Indiana Jones turns 30; iconic whip movie prop could bring $70,000

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An original plaited leather bullwhip used in the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The whip is accompanied by a typed letter signed by Kit West, dated September 20, 2002 on Kit West SPFX letterhead stating, "...Originally there were six whips. The one I'm giving you is the last one that is completely intact and in it's original mint condition ... If anyone questions their authenticity they can contact me for verification. As you know, I was Special Effects Supervisor on the film and won an Oscar for my work on it."

Los Angeles – Bonhams & Butterfields is pleased to announce the June 26, 2011 auction of Entertainment Memorabilia in Los Angeles, where props from Raiders of the Lost Ark will be featured. The sale is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the film’s release in June of 1981. The auction preview is set for June 24-25, 2011 in Los Angeles.

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Highlights from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” featured in the June sale will include one of Indiana Jones’ six iconic bullwhips used in a stunt sequence (est. $50,000-70,000) and a prop idol that was also used during filming (est. $20,000-30,000). The items are accompanied by a
letter of provenance from Academy Award-winning special effects expert, Kit West, who was the mechanical effects supervisor on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The sale will also feature a wide variety of items related to Hollywood, Rock ‘n Roll and Animation Art. Highlights will include pieces connected to “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and the grand dames of old Hollywood: Barbara Stanwyck, Ethel Merman and Norma Shearer.

Highlights from the Estate of actress Norma Shearer and Academy Award-winning producer Irving Thalberg will be prominently featured within the auction. Thalberg is known as “The Boy Wonder” for his extraordinary ability to make very profitable films by choosing the right scripts and selecting the right actors. He married Shearer in 1927. Shearer went on to become one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s biggest stars of the 1930s.

Items of note from the couple’s Estate include a “Gone with the Wind” (1939) script inscribed by David O. Selznick to Norma Shearer (est. $10,000-15,000); a nine-piece sterling silver and enamel ladies vanity set, used by one of Hollywood’s most glamorous leading ladies (est. $400–600); a pair of vintage silver gelatin photographs of Shearer taken by Hollywood glamour photographer George Hurrell (est. $1,500-2,000); a manuscript for the unpublished autobiography of Norma Shearer with the working title “My Love Affair with Life” (est. $600-900); and Shearer’s personal script for Marie Antoinette (1938) ($1,500-2,000). Shearer was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress in a leading role starring opposite Tyrone Power and John Barrymore.

Property from other Grand Dames includes an oversize portrait of Barbara Stanwyck in oil (est. $4,000-6,000); Stanwyck’s handwritten letter to former President Ronald Reagan (est. $250–350); an original candid snapshot of Merman posing with the Beatles in 1964 (est. $300–500); a substantial collection of silver and gold objects relating to the Merman family (est. $1,000-1,500); Merman’s personal, annotated script from the television special Annie Get Your Gun (1966) (est. $600–900); and a rare candid photograph of Merman with fourth husband Ernest Borgnine (est. $300-500). Merman famously refused to comment on her short-lived relationship with Borgnine, whom she married and divorced within a month. In her 1978 memoir Merman, she offered nothing more than a blank page in the chapter titled, “My Marriage to Ernest Borgnine.”

Featured in the Rock ‘n Roll section is Paul McCartney’s script for “Give My Regards to Broad Street,” 1984 (est. $750-1,000); a Rolling Stones silk tour banner from 1972 (est. $1,000-1,500); and one of twelve known sleeves from the Rolling Stone’s single “Street Fighting Man” (est. $8,000-12,000). The single was first released in August of 1968, just before the Chicago Democratic National Convention, where riots broke out between demonstrators and the Chicago police force. The Stones’ picture sleeve used two images depicting police brutality taken from one of the many riots that had broken out in over one hundred U.S. cities that year. The record company deemed the sleeve to be inappropriate and it was immediately withdrawn. No one knows for sure how many examples of this sleeve have survived but most estimate the number to be between 10 and 18 copies, placing it among the rarest pieces of Rolling Stones memorabilia.

Also on offer is a vintage Les Paul prototype guitar case, which features an original “Cunard White Star to Europe” label addressed to “Mr. And Mrs. Lester Polfuss” aboard the Queen Elizabeth, when it sailed on September 3, 1952 from New York to Southampton, England (est. $10,000-15,000). The trip is chronicled in The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy 1915-1963 by Robb Lawrence. Paul and his wife were traveling to London to perform a series of concerts and Gibson sent this case originally containing a prototype guitar for Paul to evaluate on his trip abroad. The case, adorned with rare travel documents, is accompanied by a photo of Les Paul posing with the item.

In addition, Bonhams & Butterfields will be offering a strong selection of animation art featuring Charles Schulz and early Disney pieces. Highlights include a pen and ink Peanuts daily, dated 7- 15, 1976 by Schulz (est. $10,000-15,000); a gouache celluloid from Walt Disney’s The Silly Symphony – Santa’s Workshop (1932) (est. $2,000-3,000); and a preliminary watercolor background study from Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950) by artist Mary Blair (est. $500–700). As well, a selection of early pieces from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) will be led by a gouache celluloid depicting the six dwarfs gesturing to Dopey (est. $4,000-6,000); a preliminary background study from the film (est. $2,000-3,000); and seven early preliminary concept drawings, one for each dwarf (est. $1,500-2,000).

The illustrated auction catalog is now available online at Bonham’s.

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A gold painted resin fertility statuette with inset plastic green eyes produced for the special effects department for use during stunt sequences in the opening Peruvian temple scene in the film. The idol is accompanied by a typed letter signed by Kit West dated May 28, 2005 on Kit West SPFX letterhead attesting to the authenticity of this piece. West won an Oscar® for his work on the film as the Special Effects Supervisor. It measures 8 7/8 inches by 5 1/2 inches and is expected to sell for between $20,000 to $30,000.

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