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Golden-era Oscars sold for $3m at auction

Published: February 29, 2012 | 1:02 pm
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Statuettes dating from before 1950, including one of two awards for Citizen Kane, fetch high prices at auction

An auction of 15 Oscars from Hollywood’s golden era has produced record-breaking receipts of more than $3m.

The statuettes all dated prior to 1950, the year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced rules intended to prohibit the sale of Oscars. The highlight of the auction was the sale of Herman Mankiewicz’s 1941 best screenplay statuette for Citizen Kane, which went for $588,455. Orson Welles’ twin Oscar for the same prize reached $861,542 when it was sold in December: both are considered valuable because they represent the only Academy Awards won by Welles’ film, widely considered one of the greatest of all time.

Also up for grabs were How Green Was My Valley’s best picture Oscar from 1941, which went for $274,520, and Cavalcade’s 1933 gong for the same prize, which brought in $332,165. The oldest of the Oscars on sale, Skippy’s best picture statuette from 1931, fetched $301,973. Two acting statuettes, Ronald Colman’s 1947 best actor prize for A Double Life and Charles Coburn’s historic supporting award for 1943′s The More The Merrier – the first year that supporting actors were honoured with their own prize – took $206,250 and $170,459 respectively.

Auctioneer Nate D Sanders said: “People continue to be drawn to the magic of the movies and were extremely enthusiastic bidding on the Oscars, which accounted for the high demand and sales prices.”

The auction was timed to coincide with this year’s Oscars, which took place on Sunday. None of the statuettes handed out at the weekend are likely to ever find themselves on the public market, since the Academy now requires winners to sign a contract promising that they or their estates will first offer statuettes back to their original owner for $1 before placing them on sale.

Meanwhile, three days after The Help’s Viola Davis was beaten to the best actress Oscar by The Iron Lady’s Meryl Streep, there seem to be no hard feelings between the stars. Streep has reportedly donated $10,000 to a bankrupt school in Central Falls, Rhode Island, which has been one of Davis’ pet projects. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Davis had brought up the school’s struggles in a recent conversation with Streep, who is a longterm friend.


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