It was a classic Washington, D.C. love story and one of commitment to public service. Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh loved exquisite jewelry, and her husband, John Edward Carbaugh, delighted in presenting her with the finest gems. Freeman’s is pleased to offer the single-owner jewelry collection of Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh as part of the November 4 Fine Jewelry & Watches auction. Proceeds from this sale will benefit the Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh Charitable Trust.
Born in Summit, NJ and raised in North Carolina, Mary Middleton Calhoun moved to Washington, D.C. as a young woman to pursue graduate studies at Georgetown University. Her ties to North Carolina landed her a job working for Senator Jesse Helms, and it was here that Mary met John Carbaugh, an aide to Helms. The couple would later marry and had two daughters, Charlotte and Miller. Mary was a devoted mother and volunteered in many different capacities while John went on to serve on several presidential task forces before opening his own law office. Although little known to the public, John Carbaugh had a great deal of political clout. And as a result, he and Mary attended inaugural balls and other glittering Washington parties, which became occasions for Mary to wear her collection of patriotic gems—symbolically showing “America’s colors.”
True to this family’s patriotism, the collection Freeman’s will be offering at auction in November boasts many great American jewelry makers. A few highlights include impressive, heavily diamond-accented brooches by Tiffany & Co.; significant gold necklaces and bracelets by Black, Starr & Frost as well as Hammerman Brothers; and a lovely tourmaline and pearl pin by Marcus & Co.
Mary’s daughters Miller and Charlotte fondly recall that their mother appreciated pieces of the highest quality and craftsmanship. "She was very discerning and loved the design of beautiful pieces. Although we were very young, Mom would always ask if we thought the piece was pretty," said Miller. Mary so cherished her jewelry that she wore it often. Getting dressed for church on Sundays, she would go down to the safe to retrieve a pin or a bracelet, choosing a different one each week. “Someone would always compliment her on it,” continued Miller, “She just had such a classic sense of style.”
The life and work of one American—entwined with the Washington political and social scene of our not too distant past—will come together in the items offered through Freeman’s and assist in furthering the social causes that meant a great deal to Mary Carbaugh and her family. “The giving and receiving of jewelry in our family was special, and it created fond memories for us. These memories are a blessing. Our hope is that the charitable trust, created in memory of our mother, will a blessing for others and reach the needs in our communities and beyond,” said Miller Carbaugh.
Private Preview Events & Public Exhibitions for The Collection of Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh:
Royal Opera Arcade, London: September 9-13
Washington, DC : October 9
New York, NY : October 16
Wayne, PA : October 24-16
Philadelphia, PA : October 31-November 4
Highlights from The Collection of Mary Middleton Calhoun Carbaugh:
- Lot 70: Lady’s Art Deco Platinum and Diamond Bracelet $25,000-35,000
- Lot 19: Lady’s platinum 10.00 carat natural Burmese sapphire and diamond dinner ring $12,000-18,000
- Lot 73: Impressive platinum, yellow gold, diamond and emerald brooch, Tiffany & Co. $18,000-22, 000
- Lot 4: Lady’s 18 karat yellow gold and pearl diamond earrings, Bvlgari $7,000-9,000