Not a year goes by that records are broken at auction houses specializing rare and unusual. From comic books to antiques, there are plenty to keep tabs on. Of recent, a number of items are worthy of mention.
A three-page letter hand-written by Lady Duff-Gordon, a survivor of the TITANIC, dated May 27, 1912, penned on her personal stationary, sold for $11,875 at an auction held January 22 by RR Auction in Boston. She wrote the letter six weeks after the sinking. "According to the way we've been treated by England on our return we didn't seem to have done the right thing in being saved at all. Isn't it disgraceful?" Lady Duff-Gordon wrote.
A cup and saucer from the TITANIC sold for $13,750.
|Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin|
Weeks before the TITANIC artifacts faced the gavel, E.H. Shepard's original ink drawing of Christopher Robin, Piglet and Pooh on the famous "Poohsticks" bridge from the book, WINNIE THE POOH, sold for $471,750 at Sotheby's in London, England. (314,500 pounds = $471,750.) The ink drawing is from THE HOUSE ON POOH CORNER, published in 1928. Sotheby's is also responsible for the sale of Jeff Koons' sculpture of cartoon character Popeye, the Sailor, fetching $28.165 million. A billionaire casino tycoon was the winning bidder.
A Mary Pickford film was discovered in a barn. This happened last year but since news barely spread because the mainstream public doesn't care too much for silent screen actresses, it's best to mention this one again. The film is titled THEIR FIRST MISUNDERSTANDING and Pickford was 18 at the time it was made. The ten-minute film dramatized a wife's fight with her husband. The first minute of the film was destroyed due to decomposition, but the rest of the film is in great condition and presently being re-mastered and re-stored, thanks to the Library of Congress. It was also the first time Mary Pickford received screen billing for her work.
|Mary Pickford in THEIR FIRST MISUNDERSTANDING|
An all-original, unrestored production cel, and master background, from Walt Disney's 1935 cartoon, MICKEY'S SERVICE STATION, featuring Mickey Mouse and Goofy, sold for more than $98,000 at an Animation Art Signature Auction held at Heritage Auctions in new York City. (And yes, it is spelled cel, not cell.) Surprising, a 1928 production drawing by Ub Iwerks for STEAMBOAT WILLIE, only fetched $1,528.
|Mickey Mouse and Goofy in MICKEY'S SERVICE STATION|
Frank Sinatra's driver's license sold at RR Auction (referred to above), issued in the state of New Jersey, dated 1934 and issued to "Francis Sinatra," 841 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ, sold for $15,575. Decades after the crooner passed away, it seems his name still sells -- even if it is not recordings. The auction lot also included a 1940 letter to the state Commissioner of Motor Vehicles from the lawyer of a man who had been involved in a car crash with Sinatra. The lawyer says Sinatra was found at fault but failed to pay damaged beyond an initial remittance of $7.50, and asks that Sinatra's driving privileges be revoked until he paid up.
|Frank Sinatra's driver's license|
Ever have any of those toy robots from the 1950s? You might wish you still had one. A Radicon toy robot from Masudaya's Gang of Five series, with original remote control and box, sold for $37,200 at a Toy Auction held September 7 to 8 by Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania.
Turner Classic Movies partnered with Bonhams in New York City to offer the second annual Hollywood Memorabilia Auction, held November 24. Items that sold include Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume and the piano Sam played in CASABLANCA (1941). The iconic salmon-colored piano sold for $3.4 million. Lahr's costume, by the way, sold for $3.08 million. A costume worn by Rita Hayworth fetched $114,000. And add 15 percent to these totals as a result of a buyer's premium.
Babe Ruth's baseball cap, worn during the historic 1934 U.S. All-Star Tour of Japan sold for $303,0277, held by Grey Flannel Auctions, based in Westhampton, New York. A baseball signed by 23 of the 1932 New York Tankees (including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and others) sold at the same auction for $115,242.
|The piano from CASABLANCA (1941)|