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Top Ten Most Expensive Pieces of Movie Memorabilia

by Dave Elliott

Many people enjoy collecting movie memorabilia. Action figures, posters and even signed memorabilia can be relatively inexpensive, although the authenticity of celebrity signatures may not be guaranteed. Star Wars action figures and merchandise have long been best sellers, with many collectors investing in collectibles that will rise in value over time.

Serious collectors may look to buy rare original movie props or costumes that require a more substantial budget. For example, if you’re considering purchasing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s leather trousers and t-shirt from Terminator 2, you may need a cash loan as that costume is currently for sale at £9,495! Debbie Reynolds is said to have one of the world’s best memorabilia collections, valued at around $50 million. Here’s a rundown of the top 10 original movie memorabilia that’s fetched big bucks!

Top Ten Most Expensive Pieces of Movie Memorabilia!

10. Miniature Tie Fighter ($402,000)

Walther LP-53 Air Pistol

Walther LP-53 Air Pistol

Star Wars memorabilia is perennially popular and in 2008 a miniature version of a Tie Fighter used in the 1977 movie, Episode IV: A New Hope, sold for $402,000.

9. Bond’s Walther LP-53… erm… Air Pistol… ($437,000)

In 2010 the pistol from the Sean Connery movie poster for From Russia With Love sold for $437,000. The gun was in the poster for the 1963 movie but it never appeared on film!

Bond’s standard Walther PPK didn’t turn up for the photoshoot, so the photographer provided his own Walther LP-53 air pistol, which then had the barrel airbrushed out for the US posters.

8. Good Ol’ Boys 1969 Dodge Charger ($450,000)

General Lee 'LEE1'

General Lee ‘LEE1’

Ahh, the Dukes of Hazzard… Awesome 80’s tv show, with an awesome theme tune, Daisy Duke in the shortest of short shorts, and one of the coolest cars EVER to grace a tv screen… The 1969 Dodge Charger.

When it came up for auction 2007, the ‘General Lee’ sold for $450,000. There were of course numerous General Lees (between 250 to 350 Dodge Chargers its estimated were used in the series).  This car however, was ‘LEE 1’, the original iconic car that jumps the police car in the opening credits. It was later sold to PGA Tour golfer Bubba Watson in 2012 for the rather more modest sum of $110,000.

7. I need your clothes, your boots… (and $488,000)

For the opening credits of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the producers had a full-scale T-800 terminator endoskeleton built to film, which had eyes that light up and it has real metal feet! The model was was sold at auction for $488,000!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

6. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ($505,000)

As you’d probably expect, there were various versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 2 road-going versions, 1 which transformed, a hover-car,  a flying version, and one without an engine. The flying version, which had been on display in a Chicago restaurant, was sold to cover a bankruptcy debt, to a Florida car collector for $505,000. The collector also owned a Batmobile!

Famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang owners include Lord of the Ring’s director Peter Jackson, and Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans!

5. Boldly Going… To cash a massive cheque! ($576,000)

USS Enterprise D

USS Enterprise D

Back in 2006, The original 198-centimeter ‘miniature’ of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) from the opening credits of Start Trek: The Next Generation went up for auction at Christie’s.

The model was built by the ‘Star Wars’ model makers extraordinaries at Industrial Light & Magic, and made it’s first appearance in ‘Encounter at Farpoint’. It was still in use when clumsy ol’ Riker crashes Enterprise D into the ground during ‘Star Trek: Generations’ (i don’t know… you leave him in charge for a few minutes, and look what happens… ;) )

The model sold for a whopping $576,000 in 2006!

4. There’s no place like… the bank! ($660,000)

It’s estimated there were 6 or 7 pairs of the famous ‘ruby slippers’ made for Judy Garland to wear in The Wizard Of Oz. Out of those, only 4 are still know to survive.

One pair is kept in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington. One pair were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum and have yet to be recovered, and one pair are owned by a private collector.

The final pair were sold by Christie’s for $660,000 to Elkouby & Co. who own a chain of Hollywood memorabilia shops.

3. Metropolis Movie Poster ($690,000)

Metropolis Poster

Metropolis Poster

Metropolis, the 1927 science fiction movie by German expressionist Fritz Lang, is often thought of as the ‘daddy’ of scifi films, and is still considered a masterpiece. So, in 2005 when one of the classic, original, movie posters by graphic artist Heinz Schulz-Neudamm came up for auction, it’s no surprise it generated a lot of interest!

The poster was 1 of only 4 copies of the original known to exist. One in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and one in Berlin’s Film Museum. When the 3rd poster was auctioned, it became the most expensive poster ever sold, and was bought by a US collector (thought to be Leonardo DiCaprio) for the staggering sum of $690,000! However, the artwork maybe about to break it’s own record, as the owner of the 4th poster has decided to sell, and it’s currently available for the bargin price of $850,000!

2. Put ’em up, put ’em up… ($826,000)

Cowardly Lion Costume

Cowardly Lion Costume

Here’s an interesting, (if slightly disturbing) fact that any animal activists may not be thrilled about… You know that cuddly Cowardly Lion from The Wizard Of Oz? The costume… made of real lion pelts! Ahh the wonderfully un-PC 1930s! ;)

The costume (worn by Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz) was thought lost until in 1970. It was uncovered by staff from an auctioneer’s who were clearing out a barn for the legendary MGM/David Weisz Auction (where MGM sold off a barrage of classic movie props.)The suit was bought by a chiropractor for the bargain price of $2,400 at the auction, and kept it till 1986 when it was sold on to sculptor Bill Mack.

10 years later, Mack decided to have some restoration work performed on the outfit, enlisting a textile conservationist to perform the repairs, and even managing to get Bert Lahr’s son Herbert (who looked uncannily like his father) to model for a re-cast of the Cowardly Lion’s prosthetics, which didn’t survive the film’s production. When Mack sold it in 2006, it went for whopping $826,000!

1. Gooolldddfingeeer required… ($4.1 million)

Aston Martin DB5

Aston Martin DB5

When the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in Goldfinger (complete with James Bond toys) came up for auction, you have to imagine every guy who’s every fancied themselves as a super spy thought about bidding!

The car came fully kitted out with ‘ejector seats’,  rotating license plates, ‘machine guns’, ‘oil slick sprayer’, popup ‘bulletproof’ screen, tyre slashers, and radar tracker!

This particular DB5 was the only one left out of the 2 used in making Goldfinger, and it went on to star in Thunderball too.

The lucky owner of this boys fantasy car is Ohio real estate millionaire and car collector Harry Yeaggy, who paid $4.1 million for it in 2010.

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