It was considered priceless by those who sought to posses it, but the stuff that dreams are made of has a price.
The screen used statuette used in the 1941 classic The Maltese Falcon which starred Humphrey Bogart fetched $3.5 million at an auction of Hollywood memorabilia today, not including a $585,000 buyers premium. It was estimated that the prop would earn $1.5 million.
Another Bogart-related prop, the 1940 Buick Phaeton used in the cliamctic airport scene in Casablanca went under the gavel for $380,000. Also up for sale were Casablanca producer Hal Wallis’s working copy of the shooting script for the film and the chair used in the office set of Bogart’s Maltese Falcon private eye Sam Spade.
Curated by Turner Classic Movies, the auction featured over 100 lots ranging across almost 100 years of film history from a joke file from W. C. Fields to Michael Keaton’s superhero costume from Batman and Harrison Ford’s whip from Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. Numerous costumes included in the auction spanned from the early days of talking pictures like a majorette jacket worn by Shirley Temple in 1936’s Poor Little Rich Girl to Oscar-winning gowns for Shakespeare In Love designed by Sandy Powell. Other pieces include a preliminary design maquette for the Terror Dogs from Ghostbusters to a diving helmet from 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to animation cells for the cast titles to films such as The Sound Of Music and Hello Dolly. Below are pictures of a few props that were on display at Bonham’s Auction House in Manhattan this past weekend preceding today’s sale.
The falcon prop was one of two cast in lead statuettes by the prop department at Warner Brothers Studio for the film and the only one that can be verified as having appeared in the classic noir tale. It had been owned by a private collector who purchased it in the 1980s.