A story she told us that I have been able to verify was about the Cartier Building in New York City. Apparently the building was owned by a 61 year old man named Morton Freeman Plant who had a 31 year old 2nd wife. Divorcee Mae 'Maisie' Caldwell Manwaring (who went on to have two further husbands) liked Cartier jewellery. Pierre Cartier was looking for a new store and since the Plants were concerned about the commercialisation of their area, they sold their home to Cartier - for $100 and a double strand of natural pearls, valued at $1 million in 1917. Development of cultured pearls greatly reduced the value of natural pearls.
|This is from Wikipedia, but I found it originally on this fabulous blog that has a million incredible stories:|
Daytonian in Manhattan
According to Two Nerdy History Girls, another blog I already know and love as well (which tells me this stuff is right up my alley!), that $1 million would be worth about $16 million today. They also managed to find a photo of Mae Caldwell Manwaring, and presumably of these pearls.
Just at a glance, a 2 bedroom 1550 square foot 'coop' - I'm guessing that might be an apartment - maybe three blocks away from Cartier in New York City (though I'm not familiar with the geography, but bear with me) is on sale as I write for $5,975,000 - nearly $6 million. Maisie died in 1957 and the next year her million dollar ($16 million) necklace was so devalued that it auctioned for only $150,000...which in today's dollars might be worth about $1,276,000. The Nerdy Girls obviously used a different calculator than I found, because mine says it should have been worth $20 million.
Whatever the details, Cartier made a brilliant deal, don't you think?