Published: August 2, 2022
Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy Heritage Auctions
DALLAS – Heritage Auctions conducted their Hollywood & Entertainment Signature auction on July 23, with a catalog of more than 700 screen-worn costumes, screen-used props, original posters, photography, concept art and ephemera from the last century of film history. The sell-through rate was 100 percent and the sale totaled $4,340,146.
Film memorabilia from the late Twentieth to Early Twenty-First centuries was strong in the top lots of this sale, especially in the action and adventure genres. The highest selling of these was an illuminating helmet from the original Iron Man (2008), the first of the blockbuster Avengers franchise, made to fit actor Robert Downey Jr in his portrayal of Tony Stark. The fiberglass mask, also known as “Mark III,” was used on screen and is fully functional; it even exhibits minor production wear. Its $137,500 price may have been a pittance to billionaire industrialist Stark but was a boon to Heritage and a great contribution to the sale total.
Another franchise battled for the high sales: in second place was a screen-used bladed lightsaber wielded by Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (1999), which blazed at $125,000. Another Jedi weapon also ranked in the top lots, Kenobi’s dueling lightsaber from Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones (2002) sold for $62,500. McGregor’s performance is considered a highlight of the prequel series by fans and critics alike, and his return to the Star Wars saga with this year’s Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series no doubt bolstered the bidding of these screen-used props.
The highest selling costume of the auction was that of Jack Nicholson’s Joker from Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), worn on screen and with some wear from production, the white-caked makeup on the brim of Nicholson’s hat came with the sale for $125,000. “The look achieves the bold lines and color of a classic cartoon gangster, without ever descending into campiness,” the catalog explained. “This aided Nicholson in his goal of being funny but legitimately terrifying at the same time.” The suit was joined in the top lots by another costume from a different Batman adaptation, George Clooney’s Batman & Robin (1997), which geared up at $57,500.
Next in the top sales was another Tim Burton creation, two stop-motion puppets from his 2005 animated feature The Corpse Bride that marched away together for $106,250. The puppets portray the two protagonists voiced by Burton favorites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter and included a full set of moveable eyelids. Both came from the collection of the film’s director, Mike Johnson.
Another double header of the auction was actor Hugo Weaving, whose costumes and three silicone doppelgängers were among the top lots. The first was his original and complete Guy Fawkes or “V” costume from V For Vendetta (2005), including the now-ubiquitous smiling mask, that exploded at $68,750. Second was a group lot of three life-sized stand-in figures of Weaving as the main antagonist of The Matrix franchise, Agent Smith. These three figures were used in The Matrix: Revolutions (2003) during the climatic fight scene between Weaving and Keanu Reeves’s Neo, and multiplied the bidding to $57,500.
The sale also included artifacts from early Hollywood history, including Walt Disney’s first known professional motion picture camera, sold with accompanying documents for $50,000. On the left door of the camera case is the lettering “Arabian Knights Cartoons/Rudy-Max-Hugh,” which identify some of Disney’s earliest animators who helped form Arabian Knights Cartoons after their original Laugh-O-Gram company folded. It took Disney many ventures to become the world-renowned name he is today, and objects like these are essential to that story.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. Heritage’s next Entertainment Showcase Auction is August 21. For information, www.ha.com or 214-528-3500.
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023
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