NEW YORK - Bonhams special auction of legendary Hollywood memorabilia held on November 25, the inaugural effort from the dynamic partnership between Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM), was a rousing success, delighting film fans worldwide. "What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century Of Movie Magic At Auction, As Curated By Turner Classic Movies," showcased 100 years of legendary props, groundbreaking scripts, iconic costumes, and exceptional posters. Signature pieces from the Silent Era, the Golden Age and the Modern Blockbuster were all enthusiastically received. Bonhams and TCM are looking to build on their success with a second major sale of classic movie memorabilia in the future.
"The response to the 'What Dreams Are Made Of' auction has been truly extraordinary," said Dennis Adamovich, senior vice president of digital, affiliate, lifestyle and enterprise commerce for TCM, TBS and TNT. "Through TCM's partnership with the international fine art auction house Bonhams, we've been able to help bring collectors the maximum value for their cinematic treasures. Our curation of this event is a perfect example of TCM's nearly 20-year commitment to telling the stories behind the movies we love and celebrating the people who made them."
Hundreds of bidders from more than a dozen countries participated in the auction. The salesroom was filled with eager attendees while international interest came through on the phones and live online. The auction totaled nearly $6,000,000, and was 91% sold by value.
The sale's top lot was the heralded Maltese Falcon, the lead statuette from John Huston's triumphant film noir of the same name. Expectations for the unparalleled piece were high prior to the sale, which yielded historic results: the remarkable bird brought $4,085,000, setting a world record price for a movie prop at auction.
Memorabilia related to the classic romance Casablanca also wowed the crowd. The 1940 Buick Phaeton featured in the film's dramatic final scene realised $461,000, while a superb 1942 poster for the film doubled its estimate to sell for $20,000. A working copy of producer Hal Willis' shooting script for the film, complete with fascinating marginalia, proved to be the real star: the script sold for a stunning $68,750, more than six times its pre-sale estimate.
Eager collectors paid top dollar for many of the important scripts on offer. A third revised final draft of the screenplay for Citizen Kane was a runaway success, selling for more than 20 times its estimate to achieve $35,000. A rare pre-production draft of Noel Langley's screenplay for The Wizard of Oz brought $10,000 while Francis Ford Coppola's working copy of the screenplay for The Godfather sold for $22,500. A group of seven manuscripts, various draughts of the synopsis and screenplay of Gone With the Wind, realised $27,500.
Also from Gone with the Wind, memorabilia related to the glamorous Vivien Leigh enchanted bidders. A Vivien Leigh photograph owned by fellow Gone with the Wind actress Hattie McDaniel, and apparently displayed in McDaniel's home, brought $5,625. It was one of many items from the Estate of Hattie McDaniel featured in the auction. Leigh's negligee from the film, internationally lauded prior to the auction, sold for $56,250. The trend continued with a Vivien Leigh coat from Waterloo Bridge that realised $27,500, more than nine times its estimate.
Additional notable costumes from the sale included an Audrey Hepburn Givenchy hat from Funny Face that quadrupled its estimate to reach $87,500, and a Nautilus Diver's Helmet from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that sold for $81,250. A pair of Western Costume replica Ruby Slippers, made from the original mould, more than doubled their pre-sale estimate to bring $35,000, the same price achieved for a tiara and earrings worn by silent film star Theda Bara in the lavish Cleopatra.
"The auction was a tremendous success across categories," summarised Dr Catherine Williamson, Bonhams Director of Entertainment Memorabilia. "We attracted some of the world's top collectors, and set world records. At the same time, through our partnership with TCM, we were able to reach true cinema fans who never realised they could own these pieces of Hollywood history. I am especially proud to have placed so many pieces of memorabilia in new homes were they will be truly treasured."
Complete results for "What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic At Auction As Curated By Turner Classic Movies" are available at www.bonhams.com/auctions/21427
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com