It has been many years since the market around movie props sold at auction exploded. This is particularly true for cult films, regularly breaking sales records. Here are 20 examples.
If the Majors kept many documents and filming objects over the years, the keeping of registers on this point has long left something to be desired: certain accessories, poorly identified, were simply not kept or lost, without anyone being moved. When they weren’t outright thrown away or, worse, destroyed.
Fortunately, this time when we did not necessarily have a concern for heritage is over. What’s more, for several years now, studios have understood the interest of auctioning off film objects / props. And not just studios for that matter; some auctions also from private collections.
This is particularly true for cult films that have marked the history of cinema and Pop Culture. Collectors have no qualms paying a fortune for mythical objects, such as Han Solo’s blaster in Return of the Jedi, sold for $550,000. The power of fascination of the Star Wars saga is intact. This is obviously far from being an isolated case.
If the bids are so high, it is because these objects all tell a story, sometimes moving, intimate, because they were used in a legendary scene… Such as the mythical dress of Marilyn Monroe of 7 years of reflection.
Here are the 20 (but not only!) most expensive movie props ever sold at auction.
Indiana Jones fedora hat
The famous Fedora hat of our favorite archaeologist… The iconic power of this object is such that it is enough to instantly identify the character that goes with it, entered into the pantheon of Pop Culture. The Indy hat, an object so important that we even have the right to its story in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Even when Indiana loses his hat, it comes back to him, carried by the wind. One of the models in the film went for $300,000 at auction. In 2014, a lover also dropped $214,000 to acquire another iconic accessory, Indy’s whip, which had been used on the set of the three films in the saga. Yes yes, we ignore Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The cane of Charlot in “Modern Times”
An iconic and inseparable accessory to his character as an eternal vagabond, Charles Chaplin’s cane used in Modern Times was sold at auction in 2013 for the modest sum of $350,000!
The DeLorean from “back to the future”
“Hey wait a minute Doc, did I hear you right? You say you made a time machine… out of a DeLorean???” throws Marty McFly to Doc Emmett Brown. Tit for tat response from our favorite mad scientist: “You have to think big in life! Even if it means traveling through time at the wheel of a car, you might as well choose one that looks good!”
Few movie cars have enjoyed such a cult following around them, and among these, the mythical DeLorean model DMC-12 takes the lion’s share. Without her, the Back to the Future saga would most certainly not have become so famous. With its butterfly doors, its chunky rear, its elegant line and its stainless steel bodywork, many people have also dreamed of traveling back in time at 88 Miles/h aboard this fantastic car, thanks to its convector temporal. No wonder fans are willing to drop a fortune for her. In 2011, one of the seven models used in the trilogy sold for $541,000.
The Blaster of Han Solo in Star Wars
Cult accessory from cult, Han Solo’s blaster in the Star Wars saga has logically hit a ceiling in auctions. In June 2018 in New York, the model used by Harrison Ford in Return of the Jedi sold for a whopping $550,000!
The ruby shoes of Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz”
Here is undoubtedly one of the most famous and iconic objects of the 7th Art: the ruby shoes of Judy Garland alias Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz. In the book, they are silver. But to bring out the flamboyance of Technicolor, it was decided that they would be red. Four pairs of shoes were made for the film. One of these pairs went for $2 million at auction in 2011, but failed to find a buyer. The record remains the sale of the 4th pair in 2000, for the sum of $666,000.
The flying car from “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”
Do you perhaps recognize her? This is the famous car…