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Tag Archive: Profiles in History


When you think of iconic with respect to genre films from Hollywood, what first comes to mind?  The Wizard of Oz?  Star Wars?  Jaws?  James Bond?  Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Forbidden Planet?  Planet of the Apes?  Star Trek?  Terminator?  Maybe superhero movies?

Maybe your tastes are after less of the big franchises.  Like Edward Scissorhands, Spaceballs, American Graffiti, or Power Rangers?

Costumes and props representing all of these franchises made their way to booths of auction houses showing off their lots for fans of San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend.  Just how long is too long to become transfixed at the golden birds atop the actual Lost Ark (okay, one of the actual Lost Arks seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark)?

President Joe Maddalena and prop expert Brian Chanes from Profiles in History–the biggest auction house of Hollywood entertainment memorabilia–were on hand to walk visitors through some truly iconic props and costumes featured in its next big auction.  Nearby, The Prop Store (formerly The Prop Store of London) had COO Brandon Alinger and its Los Angeles staff and some members from its London branch onsite show off select pieces from this week’s Power Rangers auction and future auctions.

Some of the finest Star Wars props and costumes are coming to auction soon, including production models, Imperial helmets–including Darth Vader–multiple lightsabers, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story costumes including one worn by Felicity Jones as the film’s heroine Jyn Erso.  A jacket purported to be one of those worn by Harrison Ford as Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back was at The Prop Store display (they expect it to sell for $1 million or more).  One of the biggest sellers will no doubt be an original series command tunic worn by William Shatner in Star Trek and a Type 2 phaser, both with good provenance.  One of the hats used in the greatest fantasy film classic, The Wizard of Oz, for the Wicked Witch played by Margaret Hamilton, will be sold by Profiles in History.  And a full supersuit worn by Christopher Reeve in the original Superman films will be auctioned by Prop Store.

A weapon used by Leslie Nielsen in Forbidden Planet, Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands outfit, a full-sized Terminator, props from Spaceballs, an Indiana Jones fedora, a director’s clapperboard from Jaws, a license plate with a familiar number from American Graffiti, a special effects doll used for James Bond in For Your Eyes Only, an original ape costume from Planet of the Apes, and an original Spider-man supersuit.  They are all coming up for auction soon.  Check out these photos from the Prop Store and Profiles in History booths:

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Back in September here at borg.com we predicted the November Bonhams auction of Robby the Robot and his “space chariot” from the 1956 science fiction classic Forbidden Planet would hit the $1 million mark and we even entertained the possibility of a $10 million sale.  Yesterday the hammer fell at $4.5 million at Bonham’s “Out of this World” auction of entertainment memorabilia and with the addition of a buyer’s premium resulting in a final sale price of $5,375,000, Robby and his car became the highest movie prop lot ever to sell at public auction.  Technically a costume that doubled as a prop, Robby the Robot also became the second highest sale price for any piece of entertainment memorabilia to sell at public auction, eclipsed only by the 2011 sale by auction house Profiles in History of the iconic Marilyn Monroe subway vent dress from The Seven Year Itch, which sold for $5.52 million including buyer’s premium (yesterday Bonhams and the mainstream press, including The New York Times and CBS, mistakenly claimed Robby’s sale surpassed the Monroe dress price, but their reports neglected to factor in the buyer’s premium for the dress–a fee the auction house charges bidders based on a percentage of the hammer price, and the Monroe dress had a hammer price of $4.6 million).  The Robby the Robot costume/prop was used in dozens if not hundreds of appearances over the decades, including in key episodes of Lost in Space and The Twilight Zone.

Still, top prop honors is nothing to sneeze at.  The sale of Robby and his car nudged from the top spot the sale of the 1966 Batmobile from the 1960s television series, which sold for $4.62 million in 2013, including buyer’s premium.  The rest of the pantheon of prime public auction screen-used prop and costume sales includes one of two original James Bond Aston Martins from Goldfinger ($4.6085 million/2010), one of the falcon props from The Maltese Falcon ($4.085 million/2013), Audrey Hepburn My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany’s dresses ($3.7 million/2011 and $807,000/2006, respectively), Sam’s piano from Casablanca ($3.4 million/2014), the Cowardly Lion suit from The Wizard of Oz ($3.1 million/2014), Von Trapp kids’ costumes from The Sound of Music ($1.5 million/2013), Steve McQueen’s racing suit from LeMans ($984,000/2011), and one of four pairs of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz ($666,000/2000).

In the science fiction genre, the artifact to beat was another robot–an R2-D2 that was pieced together from several screen-used components, which sold this past June for $2.76 million, and a Back to the Future III DeLorean time machine sold for $541,000 in 2011.  Robby easily nudged these props aside yesterday.  Would the sale price have been the same without the space car?  You’ll need to track down the anonymous telephone buyer to get the answer to that question (the four final bidders all dueled it out via phone bids), although you might keep an eye out at Paul Allen’s Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, as this is the kind of high-end prop he has purchased in the past.

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As with Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit franchise, George Lucas and Lucasfilm have rarely let screen-used props and costumes out of their own personal or corporate collections.  From time to time costume components retained by production staff members or third-party contributors to the productions have surfaced at private auction, mainly parts of costumes including Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets, various weapons including like blasters and lightsabers, and model ship filming miniatures.  But never before has an entire Star Wars character found its way to auction, and one of the most iconic pieces in the history of film at that.  So when a beautiful, full-sized R2-D2 hit the auction block yesterday, deep-pocket bidders took notice.  In an exciting back and forth of increasing bids in $100,000 increments, it seemed the bids for R2-D2 wouldn’t end.  In less than 3 minutes the hammer stopped at $2.3 million for a total sale price (after factoring a 20% buyer’s fee) of $2.76 million.  This was not only the first private Star Wars sale to eclipse seven figures, it is the highest known price paid in public auction for a piece of Star Wars film history (a Panavision movie camera used by Lucas to film the original Star Wars sold previously for $625,000, the filming miniature model of the Rebel Blockade Runner spaceship from the opening scene of the original Star Wars sold for $465,000, and a miniature filming model of a TIE Fighter sold for more than $400,000).

Like many props in the film industry, this R2-D2, made of aluminum, steel, and fiberglass parts, was pieced together from many parts that had been used, retired, and refurbished throughout the Star Wars films.  According to auction house Profiles in History, who handled the sale yesterday at its offices in Calabasas, California, the anonymous seller sourced the many robotic components together over several years.  And, indeed, Profiles in History has demonstrated via photographic evidence the R2-D2 can be screen-matched via its individual components to screen use in each film of the original trilogy (1977-1983) and the first two prequel films (1999-2002).  After several weeks of publicity for the auction, the ownership of the restored R2 unit and its sale at this auction was not disputed, and so the bidding got underway at approximately noon Pacific time yesterday.

Profiles in History staff taking phone bids during the auction said there was no time to celebrate the success of the R2-D2 during the auction–even after three days of the auction more than 500 lots remained to be bid on following the landmark sale of the droid.  The sale of the R2-D2 prop came only a day after Profiles in History sold the famous floor John Travolta danced on in the climax of Saturday Night Fever for $1.2 million.  A golden prop foot of R2’s pal C-3PO went unsold at the auction, but in December 2008 Profiles in History sold a golden prop head of C-3PO, worn by actor Anthony Daniels, for $120,000.

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Rebel Blockade Runner

The most expensive Star Wars prop and the most iconic single Star Trek costume sold at auction this past week.  A new record was set for the highest sale price for a television costume, the market proved yet again that even the slightest Star Wars item takes top dollar, and sci-fi again rules the private collectors’ market for screen-used costumes, props and other entertainment memorabilia.  It all happened at auction house Profiles in History’s latest Hollywood memorabilia auction, held in Calabasas, California over three days September 30 through October 2, 2015.

Profiles in History reported that it tolled $7.3 million in sales in the auction.  The biggest news came from a production model of the Rebel Blockade Runner, the first ship seen at the beginning of the original Star Wars, which set the record for the sale of any Star Wars production piece.  It sold for double the catalog estimate at $450,000.  The prior record for a Star Wars item was $402,500, for a TIE Fighter filming miniature from Star Wars that sold at Profiles in 2008.

George Reeves’ The Adventures of Superman television series earned its rightful place in the history of television, with his supersuit selling for $216,000, the most for any known sale of a television costume.

Superman George Reeves

Star Trek fans saw the most iconic Star Trek costume with the best provenance recorded sell for $84,000.  That was one of Leonard Nimoy’s blue tunics from the original series, accompanied by the documentation whereby a fan won the costume from a studio promotion back in the 1960s.  No other original series piece has sold with better provenance back to the studio.  Other Star Trek items sold included an original series third season McCoy standard blue uniform for $57,000, and an incomplete Class A Spock uniform for $14,000.

Everyone wants to get their hands on original Star Wars items–the most difficult of the major franchises to collect since most items remain with Lucas or Lucasfilm.  A small section of the Death Star barely seen in Return of the Jedi sold for a whopping $39,000.  And even though it wasn’t screen-used, a lot consisting of prototype pieces of the most cosplayed sci-fi outfit ever, Carrie Fisher’s “Slave Leia” outfit from Return of the Jedi, sold for $96,000.  Finally, in the top echelon of sales at the auction, a special effects camera used to film Star Wars sold for $72,000.

Then there’s Indiana Jones.  One of Harrison Ford’s screen-used bullwhips sold for $204,000, a fedora went for $90,000, and one of his shirts and leather jackets each sold for $72,000.

Jurassic Park cane

Other notable, classic, genre pieces sold, including:

From Forbidden Planet, a light-up laser rifle ($66,000), a light-up laser pistol ($27,500), and a Walter Pidgeon Dr. Morbius costume ($24,000).

From Jaws, a Robert Shaw Quint harpoon rifle ($84,000) and machete ($27,000).

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Forbidden Planet lobby card

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 Day the Earth Stood Still lobby card

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.

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Earlier this season Hollywood Treasure, Syfy Channel’s “reality” series about auction house Profiles in History, featured the Dreier family collection of screenused props, costumes and nostalgic toys.   Back in June we reported that the auction house had announced the first part of the Dreier collection would hit the auction block July 28.  Chad Dreier and son Doug had amassed a broad collection of costumes and props after Chad’s company Ryland Homes was successfully turned into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. The collection itself covers a lot of bases of primarily movies from 2000 onward, with some key pieces from the 1970s and 1980s.  Saturday the first part of the collection resulted in a few good buys but mainly showed that the economy is doing fine for those with a lot of money.

So how did the lots that borg.com projected as key pieces fare?

First off was an exquisite original Chewbacca head/mask from the original Star Wars.  It had an auction estimate of $60,000 to $80,000 and I expected this would sell for at least triple that. Profiles called this “the finest screen-correct Chewbacca costume head from the Star Wars trilogy known to exist.”  So was I right?  The sale price including fees was $172,200.  Almost three times the estimate.  But this was an exception as most items in the auction sold in-line with auction estimates.

The Dreiers appeared to purchase everything they could get their hands on related to Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971. Their collection includes Wilder’s key outfit and hat and a bunch of lesser known but recognizable props and production ephemera. Wilder’s hat was expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000 and the costume $60,000 to $80,000.    The hat sold for $33,825  and the costume for $73,800.  An Oompa Loompa costume carried an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  Selling for $30,750, it showed how popular these characters still are today.

A Bob Keeshan costume from the 1960s had an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  It sold for $36,900.

An easily identifiable jacket of the type worn by Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller carried an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.  It sold for $36,900.

The Dreiers were also fans of Christopher Reeve’s Superman from 1978.  One of the hero Reeves suits expected to sell between $60,000 to $80,000.  It sold for $79,850.  We featured the rarer costume worn by his father Jor-El, played by the great Marlon Brando, in our Comic-Con coverage here.

It had the same estimate as the Reeve suit, and sold similarly at $73,800.  Both fell in line with expectations.

The auction catalog cover featured an original set of cylon armor from Battlestar Galactica.  The suit carried an auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  It sold for $46,125.

This outfit from the original series had an auction estimate of $12,000 to $15,000.  It sold for $17,220.

We also reported on this slick Wolverine costume in our Comic-Con coverage.  It had an estimate of $25,000 to $50,000 and sold for $49,200.

One sleeper item I noted was the original comic art for the Battlestar Galactica oversized comic book. With an estimate at only $2,000 to $3,000, I expected it to exceed $10,000.   Although it sold over its estimate, it didn’t make my prediction, selling at $4,305.

One other key piece sold at Profiles Saturday of note–a complete Star Trek: The Next Generation mannequin and costume of The Borg.  It was not ever for sale at auction before Profiles auctioned it in a recent auction of ex-Paley costumes, but was created by Michael Westmore’s actual production team for a museum collection once owned by The Paley Center.  It had an auction estimate of $8,000 to $12,000 and sold for just under $16,000.  I know of only three of these that are almost entirely complete and have heard a fourth example exists, but know of only one other complete from-head-to-toe version like this one.  These are the classic costumes of The Borg, not the later costumes that have deterioration problems and don’t look half as cool as these versions from “Best of Both Worlds” and “Descent”.  So it is awesome that one of these has surpassed prices for Star Trek captain uniforms, including, as in this auction, a Captain Picard costume worn by Patrick Stewart himself, which sold for $13,530.

Congratulations to the new owners of these great pieces of entertainment memorabilia!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

By C.J. Bunce

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Green Arrow, and in advance of watching the preview to the new CW Network series Arrow and seeing the actors on their panel, I gawked at the new Green Arrow suit at the DC Comics booth at the San Diego Comic-Con.  The nicely polished display cases made it difficult to get great photos because of reflections.  I tried with two cameras but ultimately perfect shots would have only been available after the crowd dispersed after hours.  But, for the benefit of any cosplayers, here is what I was able to get:

The Green Arrow suit was designed by Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood.  The costume features a great choice for the shade of green and a combination of both fine suedes and more rugged, practical fabrics.

Close-up detail on hood of new Arrow costume.

Detail of bow carvings and boot from Arrow suit.

Detail of arm darts on new Arrow suit.

Deathstroke villain mask from new Arrow series.

Also at the DC Comics booth were Watchmen costumes, presumably advertising DC Comics’ current summer series Before Watchmen.  They showcased two costumes, the Comedian, and Nite Owl’s polar suit.  Both of these were worn by the actors in the Watchmen movie:

Warner Brothers featured some new costumes from the coming Superman reboot movie, Man of Steel.  Here is the hero suit from the movie:

Far across the convention center, I spoke with Joe Maddalena about his TV series Hollywood Treasure, which I enjoy watching for all the various props and costumes and owners that unearth them.  He had several costumes and props on display, including Marlon Brando’s costume as Jor-El from the original Superman film and one of Johnny Depp’s suits from Edward Scissorhands:

Profiles in History also had some screen-worn Star Wars costumes on display, including this Snowtrooper helmet from The Empire Strikes Back and a Stormtrooper helmet and rifle from the original Star Wars.

The Snowtrooper helmet in particular illustrates how time is not always kind to materials used for productions, never intended to survive much beyond the studio shoot.

Profiles in History also showcased a nice Wolverine costume from the X-Men films, worn on-screen by Hugh Jackman:

The guys from The Prop Store in London had a great booth again this year, attended by staff from both their London and L.A. offices.  The focus piece at their booth was this classic spacesuit from the original Ridley Scott movie Alien:

Finally, across the aisle from the Alex Ross art display was the giant display of Iron Man suits from Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and The Avengers. 

All of this led up to the later reveal of the new Iron Man suit to be featured in Iron Man 3.

Definitely impressive displays this year of screen-used costumes–something there for everyone.

Earlier this season Hollywood Treasure, Syfy Channel’s “reality” series about auction house Profiles in History, featured the Dreier family collection of screenused props, costumes and nostalgic toys.  Now the auction house has announced the first part of the Dreier collection will be auctioned off, scheduled for July 28, 2012.

Chad Dreier and son Doug amassed a broad collection of costumes and props after Chad’s company Ryland Homes was successfully turned into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.  The collection itself covers a lot of bases of primarily movies from 2000 onward, with some key pieces from the 1970s and 1980s.  There is not a lot of focus to the collection–the Dreiers seemed to acquire several mid-range pieces from movies as opposed to going for the key hero piece from any particular film.  For whatever reason they stopped midstream, and the result is that many buyers will be able to fill in their collections from a wide range of productions.

The key pieces?

First off there is an exquisite original Chewbacca head/mask from the original Star Wars.  I could be wrong but it looks just like one that circulated the Planet Hollywood theme restaurant chain before they went bankrupt and sold off their collection via Profiles and other outlets.  It has an auction estimate of $60,000 to $80,000 and I expect this will sell for at least triple that.  Profiles calls this “the finest screen-correct Chewbacca costume head from the Star Wars trilogy known to exist.”  I’d guess George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch has one or two just as nice, but the statement is probably not far from the truth.  For everyone’s favorite lovable Star Wars hero, some folks with big pockets will duke it out for this crown jewel.  Some background original series weapons and prequel lightsabers are up for auction, too.

The Dreiers appeared to purchase everything they could get their hands on related to Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971.  Their collection includes Wilder’s key outfit and hat and a bunch of lesser known but recognizable props and production ephemera.  Annoyingly his hat and costume are being auctioned separately; the hat is expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000 and the costume $60,000 to $80,000.  An Oompa Loompa costume has an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.

A Bob Keeshan costume from the 1960s has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000.  If you’re like me you grew up with Keeshan in his nearly 40 year run as Captain Kangaroo.  No Mr. Green Jeans?

An easily identifiable jacket of the type worn by Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller carries an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.

The Dreiers were also fans of Christopher Reeve’s Superman from 1978.  More interesting than one of the hero Reeves suits expected to sell between $60,000 to $80,000 is the rarer costume worn by his father Jor-El, played by the great Marlon Brando.

Although the estimate for the silver blingy Brando costume is the same as for Reeve’s supersuit, if legend status is any indication, expect the Brando to go the way of contemporary Marilyn Monroe’s costumes last summer.  Despite some four-figure estimates, expect some Christopher Reeve Clark Kent suits and kryptonite to reach five figures–screen-matched kryptonite doesn’t come up for auction every day.

The cover piece is an original set of cylon armor from Battlestar Galactica.  Whether or not you liked the original series, you cannot deny how neat the original cylons looked in 1979.  The suit carries an auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.  Equally cool, and a nice jewel for some sci-fi TV fan, will be the Colonial Warrior costume from that series.

In particular, the helmet is a great looking piece, and if you watch the TV series Psych, you’ll have seen a colonial helmet as a story element in the entertainment memorabilia episode starring Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s real-life hubby Freddie Prinz, Jr. as a mega-sci-fi collector.

Iconic for sure.  The lot carries an estimate of $12,000 to $15,000.  (Profiles is also auctioning off a Geordi LaForge visor from Star Trek: The Next Generation!).

Many of the items are familiar, having sold in other recent Profiles auctions.  Look for a quarter scale Batmobile from Batman Returns as well as a deteriorating Batsuit worn by Michael Keaton. The auction includes several X-Men outfits and props, including Wolverine and his claws, Magneto, Cyclops, Storm, and Rogue.  For recent films they carry pretty hefty five-figure estimates (except Rogue), but I’d expect the Wolverine to sell for a high amount as the standout of the franchise.  Other costumes and props have been seen recently at auction but may be interesting to some bidders (and are certainly just fun to browse through in the catalog), including pieces from Star Trek, such as familar borgs Seven of Nine, Data in First Contact-style uniform, and a Next Generation member of The Borg as well as a Klingon warrior, also pieces from the Indiana Jones movies, Austin Powers, The Hunt for Red October, G.I. Joe, Gladiator and Dances with Wolves.

One sleeper item of note is the original comic art for the Battlestar Galactica oversized comic book.  With an estimate at only $2,000 to $3,000, expect this full color beauty to easily exceed $10,000.  This comic book is likely to tug at the nostalgia of many a kid from the 1970s.  Every other kid I knew had this comic book–it was published and reprinted several times–and who wouldn’t want to own the original cover art now?

For those with smaller budgets, some great toy lots from Star Wars, Pez, and G.I. Joe are being auctioned, too.

Happy bidding!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Most reality TV and competition shows aren’t worth watching when compared to all the great TV writing available these days.  Two weeks ago in our Spring TV Wrap-up, we discussed the best of this past season, and you’ll notice there are no reality shows listed there.  Why?  The reality TV formula got old fast as the past decade moved along, as did competition shows generally.  Sure, American Idol and Top Chef still get big viewership numbers, and we drift back for an episode of Iron Chef once in a while, but at some point even their fans will dwindle.  Let’s face it, there’s something for everyone and we won’t knock it (it’s why having several hundred channels to choose from seems to be a very “American” thing) and fans of reality shows probably aren’t also watching our sci-fi, fantasy, and other genre programming.

That said, one of the more fun reality-esque shows because if its unique subject matter is starting its second season this week: the Syfy Channel’s Hollywood Treasure, which airs on Tuesday nights.  I was impressed that they changed up the show a bit for the season two premiere, and offered a lot of content anyone can enjoy.  Three key things make the series work.  First, although Hollywood Treasure has the obligatory formula for reality shows, including the repeated scenes that straddle each commercial break and make you race for the fast forward on the remote, the plain coolness of the subject matter of the show outweighs any reality show annoyance factor.  Second, the show focuses on the guys who run Profiles in History, consistently the entertainment memorabilia auction house that pulls in the highest sales of any auction house in the world, and items they sold at auction in the past year.  These guys run into all sorts of neat props and costumes from Hollywood and occasionally an actor or show creator.  Third, the guys who run the auctions and are featured in the show, Joe Maddalena, Jon Mankuta, Brian Chanes, and Fong Sam, are actually fans of genre films and comic books as much as they are businessmen.  I’d dealt with these guys in the past and they are always great to work with.  Some of the scenes are formulaic and more than a bit contrived, but their passion and excitement for memorabilia always shines through.

The highlight of episode one of this new season, and what will certainly keep watchers coming back for more if they can keep bringing in similar guests, is a segment where actor Sean Astin discussed movie props he owns (and used to own) from Rudy, Goonies and The Lord of the Rings.  Astin always has such an aura of authenticity that you can ignore all the theatrics and just enjoy seeing this guy simply talk about making movies.  The personal items he retained from playing Samwise Gamgee are certainly treasures any LOTR fan would love to get his hands on.

Astin kept his screenused backpack and pans, his Elvin pin, his bread pouch, and leather wineskin from The Lord of the Rings films.

Other sequences in this episode were an attempt to auction one of the four original sets of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz for $2 million, which Profiles was only able to sell after the fact by direct sale, still attaining the $2 million the owner wanted as a minimum reserve price.  In this sequence Profiles also revealed that they actively solicit buyers after sales for items that don’t meet the minimum reserve price–buyers that kick themselves later for not bidding, thinking the sell price will be out of their range.  In reviewing the slippers they got to visit what seemed like a private collector’s own Fort Knox lockdown facility.  Another segment featured Joe Maddalena buying a Jim Carrey hat and cane from Batman Forever, then trying to flip them at auction for profit.  And Maddalena also visited the Dreier collection of costumes and props, which is being auctioned off over a few years.

Profiles in History is the same auction house we discussed here last year that made all sorts of records selling off the Debbie Reynolds movie costume and prop collection, including the famed Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch subway vent scene dress and an Audrey Hepburn My Fair Lady dress, among millions of dollars in other sales, and the Captain America auction last month.  And these are the guys we caught up with last year at Comic-Con showing the Back to the Future III DeLorean.  Their auction website is www.profilesinhistory.com.  We hope they can keep up the momentum started in their first episode of season two all season long.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Last month we previewed the Captain America: The First Avenger auction to be conducted by Marvel Studios and auction house Profiles in History.  The auction was held April 14, 2012 at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo with incredible results proving that Marvel Comics fans are as rabid as any genre collecting group.  Details of the full prices realized can be found via links at Profiles in History’s company website.  Featuring primarily props, costumes, and set pieces from the 2011 release Captain America: The First Avenger, the auction also featured a few lots from Iron Man 2 and Thor.  The auction included four recognizable Captain America supersuits, as well as several other costumes worn by actor Chris Evans, and 11 iconic shield variants.

Supersuits

The key item up for bid was Lot 154, the Steve Rogers Captain America hero costume and shield worn by Chris Evans in the movie, which served as his final superhero suit in the film and is the suit used in all the Marvel posters and marketing.  It carried an auction estimate of $20,000-$30,000.  The final price including the auction house premium?  A stunning $233,700!   That’s right–nearly a quarter of a million dollars.  You’ll be hard pressed to come up with any genre costume from any character of any series, sci-fi, fantasy, or superhero movie, that has ever sold at auction for so much.  Clearly a landmark price for a neat character costume.

Why such a high hammer price, as compared with sales in past auctions of other hero costumes from other franchises?  Several factors created fertile turf for this monumental auction, including: (1) the movie itself received critical acclaim and approval of average movie-goers (I have met no one who saw this film and didn’t think it was very good), (2) the character is iconic–literally a hero suit (as opposed to a stunt suit) from an actual superhero, (3) it’s Captain America–there’s a lot of nationalistic pride behind this character and its historic place in both comicdom, World War II mythos, and Americana, (4) unlike all the Batman, Spider-man, and Superman suits on the market from several movies, this was the first big budget Captain America film, for a character who has been around and beloved by all ages for three generations, (5) the Avengers have never been bigger in the history of Marvel Comics than this month–with the release of Avengers vs. X-Men and the new Avengers film premiering everywhere in just days from now, (6) this was a rare occasion where a film costume didn’t match the classic costume and fans didn’t care because the new outfit was designed with cool results, (7) the auction was heavily publicized and was held in a venue with excited comic book fans, (8) the simple but nicely done catalog arrived early and gave interested bidders time to plan bidding strategies, (9) the auction house, Profiles in History, is simply getting more and more visible, especially with its SyFy Channel TV series Hollywood Treasure, and the recent record-setting movie costume sales from the Debbie Reynolds collection.

Chris Evans’ Captain America USO costume and shield had an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.  Final sale price?  $30,750.

The Captain America costume worn by Evans in the POW rescue scene had an auction estimate of $6,000-$8,000.  The lot included an early style Cap shield.  Final sale price?  $27,675less than the distressed version–Evan’s Captain America distressed rescue suit also had an auction estimate of $6,000-$8,000, but sold for $30,750–still a low price considering it was seen so much in the film as compared to the primary hero outfit.

Shields

One early style Cap shield from the Hydra factory scene carried a $2,000-$3,000 estimate.  It sold for $13,530.  A separate shield of the same design was estimated to sell at $2,000-$3,000.  It sold for $14,760.  A similar shield with distress marks from the “Invaders” scene had the same auction estimate.  It sold for $17,220.

An unpainted silver prototype shield from Howard Stark’s laboratory carried an auction estimate of $3,000-$5,000.  It sold for $18,450.

One shield offered was the frozen in ice version, which had an auction estimate of $4,000-$6,000.   I think this was the coolest shield at the auction.  It sold for a cool $24,600.  Lot 177 was a classic, traditional Captain America shield, expected to sell for $4,000-$6,000.   It fetched $27,675.  Yet another battle damaged shield from the final showdown with Red Skull carried an auction estimate of $4,000-$6,000.   It sold for $27,675.

A distressed stunt shield of the same type from the show’s final showdown carried an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.  It sold for $20,910.

Motorcycles

The Steve Rogers’ hero modified Harley Davidson motorcycle had an auction estimate of $12,000-$15,000 and a second hero motorcycle from a different scene has an auction estimate of $10,000-$12,000.  They sold for $14,760 and $12,300, respectively.

Red Skull and Hydra

Hugo Weaving’s Johann Schmidt/Red Skull SS costumes were expected to fetch $6,000-$8,000 each.  They ranged from $19,680 to $20,910.   Weaving’s bright red “Red Skull” facial prosthetics—3 in all—were expected to sell for $2,000-$3,000.  They sold for $4,305 to $7,995. 

A Hydra non-functional mini-tank was expected to fetch $12,000-$15,000.   It was one of the rare key pieces that sold in its estimate range, for $14,760.  Various Hydra motorcycles carried an auction estimate ranging from $3,000-$6,000.   They sold between $4,920 and $18,450.  Several Hydra soldier uniforms had an auction estimate of $1,000-$1,500.  They sold well over that, from $6,765 for standard outfit to $15,990 for the hero outfit.

Iron Man

The original, incredibly detailed, full-scale Mark II silver Iron Man suit from Iron Man 2 had an auction estimate of $60,000-$80,000.  It sold for a whopping $135,300.

Thor

Finally, two stunt Thor Mjolnir war hammers were offered at the end of the auction from the Kenneth Branagh movie Thor, each expected to sell between $3,000-$6,000.  They each sold for $19,680 and $23,370, incredible for rubber stunt props of any film.

As with most Profiles in History auctions, the actual hammer prices (rimshot) generally far exceeded the auction estimates.  Movie studios are sure to take note of this quickly burgeoning source for revenues.   With strike prices this impressive, expect studios that haven’t paid much attention to the costumes and props that were once thrown out after production in the past to follow suit with future auctions.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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