Hollywood film memorabilia that auctioned for whopping amounts

Apr 19, 2015, 07:55 IST | Nikshubha Garg

From Marilyn Monroe’s flowing white gown to the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, film memorabilia has gone under the hammer for astronomical amounts

Last month, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bought the Aries 1B Trans-Lunar Space Shuttle from 2001: A Space Odyssey at an auction for 3,44,000 dollars for it to be a part of a museum. According to the auction house, the space shuttle is valuable because it is one of the few props left from the 1968 film. Director Stanley Kubrick reportedly destroyed almost all props, sets, models and costumes so that they could not be used in other productions. Celeb accessories or costumes are known to garner a huge sum whenever sold. We take a look at the most expensive memorabilia that went under the hammer for big bids:

Judy Garland’s The Wizard of Oz Dress and ruby Slippers
In any world, jewels are more expensive than clothes. But the world of auctions will leave you surprised. Judy Garland’s ‘humble’ blue and white dress fetched 11,19,300 dollars at the auctions in 2011 whereas her ruby slippers were auctioned for 6, 27,300 dollars.

According to Catherine Williamson, head of entertainment at a popular suction house, “The makers tested several variants before finalising the one we see in the film. The dress played an important part in making Dorothy what she is today.”

James Bond Lotus Esprit Submarine
Who wouldn’t like the idea of owning a James Bond-driven submarine car? The Lotus Esprit submarine featured in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and was sold at auction for 8,60,000 dollars Tesla CEO and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. Musk said, “It was amazing as a little kid in South Africa to watch James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me drive his Lotus Esprit off a pier, press a button and have it transform into a submarine underwater. I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform.”

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's subway dress
Almost everything that Monroe wore was a style statement. Hence, her dresses being auctioned at a high price comes as no surprise. The actresses’ white flowing gown she wore in The Seven Year Itch (1955) was sold at an auction for 4.6 million dollars. The dress designed by William Travolta was the highlight amongst other 3500 pieces and was expected to fetch 1-2million dollars.

Blade Runner gun

Blade Runner gun
The gun, which was the perfect accessory for the macho Harrison Ford made news for it’s futuristic looks when the Blade Runner released in 1982. Termed as the “holy-grail” of sci-fi weapons, the blaster gun that helped the actor kill futuristic humanoids in the film was initially estimated to fetch between 1,00,000 dollars and 1,50,000 dollars when auctioned. However, the gun raked in a staggering 2,70,000 dollars. Sometimes, accessories are as important as the actors.

Gone with the wind, Best Picture Oscar

Gone with the wind, Best Picture Oscar
Back in 1999, the Gone with the Wind Best Picture Oscar was sold to Michael Jackson for 1.54 million dollars. Surprising, not because the Oscar was sold at a high price but the fact that the King of Pop bought it. He always claimed to be a huge ET fan and though the film won four Oscars never thought of buying any of them.

The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon
This 1941 crime drama comprised Humprey Bogart, Mary Astor and Peter Lorre in lead roles and revolved around Bogart’s quest for a bejeweled Maltese falcon. The statue, which was owned by a California collector— who acquired it in a private sale in the 1980s — was sold at an auction in New York to an undisclosed buyer for a whopping 4,85,000 dollars. Considering that the entire film was made on a budget of 3,75,000 dollars, the “black figure of a bird” turned out to be quite a hero.  

Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress
Though a lot of dresses worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s are worth admiring, a black Givenchy gown has secured a place in history. The dress was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder for 9,23,187 dollars. For the movie, three of these magnificent black dresses were tailored and are now on display at various institutions. One can be found in the Givenchy archives in Paris, while another is on display at the Museum of Costume in Madrid, Spain.

Metropolis poster

Metropolis poster
Believed to be just one of the four in existence, the Metropolis poster raked in 1.2 million dollars at a 2012 auction. What's more is that bundled with the rare international version of the poster were posters from King Kong, The Invisible Man and Arsenic and Old Lace, as well as the original painting of Elvis Presley used for the Jailhouse Rock poster and several other pieces of memorabilia. East Coast collector and dealer Ralph DeLuca bought the poster. As they say, when it rains, it pours.

Star Wars camera and light saber
For a film like Star Wars, you would expect a light saber or a wampa suit gaining more popularity than a camera that is used to film scenes of a film. However, the fact is that the Panavision PSR 35mm camera used to film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) was sold in 2011 to an undisclosed buyer for 6,25,000 dollars - more than three times its 2,00,000 dollars estimate. And yes, the camera still worked.

The light saber, on the other hand, raked in 2,40,000 dollars. The lead actor Luke Skywalker used in it in Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Reportedly, the light saber was fabricated using an old photography flashgun.

Aston Martin Goldfinger
If we do not consider Sean Connery in Goldfinger (1964), the next thing that most people in the audience definitely remember drooling over is the car he drove. Well, that good looker (read: the car) was an Aston Martin DB5.

In October 2010 the car was sold at an auction for 4.1 million dollars. The Aston Martin, which could achieve an acceleration of 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds, was heavily modified with the inclusion of an ejector seat, machine guns, rotating license plates among other things for the film.

GEN 11 Chitty car

GEN 11 Chitty car
Flying cars, a united family and an adventure. These ingredients make for a perfect family entertainer. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang came back into limelight when the flying car, designed by Ken Adams and manufactured by Alan Mann Racing was sold at an auction for 8,05,000 dollars.  If reports are to be believed, a total of six such cars were produced for the filming of the movie and British stunt driver and actor Pierre Picton later acquired the original car. This luxury vintage car was expected to fetch anywhere between 1 million and 2 million dollars.

Go to top