Unlike the previous time it was up for auction, Orson Welles’ Academy Award for co-authoring the screenplay to Citizen Kane not only met but exceed its reserve price and ultimately went under the gavel for $861,542.
Although magician David Cooperfield was one of the bidders, the final purchaser chose to remain anonymous.
“This is a testament to the popularity of Orson Welles and his magnum opus Citizen Kane,” auction house owner Nate D. Sanders told the Hollywood Reporter.
Thought lost for decades, Welles’s Oscar was revealed to be in the possession of cinematographer Gary Graver, who stated that the director had given him the statue as payment for working on Welles’s unfinished 1974 film The Other Side Of The Wind. Graver tried to auction the Oscar through Sotheby’s, but was sued by Welles’ daughter Beatrice Welles, who was eventually awarded ownership of the Academy Award by a California court.
Beatrice Welles put the Oscar up for auction herself, but was sued by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. The Academy had enacted a stipulation that the Oscar statues could not be resold without first offering to sell them back to the Academy for the nominal sum of $1.00. However, a California court ruled that as this rule was enacted in 1950, the Citizen Kane Oscar was not covered by the policy. The auction went ahead in 2003, with the Oscar being acquired by the Dax Foundation, who has decided to resale the statue and use the proceeds to help fund the non-profit organization’s charitable works. However, the statue failed to move at the 2007 auction and it appears that the Dax Foundation has sold the Oscar privately to an anonymous purchaser who had put the statue up for auction this week.