DALLAS – It was a toss-up between Boris Karloff and Oscar to prove the most iconic of all as Karloff’s sleek Modernistic costume from 1934’s The Black Cat and Anne Revere’s 1945 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in National Velvet both sold for almost $89,625 each, leading the $1 million+ 20th Century Icons auction at Heritage Auctions’ uptown Dallas headquarters, Nov. 6-7.
“It’s only fitting that Karloff and Oscar, both American icons in the truest sense of the word, would lead this auction,” said Doug Norwine, Director of Music & Entertainment at Heritage Auctions. “Karloff was arguably the greatest of his day, and an Oscar has been emblematic of glamour and excellence since its inception. The fact that they share the top spot on the podium of this auction at the end of the day is entirely fitting.”
It’s important to note that Revere’s 1945 Oscar was sold with the direct permission from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to auction this award.
Much of the pre-auction publicity was focused on two lots in the Heritage Auctions sale: The fedora Jack Ruby was wearing when he fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald and a JFK-signed front page morning edition Dallas Morning News of Nov. 22, 1963, possibly the President’s last signature. As the auction of the articles made national and international headlines, the two lots lived up to the billing.
Ruby’s hat had the auction room buzzing, not to mention collectors trading bids, as it soared to $53,775, while the Kennedy-signed Dallas Morning News thrilled the crowd in the auction gallery with a final price of $38,837.
“Talk about some chillingly historic memorabilia,” said Heritage Auction’s Norwine. “Ruby’s hat is probably the most famous fedora in the world, and a JFK signature from the day of his assassination – any signature, let alone one on the front page of the Dallas Morning News – was long thought not just difficult to find, but completely non-existent.”
Ruby figured prominently into a few other lots in the auction as the leg shackles he wore around his ankles when he died brought $11,053. The approximately 60-inch chain, with two master locks, were used to secure Jack Ruby’s leg to his bed during his hospitalization not to prevent him from escaping – he was far too ill to do that – but rather to prevent the possible abduction of his body in the event of his death.
Hollywood and the JFK assassination provided the most fireworks, the music side of the auction was certainly not without portent as a deep trove of memorabilia related to the late “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson, exceeded expectations and showed the upswing in value for Jackson memorabilia after his death in June is continuing. The top Jackson lot of the auction was also the top music lot, as Michael Jackson’s handwritten lyrics for “Little Susie,” one of the closing tracks on disc two of Jackson’s 1995 double LP HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, sold for $9,560 – almost five times the estimate.
“We saw that the Jackson memorabilia is indeed now commanding a premium that was certainly not there during the singer’s troubled final years,” said Norwine. “Lots related to MJ were routinely crushing their estimates.”
Jackson’s black suede bolero-style jacket with silver accents, created by David Laurenz and worn by Jackson offstage, came from one of Michael’s VIP wardrobe trunks and realized $8,365 while a special Thriller In-House Gold and Platinum Album Award, created by Jackson and “presented to Fred Astaire, My Hero/Love, Michael Jackson” almost doubled its estimate to come in at $7,170.
Rare Beatles memorabilia continued to show amazing popularity as a rare Beatles Second Album promotional display (Capitol, 1964) poster, one of the few known of these original promotional posters sent out by Capitol Records for in-store display, realized $9,560 and the cap that John Lennon wore on Nov. 4, 1963, when the Beatles played a Royal Command Performance in London for the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret – a pivotal moment in Beatles lore – brought $8,365.
One very special lot that bears mentioning, and rounds out the top lots of the auction, was a Lincoln rocking chair used by Martin Luther King Jr., which was purchased by Dr. King’s editor, Hermine Popper, for King to use as the pair worked on his writings at her cabin in White Plains, N.Y., during the last part of his life. Dr. King used the chair to write and work in comfort. It realized $8,365.
Heritage Auction Galleries is always looking for quality consignments for auctions.
For complete auction results and information on upcoming auctions, visit www.ha.com.
Photos courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.
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