Antique & Estate Jewelry / Sales

The Extraordinary Creations of Sidney Mobell Head to Auction


The world looked different through the eyes of the late American artist, jeweler, and philanthropist Sidney Mobell. A Monopoly board wasn’t just a Monopoly board—it was 23k gold-plated with matching dice and metallic money (and was named the world’s most expensive Monopoly game by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1998). A slot machine wasn’t just a slot machine—it was a 24k gem-studded work of art, complete with matching American Liberty Head coins. Even a toilet seat wasn’t just a toilet seat; it was yet another everyday object made exceptional, finished in gold and set with gemstones.

Sidney Mobell Monopoly board
Sidney Mobell and his 23k gold-plated Monopoly game (including board, dice, tokens, cards, hotels, houses, dice cup, and play money printed in metallic paper), estimate $3,000–$5,000

Mobell had a knack for making the ordinary extraordinary, and now his personal collection—including some of his most notable designs—is heading to auction. Hosted by Bonhams in Los Angeles, the 60-lot single-owner sale is set to take place June 9–20, with the slot machine leading it in estimated value.

Sidney Mobell slot machine
Slot machine (circa 1981, redecorated from a 1925 machine) in 24k gold with 141.59 cts. t.w. sapphires, 106.5 cts. t.w. rubies, 4.8 cts. t.w. emeralds, and diamonds, accompanied by gold-plated American Liberty Head coins, estimate $20,000–$30,000

“The collection is not only playful, with jewel-encrusted everyday objects, it also encompasses some fine jewelry, much of which belonged to Mobell’s wife, Ronni Grant Mobell,” said Bonhams’ director of jewelry department in Los Angeles, Emily Waterfall, in a statement. “The collection heading to auction sums up Mobell, who was readily quoted saying if he was going to be in business, then he would have to do something different than all the other jewelers. This was something he achieved with his imagination and craftsmanship, creating showstopping items, and it is unsurprising that several of his works are housed in the Smithsonian.” Sidney Mobell mousetrap

Interactive mousetrap (circa 1975) in bicolor 14k gold and white gold cheese wedge with 1.5 cts. t.w. round diamonds, estimate $5,000–$7,000

Top: Gumball machine (circa 1984) plated in 24k gold with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and amethysts, estimate $3,000–$5,000 (photos courtesy of Bonhams)

Follow me on Instagram: @anniedavidsonwatson

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine

By: Annie Davidson Watson

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out