Sale: Film and entertainment memorabilia
Location: Christie’s, 85 Old Brompton Road, London SW7. Tel: +44 (0)20 7930 6074
Date: Thursday November 25 at 2pm. On view on Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm; Monday 9am-7.30pm; Tuesday and Wednesday 9am-5pm, day of sale 9am-noon. Catalogue at www.christies.com
Need to know: Until the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow expert Hilary Kay organised the first high-end auction of rock and pop memorabilia at Sotheby’s in 1981, such items were not considered worthy of the world’s most prestigious salerooms.
Things changed when Sotheby’s began to achieve stellar prices for lots relating to blue-chip names such as Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles. Other auctioneers jumped on the bandwagon and the remit of the sales quickly grew to include all forms of film and entertainment memorabilia, notably props from landmark films such as Star Wars, Alien, 2001: A Space Odyssey and the James Bond movies.
While many of the most coveted pieces are now held in private or corporate collections, special objects occasionally appear and attract high bids from forty- and fifty-somethings who have both the desire and the means to own objects that they first saw on the big screen as youngsters.
Highlights: The highlight of the sale could make the ultimate gift for any science-fiction film fan – a complete Darth Vader costume (including face mask and helmet) dating from the making of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Christie’s is careful to emphasise that there is no evidence the outfit was actually used in the film but it is still expecting bids of up to £230,000 ($369,000).
Those with less to spend on their dressing-up box could compete for a Supergirl (1984) outfit made for its star Helen Slater (£3,000-£5,000), the orange chiffon dress worn by Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) in 1994’s Four Weddings and a Funeral (£1,500-£2,000) and even a Roman centurion’s leather breast plate from the set of 1979’s Life of Brian (£1,500-£2,000).
Making its second appearance at auction within a decade is the actual Walther LP-53 held by Sean Connery in the photo-shoot for 1963’s From Russia With Love (no one noticed it was merely an air pistol), which is set to realise up to £20,000, while an array of movie ephemera includes animation cels from early Disney cartoons and rare photographs of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart and Charlie Chaplin. Estimates start at £300.