Brooke Astor's Trophies: 'Queen of New York's' Fortune

Brooke AstorCourtesy
Legendary philanthropist Brooke Astor focused on giving back to New York City-based charities in the place where the Astors made their fortune.

In New York City, Brooke Astor, was an icon, the epitome of high society and a respected philanthropist. Inheriting her husband's $120 million fortune, she was called by some the "Queen of New York," and the Grand Dame, defining elegance, style and generosity. She died at 105 in August 2007.

Brooke Astor's only son, Anthony Marshall, 85, was convicted on 14 criminal counts of fraud, conspiracy and grand larceny for looting his mother's fortune and tricking his tricking her into changing her will while she was incompetent and suffering from Alzheimer's. He could spend a minimum of one year and up to 25 in prison. Estate lawyer Francis Morrissey was found guilty on all six counts of conspiracy, scheming to defraud and forgery.

But before the Astor name made headlines for charges of elder abuse and fraud, here's a look at Brooke Astor's estate.

Astor's Trophies

Cove End: Brooke Astor's estate in northeast Harbor Maine. Featured in architectural digest, the retreat was a place where the New York City socialite would spend the summer and indulge her love of nature. A small town scandal would erupt here when Astor's son Anthony Marshall fell in love with the local minister's wife, Charlene Gilbert. Anthony and Charlene married in 1992.

Holly Hill: Astor's beloved country house in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. The 64.6 acre Westchester County estate totaled more than 10,000 square feet, including 24 rooms, 13 bedrooms and indoor and outdoor pools (below right); it was also known for its luxurious gardens.

Holly Hill was managed by Astor's friend and butler Chris Ely until Anthony and Charlene Marshall closed down the home in January 2005, presumably to cut down on costs. The suburban retreat was later re-opened and was the place where Astor died at age 105. The estate is currently on sale for $12.9 million.

778 Park Avenue: Astor's Upper East Side Park Avenue apartment was the main residence of the New York aristocrat. The property, which occupies the entire 16th and most of the 15th floors, has 14 rooms, six terraces, five fireplaces, five bedrooms and 4.5 baths. With prestigious friends, the ranks of which included the Reagans, the Kissingers, the De la Rentas and ABC News anchor Barbara Walters, her apartment was the place to be seen.

"If Brooke Astor came to your house for dinner that was a very big compliment ... And if you were invited to her house it was even a bigger compliment," said Walters.

The apartment is currently on the market for $24.9 million.

The Painting: Childe Hassam's "Up the Avenue from 34th St., May 1917" was one of Astor's most valuable and prized paintings, prominently adorning the walls of the library in her Park Avenue apartment. She had often said she planned to donate it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But it was suddenly sold in 2002.

"I walked in one day, and I mean, the first thing I saw on the library wall was a gap," her nephew Lord William Astor told ABC News. "I said, 'Brooke, what on earth has happened to it.' And she said, 'Oh, Tony sold it for me. He said I needed the money.' And I was kind of shocked."

Anthony Marshall sold the painting for $10 million, allegedly keeping a $2 million commission for himself. On Thursday, a jury found Marshall not guilty on charges of larceny, relating to the controversial sale of the painting.

Astor's Prized Jewelry

Snowflake Necklace: Astor was known for a magnificent jewelry collection. When Charlene Marshall, who had a strained relationship with her mother-in-law, wore the socialite's prized 367 diamond "Snowflake Necklace" to the 2003 Tony awards, it sparked a firestorm of criticism in New York social circles. This was the same necklace that Brooke Astor marked for Charlene to get in her will in 2002.

This 33 carat gold necklace and earrings covered with 528 diamonds were given as a gift by Astor to close friend Annette de la Renta. They're valued at approximately $80,000.