Summit Avenue Landmark hits Pay Dirt!

Minnesota Historical Society Sells Rare Gem at Christies

When the railroad baron James J. Hill bought a diamond and sapphire necklace for his wife in 1886 for a recorded amount of $2200, he probably never thought about what the single sapphire would fetch in 2007. Well this week the rare sapphire from Kashmir fetched an auction price of just over $3 Million.

After Hill’s death in 1916, the necklace was divided up among his six surviving daughters. The single sapphire, weighing 22.26 carats, was passed down to descendants and finally bequeathed to the Minnesota Historical Society in 2006. The sale sets a world record as most expensive sapphire ever sold. Proceeds will help to maintain the historic home for years to come.

James J. Hill built the Great Northern railway, along with the Northern Pacific railway and is reported to have been one of the richest men in America of his century. He built the now famous Hill mansion at 240 Summit Avenue in St Paul, MN. The home has just undergone extensive exterior renovation and is looking reborn. The above photo was taken the first week of April 2007 by myself. Visit the Minnesota Historical Society web page for tour hours and make sure to see this historic landmark of Saint Paul.

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