
Opening bid: $1,500

BID NOW

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Connie Francis Personally Owned Black Cashmere Dress
Connie Francis Personally Owned
Black Cashmere Dress
with Brown Sable
Fur Shoulders
Worn on the Dennis
Wholey show, 1984
Opening bid: $1,500

BID NOW

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