Hollywood's Most Expensive Pieces of History

by Jacob Combs
December 13, 2011 5:00 AM
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Ahead of Profiles in History's "Icons of Hollywood" auction to be held in Beverly Hills this Thursday and Friday, which will put up for auction such items as Bela Lugosi's "Dracula" cape and Dorothy's red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz," THR mounts a retrospective gallery of the priciest pieces of Hollywood history. 

It's no surprise that the ruby slippers would be expensive Hollywood memorabilia--the shoes hold a place in the film pantheon to which few other props can aspire.  Still, their value is mind-boggling: THR estimates that they will go for $2-3 million at auction.  This June, a test version of the slippers that were not used in the film sold for $612,000.

Other items in the auction series are bit less expected. The DeLorean time machine used in the iconic scene from "Back to the Future III" when Michael J. Fox finds himself in the middle of a battle between Indians and the U.S. Cavalry is estimated to go for around a half a million dollars.  Also up for auction is the Central Park couch that served as one of the main hangouts in "Friends," which is currently expected to be available for a steal somewhere around $5,000.

Not everything included in the auction is a piece of movie history--some are part of the larger fabric of American social history.  Marilyn Monroe's sultry "Happy Birthday" to John F. Kennedy at his birthday gala in 1962 was an iconic moment of a storied presidency; up for auction is Monroe's invitation to the party, as well as a program schedule given to her backstage.  Another piece of Marilyn memorabilia that will be auctioned off is the platinum and diamond wedding ring given to her by Joe DiMaggio on their wedding day.

And finally, for anyone who's ever wanted an Oscar, this could be the chance to get your hands on one--for the right price.  Hans Drier's Best Art Direction Oscar, which he won in 1945 for the film "Frenchman's Creek," will also be auctioned off, with an estimated value between $60,000-80,000.  Take a look at the whole gallery on THR's website.

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  • Steve Belgard | December 13, 2011 12:57 PMReply

    Wasn't Lugosi supposedly buried in his "Dracula" cape? If so, then his 1945 film "The Body Snatcher" would certainly be life imitating art.

  • Steve Belgard | December 20, 2011 1:24 AM

    Thanks for the clarification.

  • George Nimmo | December 16, 2011 4:53 AM

    Bela had several capes, he did wear this one in Dracula '31 though which makes it extra special.

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