Christopher Reeve Superman Costume and Donald Campbell Memorabilia for Bonhams & Goodman Auction

. May 17, 2009

Movie fans and speed demons are in for a treat when Bonhams & Goodman conduct an auction of Collectables on Sunday 24 May at 2pm, in the Melbourne salerooms.

superman.jpgOne of the highlights of the auction is a costume worn by actor Christopher Reeve as Superman. Reeve played the super hero in four feature-length movies between 1978 – 1987. The costume comprises a leotard featuring the unmistakable red and yellow ‘S’ logo, a pair of red trunks and yellow belt. The leotard has slits in the side through which cables were fed to suspend Reeve while filming simulated flying scenes for Superman III.

Superman costumes rarely appear on the market and are much sought after by collectors. Complete costumes have been known to sell for in excess of $100,000 at auction. This part-costume carries an estimate of $15,000 – 20,000.

Superman is an icon of twentieth century Popular Culture. His distinctive blue, red and yellow crime fighting costume makes him arguably the most recognisable character in movie history. He was created in 1932 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and first appeared in ‘Action Comic #1’ in 1938. The huge success of the comic book hero led to several spin-offs including a long-running radio series and seventeen short films. In 1978 the first feature length Superman movie opened with Christopher Reeve in the lead role. The film grossed more than US$300,000 worldwide and at the time was Warner Bros. biggest ever commercial success.

Also up for auction is a collection of important memorabilia associated with world speed records set by Donald Campbell in Australia in 1964. The framed display includes a metal plaque impressed with a bluebird, which was taken from one of his record-breaking ‘Bluebird’ craft, and a pound note that was lent to Campbell by associate Graham Ferrett prior to his successful land speed record attempt ‘so he had some money on him in case of a fatal accident’. Campbell broke the land speed record on 17 July 1964 at Lake Eyre in South Australia, achieving a speed of 403.1mph. On New Year’s Eve of the same year at Lake Dumbleyung in WA Campbell raised the water speed record to 276.33mph. To date he is the only person to break land and water speed records in the same year.

The collection is expected to realise between $5,000 – 7,000.

Donald Campbell CBE (1921-1967) was the son of Sir Malcolm Campbell, who himself broke 14 world speed records in the 1920s and 1930s. As a young man he aspired to become a fighter pilot but was turned down by the RAF on medical grounds. After his father’s death in 1948, Donald turned his attention to reclaiming his father’s speed records. Following his successes in 1964, he strove to break the 300mph barrier on water. In 1967, during an attempt at Coniston Water, Lancs., Campbell was killed when Bluebird K7 left the water, somersaulted and broke apart.

The sale also features a diverse range of other collectables including vintage toys, exceptional Meccano construction sets, trains, diecast toys and toy soldiers, as well as sporting and entertainment memorabilia, advertising and film posters.

Auction info

Tunic worn by Christopher Reeve
in Superman IIIm, Warner Bros., 1983
Estimate: $15,000 – 20,000

Category: Auction News

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