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Consul of Monaco rescues rare Grace Kelly print from Sahara Hotel closure June 14, 2011

Posted by jonathanwarren in Consul of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Las Vegas, Princess Grace of Monaco.
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Denied purchase, Consul of Monaco pulls local strings

thief

Consul Jonathan Warren with rare print rescued from Sahara liquidation

After making inquiries through all proper channels and sending known emissaries to the highest levels of the ownership of Sahara hotel, just before it was shuttered on May 16, 2011, the Consul of the Principality in Monaco in Las Vegas was denied the ability to purchase a rare print of Grace Kelly.

“Nothing is for sale.”  Came the word from the Sahara’s leadership,  “We don’t think it is polite to pick at what little meat is left on our bones.”  This despite Consul Warren’s offer even to purchase the piece and gift it to the Principality in the name of the Sahara’s holding company or its officers.  The Sahara has since announced a public sale of everything in the hotel, set for Thursday, June 16.

For many years the heavy piece hung on the wall behind the font desk at the Hotel.  Grace Kelly became Princess Grace of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier III in 1956.  Consul Warren is headed to the wedding of her son, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, on July 2nd.  Jonathan was determined to obtain the print for the Consulate of Monaco in Las Vegas.

“I wasn’t going to be dissuaded by some guy who owned it for three years and had no idea what it was, or the significance of the piece,” says Warren, “so when I was turned down at the highest level, I went back to the street level.”

Friends of Warren worked at the Sahara as far back as when he went to dinner there after his Junior prom, 30 years ago.  He got the tip that a private sale was going on for a closed list of bidders, two days before the public liquidation of the Sahara’s contents.  The informant told him that all the prints were sold except this one, which would be gone very soon, and was momentarily under the watchful eye of a connection.

“Fortunately, the Sahara still had some old-time Las Vegans, not tied to management or ownership, who cared about things like this.”  Warren says,  “with a little help I managed to gain access to the buyer pool and dole out some cash for the piece before anyone was the wiser.  I’m afraid they’ll miss it at the public liquidation which begins Thursday.  I would apologize – if I were sorry.”

To Catch A ThiefConsul Warren says the piece is a rare, semi-candid shot of Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly in April of 1955, a few months before she would meet Prince Rainier III of Monaco, whom she married one year later.  She is pictured with Cary Grant, her co-star in To Catch A Thief, which was filmed in Monaco, and during which she was first introduced to the Principality.  According to a friend of Consul Warren’s, archivist and historian Brian Paco Alvarez, the Las Vegas New Bureau holds the original 1955 photo in its collection.

Pictured with Grace Kelly and Cary Grant are actor/singer Ray Bolger, who was the first performer at the Sahara when it opened, and Cary Grant’s wife, actress Betsy Drake.  The Sahara sign is clearly visible in the background.  The print now belongs to the Consulate of Monaco, and will hang there permanently.

Asked who helped him obtain the sale ahead of the gavel at the Sahara, Warren just smiles, “I can only report that Las Vegas has saved face, Monaco has recaptured a rare artifact, and Grace has left the building.”

Comments»

1. Kim Whitney - June 15, 2011

I’m am so glad that you were able to give this piece of art the royal home it deserves. Kudo’s to you for your determination and personality that no dout was a factor in bringing this baby home!

jonathanwarren - June 15, 2011

Kim, the greatest assets the Sahara had could not be liquidated. People like you made this City a place that causes wide-eyed smiles. This consulate owes you, and I will not forget.

2. Cindy Hill - June 15, 2011

Well done, Consul.

3. Joe Parker - June 15, 2011

Nice job Jonathan,

Joe

4. Luis - June 23, 2011

Bravo! Great news to hear, especially weeks before the upcoming nuptials of HSH Prince Albert and Mme. Charlene Wittstock.


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