Los Angeles—The spring auction of Entertainment Memorabilia including Animation Art at Bonhams, May 5 in Los Angeles, realized a successful sales result of $949,638, led by property from the Estate of comedian, actor and entertainer Milton Berle.
The auction's star lots included Berle's literary archive, featuring scripts from his more than 85 years in show business, which sold for $158,500 (est. $100,000-150,000) and his carefully-curated private "joke file," which brought $64,900 (est. $10,000-15,000). A John F. Kennedy signed and inscribed photograph to Berle, and a Tiffany & Co. sterling silver humidor gifted to Berle by Mike Todd, Jr., each realized $5,250, while a 74-volume custom bound set of more of his working scripts claimed $8,125 (est. $5,000-7,000).
Property from the Estate of actor Larry Hagman, best known for portraying J.R. Ewing on the classic soap opera Dallas, also sold very well in the auction. A custom Bohlin "J.R." belt buckle, made of silver and 10kt gold and decorated with rubies, that was recently featured on the 2013 season finale of TNT's Dallas, sold for $18,750 (est. $3,000-5,000); his director's chair brought $16,875 (est. $2,500-3,500); and a portrait of Larry Hagman by Oenone Acheson took in $5,000 (est. $1,500-2,000).
Catherine Williamson, Director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams, commented, "The success of the Milton Berle and Larry Hagman estates tells us that television memorabilia is as collectible as any other discipline within the memorabilia market. We were especially pleased that Berle's remarkable literary archive--the product of his relentless effort to preserve the American comic literary tradition--sold so well."
Notable items relating to Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack included property from the Estate of Nathan "Sonny" Golden, Sinatra's longtime business manager. From Golden's collection was an original oil painting by Sinatra, depicting Earth from space, which sold for $16,250. Also of note: a patinated bronze bust of Frank Sinatra by Robert Berk sold for $6,875 (est. $600-800); a group of Sammy Davis Jr. scripts brought $6,875 (est. $500-700); and a Sammy Davis Jr.-owned desk claimed $5,000 (est. $300-500).
Items relating to Marilyn Monroe included a class photograph from Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School, featuring a 15-year-old Monroe, inscribed and signed by her to a classmate, sold for $8,750; a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, inscribed by the actress, that brought $5,250 (est. $3,000-5,000); and a handwritten working arranger's score from "I Wanna Be Loved by You," memorably sung by Monroe in Some Like It Hot, that took in $3,125 (est. $800-1,200).
Music memorabilia was highlighted by an Eric Clapton Signature "Crossroads" Fender Stratocaster and '57 Twin Amp, which sold for $16,250 (est. $10,000-15,000); a Cole Porter William Knabe & Co. piano, which took in $16,250; and an original painting by Frank Zappa, which brought $13,750 (est. $5,000-7,000).
The auction also featured material relating to some of the most influential directors of the 20th century, including a 16mm Éclair NPR camera used by George Lucas, which brought $13,750 (est. $5,000-7,000); a viewfinder used by Francis Ford Coppola during the filming of Apocalypse Now, which sold for $6,875 (est. $1,000-1,500); and a collection of letters and a photograph by Stanley Kubrick, which claimed $5,625. Highlights of the auction also included a pair of Mt. Sinai granite tablets from Paramount's The Ten Commandments, 1956, which sold for $60,000 (est. 30,000-50,000) and a gold cigarette case gifted by Barbara Stanwyck to Robert Taylor, which brought $10,625 (est. $6,000-8,000).
Bonhams is pleased to announce its next auction of Entertainment Memorabilia, curated by Turner Classic Movies, which will be held November 25 in New York. For more information, please visit www.bonhams.com.
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