Monaco reportedly buys Grace Kelly's East Falls birthplace

Grace Kelly's birthplace at 3901 Henry Ave. in East Falls has been purchased, reportedly by her royal family in Monaco.

According to several sources, the sale of the 4,000-square-foot house -- built by John B. Kelly Sr., father of the actress-turned-princess, in the late 1920s -- closed on Sept. 23, but as of Friday a deed had not been filed in the Philadelphia Recorder of Deeds Office.

The house had been listed at $750,000 when it was removed from the market Sept. 3,  but without a recorded deed the exact sale price could not be determined. It had been priced at $1 million when it was originally listed in July.

The city's Office of Property Assessment places the market value of the property at $605,000, with taxable land (0.69 acre) at $124,148 and taxable improvement at $451,452, with $30,000 exempt improvement. 

Elfant Wissahickon Realtors in Chestnut Hill, which represented the buyer, would not confirm details beyond the fact that the house had been sold.

An email to the press office of the Principality of Monaco Thursday was acknowledged, but questions were directed to the palace, which does not have a public email address. Calls to the palace Friday did not go through.

A request for confirmation from the Embassy of Monaco in Washington, D.C., Friday was not immediately answered.

The sale was reported Thursday in the East Falls Community Council's newsletter. Council president Bill Epstein said in the newsletter that he had talked with John B. Kelly 3rd, John Sr.'s grandson, who told him the family was securing the house for the winter and planned renovations.

Emails Friday to Kelly and Epstein requesting confirmation have not yet been answered.

A check of permits filed with the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections found none for 3901 Henry Ave.

The house was sold on April 10, 1974, by John Kelly Sr.'s widow, Margaret, to Thomas J. and Janet Lawnton, who then sold it to Anthony J. and Marjorie Bamont six days later, deeds show.

Marjorie Bamont, who lived there for more than 40 years, died April 20 at age 84. In 2014, she pleaded no contest in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court to 14 counts of animal-cruelty charges for keeping multiple cats and a dog in unsanitary conditions at the house.

Before Grace Kelly became an Academy Award-winning movie star, then a princess with her marriage to Prince Rainier III in 1956, the brick Georgian house at Henry Avenue and Coulter Street was her home, completed about the time of her birth in 1929. She lived there with her parents; her brother, John B. Jr.; and her sisters, Margaret and Elizabeth.

In 1950, Grace left East Falls to pursue a modeling and acting career. Family continued to live in the house until its sale by her mother in 1974. John Kelly Sr. died in 1960, and his widow in 1990.

Princess Grace died in 1982.