Hollywood collectibles are once again in the news with another memorabilia auction that fetched over the rainbow bids for some of the screen’s most iconic treasures.
While the blue gingham dress 17-year-old Judy Garland wore in The Wizard of Oz has faded, that did not dull demand for the priceless piece of screen memorabilia. The successful bidder surrendered a pretty $480,000, the highest price of any item during a two-day Hollywood memorabilia auction, according to Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions, which staged the “Icons and Idols” auction. A collection of more than 100 images from the beloved 1939 film, including continuity photographs and publicity shots, sold for $33,750.
Other big ticket items were Steve McQueen’s racing jacket, with his name on the front and the name of his company, Solar Plastics Engineering on the back, which crossed the finish line at $50,000, as did a purple skirt worn by Marilyn Monroe while filming the western “River of No Return.” A dress Julie Andrews wore in “The Sound of Music” sold to the tune of $38,400.
A black gown worn by Jaclyn Smith on the TV series “Charlie’s Angels” went for a heavenly $15,000, while sunglasses worn by Jean Reno in “Leon: The Professional” sold for $8,320. A pair worn by Johnny Depp in “Dark Shadows” scared up $3,250.
From Hollywood royalty to the real thing, a slice of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding cake reportedly sold for $1,375.
The “Icons and Idols” auction follows an auction of James Bond memorabilia in anticipation of the release of the 23rd Bond film, “Skyfall,” which is shattering box office records for the long-running franchise. That auction brought in $2.6 million. Daniel Craig’s La Perla bathing suit from Casino Royale alone fetched $71,876.
Collectibles, along with precious metals, are the alternative investment of choice for Millionaire investors, a 2011 Millionaire Corner wealth level story found. As with the rare books market, it is one that appeals more to a conservative investing mindset as iconic pieces grow in value steadily over the years. Ideally, the real value, dealers emphasize, is in what the piece means to the buyer—if it came from a favorite film or was born by a beloved star.
“Buy what you love,” one rare book dealer told Millionaire Corner, “and the money will take care of itself in the end.”
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.