At the close of this month, over 850 of the most iconic movie props and costumes will be auctioned off in Hollywood. With estimates ranging from a few hundred dollars right up to the wallet-worrying half a million expected for the eleven-foot filming model miniature of the Nostromo from Alien, this will be a fascinating chance for some devoted movie geeks to own a piece of history.
But this is not just for the L.A. crowd to get in on – this is also your chance to spend some of your well-earned cash as well. Or, at the very least, it will be a rare chance to watch an intriguing event with some serious money changing hands.
Salman Rushdie devoted the closing chapter of his BFI Film Classics love letter to The Wizard of Oz to the whirling glitterball of an auction for a pair of the ruby slippers worn in the film. He captured the heady rush of expectation as the asking price sky-rocketed, and hinted that he may have himself made the highest bid. Was it him, dear reader? Was it you?
The auction, which will be live-streamed online, happens on August the 26th and 27th at 10am PDT (which is 5pm here in the UK), and you can watch along and bid in real time to own a piece of movie history.
To view the full catalog and bid, visit www.propstore.com/liveauction
This auction is perfect for those HeyUGuys readers who grew up with us in the ’80s and ’90s, and who want to enjoy that mid-life crisis with an authentic piece of our shared cinematic past.
Check out the trailer for the event, showcasing many of the premium items on offer.
So, with your calendar reminders and alarms set for the 26th, let’s dive into some of the iconic items you could soon be placing around your home…
LOT 815. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s (Tom Cruise) Fighter Pilot Helmet
There has probably never been a better time for this item to go up. With Tom Cruise returning for the skies for Top Gun Maverick sometime in the future why not grab that $50,000 – $70,000 that’s weighing down your pocket and get yourself one of the most iconic movie props of the ’80s.
The description reads: This real-world flight helmet was decorated specifically for the character and is affixed with Maverick’s signature silvertone, red, and yellow striped eagle insignia stickers. It features “Maverick” stickered in white on the front and reverse, a tinted plastic adjustable visor, black leatherette padding, a Velcro chin strap, and two metal tags labeled “Flight Suits, LTD. El Cajon, California.” A green rubber oxygen mask and tube is included to complete the display.
There are also flight suits patches, other helmets as well as a particularly cozy set of Continuity Polaroids from the film.
Perfect for our Editor Dave, this film is one of many from the decade which is well served in the catalogue. Why not buy the lot and turn up to the World Premiere of Top Gun Maverick in full authentic costume?
As you’d imagine Star Wars features heavily in the auction’s listings. Production scripts from the earliest iterations of Adventures of The Starkiller, through the original trilogy to the Prequels, sit alongside lightsabers, alien face masks and reams of concept art. This item is perhaps the standout.
If you want to own the exact helmet what was photographed for the teaser poster for The Empire Strikes Back now’s your chance. This is a fully-equipped ‘touring’ costume, made by Lucas and his team for the worldwide promotion of his little sci-fi indie hit.
It comes complete with all chest boxes, belt buckles and boxes (Vader was a real stickler for his accessories) this is perhaps the only authentic full size replica made by the original artists that is in a private collection. And it could be yours…for upwards of $250,000.
Lot number 712 caught my eye. A Revenge of the Jedi One-Sheet Poster, with the iconic mask of Darth Vader as illustrated by seminal movie poster artist Drew Struzan, is estimated to go for $800 – $1200. Created just before George Lucas changed the name to a more Jedi-appropriate ‘Return’, this is one of a handful of pieces of memorabilia with the old title. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, particularly in light of the revelation at the end of this post…
Look at this.
Just look at it.
In the days of films shot on RED cameras, or even iPhones, the film equipment of the past can look antiquated. But there is no denying that there is something beautiful in the mechanical and practical, and some of these cameras carry the scars and stories of their use with them. This one is special. It’s a Vista Vision Motion Picture Camera Serial No. MVV-6, and while that may not pique your interest I’ll give it the full title from the auction catalogue:
LOT 842. Alfred Hitchcock’s Vista Vision Motion Picture Camera Serial No. MVV-6
Yes. This is one hell of a camera. The full listing details the crystal-controlled 30V motor, the top mount viewfinder, the Follow Focus Motor with a set of partial viewfinder mats from Vista Vision camera MVV3, the Blimp MVV-21 sunshade and lens port window cap and so on. That’s not the clincher however.
This is the primary camera used by Hitchcock while he was making 1958’s Best Film Ever Made Vertigo. Think of it – all those dreamy San Francisco vistas, the neon green wash of Judy’s hotel room, the intimate megalophobia of Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak charting lives on the Father of the Forest in Big Basin Redwoods – all of these images, indelibly written on the silver screen of our minds were seen first by the lens of this camera.
It’s a heady prospect to own something so functional, yet imbued with a unique legacy. And it’s yours for $50,000 – $70,000…
Last on our list is a fine memento from the birth of the summer blockbuster, and a film that has recently celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Get your gnashers around this…
LOT 388. Shark Tooth Clapperboard – JAWS (1975)
During production, a small number (possibly four) of clapperboards were custom-made in the style of the shark’s jaws, in homage to the film’s voracious antagonist.
You can bet Sharknado never had these.
There are a few Jaws-related items cinematic selachimorphaphiles will want to check out. Scripts and production notes from the film series are all present and correct, however the most intriguing item is the blueprints for the construction of Bruce the Shark. This 1/6 scale production blueprint is in a fragile state, and comes from the early part of production. It’s a collector’s item for sure, and – hey, if you’ve got a few million left over after the auction you could start building one of your own.
These are just a few of the fascinating items from Hollywood’s past that will go under the hammer this month. Once again – to view the full catalog and bid, visit www.propstore.com/liveauction – The auction will be live-streamed August 26-27. Happy bidding!