Film Costumes Highlight Heritage Entertainment Auction

. March 30, 2010

Hollywood, its biggest stars, greatest movies and the amazing costumes that populate our most beloved films have been the very definition of glamour for the better part of a century. That luminous Silver Screen attire that will be ready for its close-up when screen-worn costumes from some of Hollywood’s greatest names, in their most famous roles, are auctioned off as part of Heritage Auction Galleries’ April 8 Signature® Music & Entertainment Auction at Heritage Auction Galleries Beverly Hills.

Heritage Auction Galleries Beverly Hills is located in the heart of Beverly Hills at 9478 West Olympic Boulevard.

“It’s a tremendous thrill to bring these treasures back to Los Angeles, the city of their creation,” said Doug Norwine, Director of Music and Entertainment Auctions at Heritage. “This incredible costume trove is so deep it’s difficult to pick the most amazing piece of screen history to focus on.”

While it may well be difficult to choose the most iconic piece in the auction, it’s easy to identify those that would contend. Among them, Clark Gable’s Gone With The Wind costume vest and shirt (estimated at $20,000+), Vivian Leigh’s Gone With The Wind costume petticoat (estimated at $15,000+) and James Cagney’s screen-worn suit from his Oscar-winning performance as George M. Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy (estimated at $20,000+) will certainly vie for most important.

“In just these three lots we have three of Hollywood’s all-time greatest stars represented in two of Hollywood’s all-time greatest films,” said Norwine. “It’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how deep this selection goes.”

The April Music & Entertainment Auction includes selections from The Hollywood Studio Collection, which houses more than 500,000 pieces of production-made and -used costumes, props, and set decoration created for movies dating from classics of the 1930s to the contemporary films of today. The items being offered in this auction from The Hollywood Studio Collection come directly from the Hollywood studios themselves and are being made available to the public for the very first time. Among the highlights from the many great contemporary films represented in this collection, the April auction includes Kristin Scott Thomas’s screen-worn dress from The Other Boleyn Girl, a beautiful three-piece dress she wore as Lady Elizabeth Boleyn, estimated at $1,000+.

Another one of Hollywood’s great leading men – certainly one of its first and most important – Rudolph Valentino, whose untimely demise at the age of 31 triggered hysteria among early film fans, is made real once again with an exceedingly rare costume coat from and unidentified 1920s production, estimated at $6,000+.

“To true connoisseurs and collectors of early Hollywood,” said Norwine, “a piece like this is worth more than gold. It’s an incredibly rare connection to one of Hollywood’s greatest, and earliest, megastars.”

Few leading ladies have continued to inspire subsequent generations of actors and fans more than Judy Garland, and the great actress is also well-represented in the Heritage event with two screen-worn costumes, a screen-worn robe from 1949’s In The Good Old Summertime, estimated at $2,000+ and a screen-worn blouse from the 1946 MGM musical The Harvey Girls, estimated at $4,000+. Garland is further represented in an exceptional grouping of screen-worn wigs from the MGM wig archive, with an impeccable brown wig Garland wore in Summer Stock, estimated at $800+.

Garland, however, is far from the only superstar actor represented in this unique collection known as The MGM Wig Archive, offered to the public for the very first time in the Heritage Music & Entertainment event. Further examples include wigs worn on-screen by famed screen siren Marlene Dietrich, the great Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood, Lana Turner, Jean Simmons, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Paul Newman, Marlon Brando and the one and only King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. Estimates on the wigs range between $500+ and $3,000+.

One of the true highlights of the auction comes in the form of The Pacific Title Art Collection, a rare gathering of surviving title art from the golden age of film and television, which was hand-painted, mounted and then filmed for use as a background for opening and/or closing credits. Most of this artwork was destroyed soon after it was created, but a few select examples survived, among them the superb opening title art for the popular 1957-1965 western Wagon Train, estimated at $1,500+.

Collectors devoted to the great auteurs of Hollywood will be instantly drawn to Billy Wilder’s personal viewfinder, a vintage Watson viewfinder owned and used by the Academy Award-winning director, with his name engraved on the side, which comes to Heritage from the Billy Wilder/Rex McGee Archive. It is estimated at $1,000+.

Certainly no Heritage Music & Entertainment auction would possibly be complete without a superb array of some of the most desirable autographs in the hobby with prime examples from stars like Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, H.G Wells, Ronald Reagan and Francis Farmer, among the many. Just a few of the non-Hollywood names represented include Harry Houdini, Thomas Edison and Amelia Earhart.

“The biggest thrill of this auction is not only the trove of treasure brought by Heritage to Hollywood,” said Norwine, “but also the fact that now, with this auction taking place at our new Beverly Hills home, that Hollywood can now come to Heritage and see these treasures in their natural settings.”

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Category: Auction News

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