An Ohio movie poster collector is selling his collection of posters.
No big deal? Not if you’re talking about Morris Everett, Jr., who claims to own the largest collection of lobby cards and movie posters in the world. Over the past few decades Everett acquired nearly 200,000 of these items reflecting nearly every movie ever made. In December, auction house Profiles in History is auctioning the entire collection as one lot. One private collector or institution will amass a collection that includes not only rare posters, but the only known specimens of certain movie ephemera, such as the only known remaining lobby card for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
According to the auction house, the lot of 196,000 pieces of film art reflecting 44,000 movies since 1907 is expected to fetch a minimum of $6 to $8 million.
The history of cinema is represented in Everett’s collection, in addition to the history of fashion and design. Advertising agencies and aspiring designers would be wise to download copies of the online catalog and galleries for a future photo reference. A collection like this doesn’t come around often, and a chronicle so interesting is something sure to give anyone hours of mesmerized gazing and gawking.
It’s the second time TCM and auction house Bonhams have teamed up to offer screen-used and production-made costumes, props, and other relics from the Golden Age of Hollywood. A November auction, TCM Presents: There’s No Place Like Hollywood, will feature a large private collection of rare items from Casablanca, including the piano featured prominently in the film where Sam plays “As Time Goes By.” A lesser seen piano from another scene in the film sold in 2012 for more than $600,000.
One lot features a mannequin display with costume components worn by Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, said to have been used in several scenes in the film. Many of the costumes and props appear to be the same lots that have been featured in other auctions in the last few years, including various dresses from the Debbie Reynolds collection of items offered by auction house Profiles in History.
Costumes from several classic films are on the auction block, including a Clark Gable jacket from Gone With the Wind, Marilyn Monroe’s saloon gown from River of No Return, Jimmy Stewart’s Charles Lindbergh flight suit from The Spirit of St. Louis, Faye Dunaway’s dress from The Towering Inferno, a Jane Russell costume from The Outlaw, and a John Wayne Union Army coat from Rio Lobo and The Undefeated. Sci-fi and fantasy fans aren’t forgotten in the TCM auction, as there will be costumes worn by Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell in Planet of the Apes, a background crewmember astronaut jumpsuit from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a test dress for Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and a Saruman staff and Aragorn sword from The Lord of the Rings films, both from Sir Christopher Lee’s personal collection.
We previewed this week’s Julien’s auction here at borg.com last month. It could go down as the best auction of The Lord of the Rings props and costumes ever sold at auction simply from four of its offerings and it may be the only chance this decade to get your hands on props from the Academy Award winning films. Called “The Trilogy Collection–Props and Costumes from Middle-Earth,” Julien’s is offering several items on the auction block this Thursday, December 5, 2013.
The key items being auctioned belong to a group of screen-used props that were given away as part of a Hasbro Toys/New Line Cinema contest to promote the release of the third LOTR installment, the 2003 Academy Award winning best picture The Return of the King. Described as “one of eight main character props used heavily in The Lord of the Rings,” look for Aragorn’s sword, Frodo’s “Sting” sword, Eowyn’s sword, and Gimli’s battle axe, each expected to fetch prices ranging from $30,000 to $70,000, with Frodo’s sword expected to sell between $100,000 and $150,000.
It’s a strange coincidence that 50 years after the death of President John F. Kennedy a controversy has surfaced involving a Superman comic book, President Kennedy, and original comic book art. The controversy involves the original artist, Heritage Auctions, and an agreement made just after Kennedy’s death.
Heritage Auctions had initially planned to auction 10 pages of original artwork from Superman Issue #170 today in conjunction with the anniversary of the President’s assassination (along with several Dave Gibbons original cover art pages for Watchmen). The auction house agreed to pull the lot in light of a lawsuit brought by 91-year-old artist Al Plastino, who claims that the original art was to be gifted to Boston’s Kennedy Library by DC Comics decades ago.
The Superman comic book, which featured the story “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” has its own interesting history. Plastino was working on the Kennedy story art the day Kennedy died, and the project was halted until DC Comics got permission to issue the story to honor President Kennedy, authorized by President Lyndon Johnson himself. The story involves Kennedy enlisting Superman in his initiative to get America’s youth physically fit. It includes a full-page drawing of Superman waving to an image of Kennedy above the U.S. Capitol–the art that was to be sold at auction today. The story was finally published in July 1964 with a note on its last page announcing the original art would be donated to the JFK Memorial Library at Harvard University.
It could go down as the best auction of The Lord of the Rings props and costumes ever sold at auction simply from four of its offerings. Called “The Trilogy Collection–Props and Costumes from Middle-Earth,” Julien’s is offering several items on the auction block next month. The key items being auctioned belong to a group of screen-used props that were given away as part of a Hasbro Toys/New Line Cinema contest to promote the release of the third LOTR installment, the 2003 Academy Award winning best picture The Return of the King. Described as “one of eight main character props used heavily in The Lord of the Rings,” look for Aragorn’s sword, Frodo’s “Sting” sword, Eowyn’s sword, and Gimli’s battle axe, each expected to fetch prices ranging from $30,000 to $70,000, with Frodo’s sword expected to sell between $100,000 and $150,000. These four pieces are the true headliners of the Julien’s auction, and by themselves would make for a great auction. Although it raises the questions: Why didn’t these props get dispersed to fans in the sweepstakes, and if they were given away how did four of the props end up in the same place?
It’s because collector Troika Brodsky is selling his collection of four of the sweepstakes prizes he tracked down and bought from prizewinners discussed here. He refers to the Frodo sword in the linked article as a stunt prop, based on wear and damage. An interview about his entire collection being auctioned can be found here.
By C.J. Bunce
American Graffiti. Just two weeks ago the George Lucas classic coming of age film about high school graduates in 1962 came back for the first national release in movie theaters in decades (we discussed it here at borg.com). In a series of interconnected vignettes Lucas gave us a snapshot of kids and cars and cruising culture, popular then and now. American Graffiti wasn’t the original title, and, as the story goes, the film’s backers had no idea what the title meant, but it was better than Another Quiet Night in Modesto or other proposals so they just went with it. No graffiti actually plays into the plot, and the viewer can conceive his or her own meaning to this now classic movie title.
Graffiti as pop art? Actual graffiti in America, in many ways hasn’t changed a lot, and it doesn’t share the same feelings of nostalgia as the eponymous film. A form of vandalism, its very nature is something covert, rebellious and illegal. Spray paint is the medium and the canvas is anything and everything from highway overpasses to train cars to building walls. The stealth required gives the creator a challenge–maybe even the adrenaline rush that fuels some that are behind it. Over the years the costs to city governments to wash or sand or scrub off graffiti prompted many cities to work with local graffiti artists–designating projects and mural locations where local creators could show off their creativity. It’s a constructive bridging of law and order and a radical form of expression.
A freshly cleaned up butter cow at the 2013 Iowa State Fair.
If you’ve any doubt which is more popular and influential–Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, or Alan Moore’s Watchmen–a coming original comic art auction may end the discussion once and for all. Heritage Auctions is auctioning the cover to The Dark Knight Returns Issue #2, with pencils and inks by Frank Miller. Only slightly less iconic than the stunning cover to Issue #1, the cover to Issue #2 took the world by storm, showing the classic superhero like he had never been seen before, not as heroic and stoic, but as grim and mean.
Back in February 2013 Heritage began to auction off the 1986 original art to all but one of twelve covers to Watchmen by Dave Gibbons. The cover to Issue #1 fetched $155,350, Issue #2 sold for $38,837.50 and Issue #3 sold for $22,705.00. Heritage’s magazine said the other covers will be sold in a coming auction. However, in May 2011 an interior splash page of The Dark Knight Returns–Issue #3, page 10–also from 1986, sold for a whopping $448,125, as we reported here at borg.com. That said, that page (shown below) was simply stunning. Personally, this reader would rather have the interior page on the office wall than the Issue #2 cover, but cover art is cover art and interior art is interior art–covers sell for big bucks compared to interior pages. And the cover to Issue #2 is arguably the defining image of the new grim Batman of the 1980s that survives to this day in the dozen+ monthly comic book titles and Christopher Nolan’s grim movie trilogy.
Issue 3, Page 10 original Frank Miller/Klaus Janson splash page art that sold for almost a half-million dollars at auction in May 2011.
Heritage Auctions publishes a print version of a collectibles magazine called Heritage Magazine for The Intelligent Collector. Each issue presents several collectors and their different collecting interests, including interviews with celebrity collectors like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Whoopi Goldberg. Issues also highlight key items sold in past and future Heritage Auctions. One issue previewed a superb collection of John Wayne memorabilia sold off by his estate. The photo quality is beautiful and it’s a fun magazine to read, especially about areas of collecting that you’re not necessarily interested in. It’s a bit like watching Antiques Roadshow on Public Television. Subscriptions are $21 for 3 issues and the magazine is published three times per year.
This month’s print edition features a pull-out poster of Dave Gibbons’ original comic art cover pages for the original Watchmen series and a who’s who of the best comic book creators of all time.
This weekend the Batmobile from the original 1960s Batman series sold at auction for a whopping $4.62 million by the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company.
The original Batmobile began as a unique 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car built in Italy by Ford Motor Company, which was heavily modified by legendary customizer and car creator George Barris to become the original 1966 Batmobile in both the live action TV series, and the movie adaptation starring Adam West and Burt Ward. George Barris reportedly bought the 1955 car for $1 back in 1966 and spent $15,000 in 15 days creating the final look for the car. The Batmobile has a V-8 engine and functional instruments in the steering wheel, as well as a push-button transmission. Barris owned the car all these years, touring the car at conventions, and finally decided to let the car go in this weekend’s auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Rick Champagne, a Phoenix-area logistics company owner, placed the winning bid, saying he “really liked Batman growing up”.
James Bond memorabilia auctioned off by Christie’s auction house yielded $2.6 million on October 5 and continuing online through October 8, 2012–“Global James Bond Day”–in an invitation-only charity event commemorating the British spy’s 50th anniversary on the silver screen and the release next month of the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall. The auction took place at Christie’s auction house in London, and was attended by former Bond Roger Moore and the current M, Dame Judi Dench. Bidders from more than forty countries also participated in online bidding. At only 52 lots, a small number for a major entertainment or franchise auction, it was a pretty big haul. Some high-end prop and costume buyers were in 007 heaven. The catalog, available for download here, is one of the best film auction catalogs to date, and features at least one piece of screenused costumes, props, or rare books or marketing material from each Bond film.