Stars' memorabilia fetch fancy prices at auction

December 26, 1993|By Linda Rosenkrantz | Linda Rosenkrantz,Copley News Service

These days the auction houses' collectibles catalogs are as star-studded as the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly.

Almost every screen luminary of the present and, more particularly, the past, is likely to be represented on their pages by an article of clothing worn in a film, an old Oscar some heir is disposing of, a poster advertising one of their movies or some artifacts they have collected.

If you think I'm exaggerating, consider the following partial list and the recent or forthcoming auction activity associated with their names:

* Errol Flynn. The brown velvet jacket he wore in the swashbuckling film that made him famous, "Captain Blood," fetched a record $31,050 at a Butterfield & Butterfield auction of items from the vast inventory of the famous Western Costume Co. held in Los Angeles. In the same sale, a beautifully crafted Orry-Kelly-designed costume Flynn wore in "The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex" reached $19,550.

* Frankenstein. OK, so he's more monster than man, but still it's worth noting that this hero of the 1931 Universal horror classic appeared on a poster that sold for a mind-boggling $198,000 at an Odyssey Auction at Hollywood's Hotel Roosevelt last fall.

* Clark Gable. Two jackets he wore in "Gone With the Wind" -- one herringbone, one navy wool -- sold for $19,550 and $16,100 respectively at the Butterfield & Butterfield fall sale.

* Judy Garland. The miniature 1939 Academy Award for Best Juvenile Actress given to her for her luminous performance in "The Wizard of Oz" is expected to bring between $70,000 and $90,000 at a Christie's East auction in New York.

Other interesting Garland memorabilia in the sale include a 1933 Department of Labor permit issued to her under her real name, Frances Gumm.

* Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen. The matching striped prison uniforms this unlikely pair wore in the film "Papillon" brought $13,800 at the Butterfield & Butterfield sale, more than five times its pre-sale estimate.

* Michael Jackson. The many-zippered red leather jacket the singer wore in his video "Beat It" sold for $7,763 at Sotheby's in New York. Interesting addendum: With it went a photograph of Mr. Jackson with the young boy to whom he gave the jacket and a newspaper article recounting the story of how the two met.

* Vivien Leigh. The two-piece traveling suit designed by Walter ,, Plunkett for Scarlett O'Hara to wear on her visit to Shantytown in "Gone With the Wind" fetched the day's top price of $33,350 at ZTC the Butterfield & Butterfield auction.

* John Lennon. Did you know that this Beatle had artistic as well as musical talent? A series of lithographs he did in 1970, entitled "Bag One," went for $18,400 at Sotheby's in New York last summer.

* Barbra Streisand. The Brooklyn diva's widely publicized collections of art nouveau and art deco will go on the block at Christie's in a two-day auction in March.

The auction house has high hopes for this sale -- one piece alone, a Tiffany cobweb lamp -- comes with an estimate of from $800,000 to a cool $1 million.

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