Classic silver screen costumes, props encore at Heritage, Dec. 17
DALLAS – Go ahead – pull back the curtain. When you do, pay plenty of attention to the history waiting behind it. In Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 17 Hollywood & Entertainment Signature® Auction, cinephiles and collectors will find hundreds of costumes, vehicles and props from some of the most momentous and treasured films of all time – even a Holy Grail. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The blockbuster event spans a century of cinema and counts among its highlights iconic offerings from The Wizard of Oz, The Ten Commandments, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Dr. No, The Prince and the Showgirl, The Shawshank Redemption, Gladiator, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Princess Bride, the original Star Wars trilogy, Avengers: Endgame and Titanic. That is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
For proof of this sale’s scale, look no further than the two items offered from The Wizard of Oz, which Vanity Fair in 2018 called “officially the most influential film of all time.”
Three decades since it was last offered at auction, and after years of being displayed in myriad museums and traveling exhibitions, including Los Angeles Public Library’s Getty Gallery, it’s time once again for the Wicked Witch of the West’s hourglass to return to the market. This meticulously constructed piece – made of wood, papier-mache and handblown glass filled with red glitter and decorated with gargoyles keeping watch over the witch’s castle – is perhaps the most recognizable timepiece in cinema history. It is the very instrument the Wicked Witch uses to count down the moments Dorothy has to live – a beautiful thing no matter the moment, and forever linked to some of our earliest Technicolor nightmares. It carries an estimate of $640,000-$960,000.
The hourglass, which stands nearly two feet tall, was first available as part of MGM’s landmark 1970 auction, among “the things dreams were once made of.” The studio actually reused the prop a handful of times after its appearance in Oz, including in 1941’s Babes on Broadway – starring, amazingly enough, Judy Garland alongside Mickey Rooney in the Busby Berkeley-directed musical (with Vincente Minnelli helming his wife’s sequences).
Speaking of Garland, this auction also features one of the few Wizard of Oz dresses to come to market – in this instance, a garment dubbed a “test” dress that comes closest to matching the final blue-and-white gingham pinafore Dorothy wore during her stroll down the yellow brick road. Its estimate is $160,000-$240,000. This dress, like the final one worn on-screen, was designed by Adrian Adolph Greenburg, who was best known only as Adrian. The MGM costume designer also dreamed up Dorothy’s red-sequined ruby slippers.
One of the most recognizable costumes in this event is also one of the smallest: the white bikini worn by Ursula Andress’ Honey Ryder in the first James Bond big-screen adaptation, 1962’s Dr. No. This is the same ivory cotton two-piece created by Andress and costume designer Tessa Prendergast that was auctioned in 2001 for nearly $150,000 – still the most recognizable swimsuit in the world six decades after it first emerged from the water. It appears in the December 17 auction with an estimate of $240,000-$360,000.
As Bosley Crowther noted in his New York Times review, the film could easily have been seen as spy spoof as “it’s not the mystery that entertains you, it’s the things that happen along the way,” including, he wrote, “the encounter with the beautiful blond bikini-clad Ursula Andress on the beach of Crab Key,” which Halle Berry recreated in 2002’s Die Another Day.
For those whose tastes learn more toward the Marvel Universe, the auction lineup contains the most essential piece of Captain America’s ensemble: the shield used by Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers during the filming of Avengers: Endgame. This shield is the one of the best-documented props from MCU history to come to market: Marvel Studios donated it to a nonprofit’s raffle, after which it was sold at auction. It comes with a with a custom-crafted plaque signed by Marvel Studios Senior Prop Master Russell Bobbitt, and it is estimated at $80,000-$120,000.
Are you not yet entertained? Because the closet in this auction is stuffed full of recognizable outfits, led by Russell Crowe’s six-piece Roman general costume and helmet from Gladiator, estimated at $128,000-$192,000.
From the beloved 1986 John Hughes film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off comes a prop Ferrari 250 GT California replica last seen crash-landing in the woods after a few swift dent-causing kicks from poor put-upon Cameron Frye. It sports an estimate of $160,000-$240,000.
From Star Wars and Return of the Jedi comes the very first three-dimensional Y-wing model ever built, from the hands of Industrial Light & Magic model maker Paul Huston. This is the so-called Hero Buck from which all that followed were crafted – and it’s the only one that exists. This auction contains numerous Star Wars (and Star Trek) costumes and props; this one ranks among this event’s holy grails. Which brings us to the Grail Cup from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, bearing an estimate of $24,000-$36,000. Will the cup of a carpenter bring eternal life to the collector who walks away with it? Choose wisely.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/