Jeffrey Warhola remembers, as a child, piling into the family car for the seven-hour drive from Pittsburgh to Manhattan to stay with Andy Warhol—or as he knew him, Uncle Andy. Throughout the sixties, Warhol owned an Upper East Side townhouse and lived there with his mother, Jeffrey’s grandma, Julia. Uncle Andy would give Jeffrey and his younger brothers, Mark and Donnie, clothes. “I saw the labels—Versace, Armani, Brooks Brothers— and thought, Those are some high-end things,” says Warhola, 49, who still lives near Pittsburgh. He loved to wear one motorcycle jacket his uncle had given him—it may have been the one Brando wore in The Wild One, says Warhola—so much that he ultimately gave it to Goodwill in tatters.
On June 22, Christie’s is auctioning 36 items from the nephews, including cowboy boots, leather jackets, paint-splattered Levi’s, roller skates, and Polaroids of Mick, Liza, Truman, Sly, and Muhammad Ali (who signed his). Jeffrey’s father, John (Andy’s brother), once brought back a pair of bright-green cowboy boots, size 8 1/2, but they didn’t fit Jeffrey and stayed in their box; together with another pair of boots, they are now expected to bring $800 to $1,200. There’s also a Kodak Instamatic that Uncle Andy gave Jeffrey when he was about 11 (estimate: $4,000 to $6,000). “Me and my dad took it back in a Greyhound bus—I still have a fuzzy picture of the bus.” When Jeffrey visited, Uncle Andy would come home late, after Jeffrey had gone to bed, and Jeffrey never met his uncle’s famous friends. He desperately wanted to go to a Rolling Stones concert the year he was 19. He remembers Andy asking him, “ ‘Why do you want to go?’ He was concerned it was a bad crowd. I guess he felt bad, though, because the next year he gave me the Polaroid.” That 1975 shot of a bare-chested Mick Jagger is projected to sell for between $7,000 and $9,000. A pair of lime-green Brooks Brothers corduroys, along with two other pairs of pants, should fetch $800, as could three cowboy shirts. One of Warhol’s eighties silver wigs may pull in $4,000 to $6,000.
Warhola’s not selling all of his uncle’s “neat things,” however, like the baseball glove Warhol gave him when he was about 6. “I have so many things I can just look around at and say, ‘I got this from Andy,’ ” he says. “I have a religious statue he painted when he was, like, 9. We used to use it as a candleholder—it’s Jesus sitting in a chair.” The nephews are aware of the interest in nearly anything touched by their uncle. “We knew the market was strong for Andy’s stuff,” says Warhola. He sold five silk-screen paintings and seven groups of prints by Warhol at Christie’s sales last month. All went for more than their presale estimates and totaled $2.7 million. The 36 Warhol-related lots in this sale are expected to make between $64,000 and $91,700. Warhola believes his uncle would have appreciated his nephews’ market savvy. “I think his outlook would be, if they’ll pay you that kind of money, sell it.” Next: Is Something Fishy at the Annual Montauk Shark-Fishing Tournament?