Melissa Rivers Opens Up About Auctioning off Mom Joan's Belongings: 'She Was Always Adamant That Your Things Should Be Used and Loved'

Joan Rivers' personal items are available for auction at Christie's June 16

Photo: Spencer Heyfron

Nearly two years have passed since Joan Riversunexpected death, and now her daughter Melissa is sharing her mom’s most private possessions with the world.

“She was always adamant that even your finest things should be used and loved and not just in the bank vault or storage,” Melissa tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue.

The collection includes everything from the legendary comedian’s coveted jewelry to furniture and floor-length gowns, all available at Christie’s in New York City June 16 23, with some proceeds benefiting charity.

Though it was always Joan’s wish to share her belongings with people, the process wasn’t easy for Melissa, 48.

“At first I said, ‘I’m not getting rid of anything. I’m keeping everything!’ ” she says. “But little by little you start to weed through it. Now I want someone else to love her things and enjoy them.”

For more on Melissa Rivers, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday – and tune into PEOPLE’s List this Saturday at 8p.m. ET on ABC!

Melissa hand-selected each item up for sale, but says many things will always stay within the family. Among them: heirlooms, art and the “good dishes” – but also personal items.

“I kept her toothbrush cup. I kept the stuff from her night table. I kept the stuff from the side of her bathtub. I kept strange things like that,” she says.

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