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Orson Welles's Oscar for Citizen Kane Back on the Auction Block

What a way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of what many consider the greatest motion picture of all time. The best screenplay Oscar awarded Orson Welles for Citizen Kane is once again up for sale.

Welles misplaced the Oscar after it was given to him in 1942, and the statue wasn't unearthed until the time of his death in 1985. It came up for auction in 1994 when Welles's late-period cinematographer Gary Graver claimed it as a form of payment from the director.

Image

The Academy, known to get its panties in a bunch at the thought of one of its golden doorstops falling into the hands of a commoner, was outraged when Welles's daughter, Beatrice, sued for custody and eventually auctioned it off in 2003. According to CNN, "A judge cleared the way for auction with a ruling in 2004 that Welles never signed the academy's agreement not to sell the trophy, according to Nate D. Sanders Auctions spokesman Sam Heller."

Image

Photo courtesy of the David Parks Elliott Library.

When the gavel fell, the not-for-profit Dax Foundation (its current owner) took home the gold, only to auction it again in 2007. The Oscar was withdrawn after bidding failed to rise above the seller's minimum price of $800,000 to $1.2 million.

Having readjusted their sights, the tarnished Oscar is expected to take home somewhere between between $60,000 and $1 million. The online auction will take place later this month. I considered putting in a bid, but I need to buy toothpaste.

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What a way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of what many consider the greatest motion picture of all time. The best screenplay Oscar awarded Orson Welles for Citizen Kane is once again up for sale.

Welles misplaced the Oscar after it was given to him in 1942, and the statue wasn't unearthed until the time of his death in 1985. It came up for auction in 1994 when Welles's late-period cinematographer Gary Graver claimed it as a form of payment from the director.

Image

The Academy, known to get its panties in a bunch at the thought of one of its golden doorstops falling into the hands of a commoner, was outraged when Welles's daughter, Beatrice, sued for custody and eventually auctioned it off in 2003. According to CNN, "A judge cleared the way for auction with a ruling in 2004 that Welles never signed the academy's agreement not to sell the trophy, according to Nate D. Sanders Auctions spokesman Sam Heller."

Image

Photo courtesy of the David Parks Elliott Library.

When the gavel fell, the not-for-profit Dax Foundation (its current owner) took home the gold, only to auction it again in 2007. The Oscar was withdrawn after bidding failed to rise above the seller's minimum price of $800,000 to $1.2 million.

Having readjusted their sights, the tarnished Oscar is expected to take home somewhere between between $60,000 and $1 million. The online auction will take place later this month. I considered putting in a bid, but I need to buy toothpaste.

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Comments
13

Graver wuz robbed of that Oscar. Welles never paid Graver, instead giving him the Oscar on the set of The Other Side of the Wind, where the trophy was used as a movie prop. Since Welles never signed the Academy agreement about Oscar's custody, it rightfully belonged to Graver, and Welles' daughter should never have been allowed to steal it.

Graver's autobiography (released two years after his 2006 death) talks a bit about this. A very colorful character, Graver also directed over a hundred x-rated films, as well as working for B-movie kings like Roger Corman and Fred Olen Ray. I met him briefly when he was inducted into the Adult Video News Hall of Fame, at a ceremony for which I provided a series of cartoon portrait posters - as far as I know, that's the only other "award" Graver ever got for all his years in Hollywood. He died broke - thanks a lot, Beatrice Welles --

Dec. 12, 2011

So is that what you'd call a Graver robber? [Sorry, couldn't resist.] ;-)

Dec. 12, 2011

How dare you steal my pun!!!

Dec. 13, 2011

Yes, but with all due respect, the guy was a rather desperate character not to mention a hack DP. I always equate him with Henry Jaglom, a stooge Welles kept in his pocket as a source of amusement. Welles' never signed the Academy agreement, and from what I gather there is no documented evidence that Graver was due the statuette in exchange for services rendered. Graver impressed me as a questionable type, eager to glom onto Orson's fame. I don't know how much faith I'd put into Graver's claims.

But I'd still trust him more than Oja!

Dec. 13, 2011

I'd buy it for $60K.....In fact I would pay $500K for it. Citizen Kane is ranked as the #1 film of all-time by the AFI.

Dec. 12, 2011

I'd rather have the original finished screenplay. Steven Spielberg bought one of the three "Rosebud" sleds made for the film. The other two were burned up during production.

Dec. 13, 2011

Well, if money were no object I would buy the ultimate movie prop of all time-the ruby red slippers used in "The Wizard of Oz".

There were 7 pairs made for the movie, three of which were worn during the filming, and one of the three movie worn pairs is going up for auction off this Friday in an LA movie memorbilia auction;

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/us-finearts-wizardofoz-idUSTRE78L66O20110922

Alas, $3 million is about 2,999,900 out of my price range

Dec. 13, 2011

My prop of choice would be the oil portrait of a great man, a giant of a man -- Robert Keith in "Written on the Wind."

Dec. 13, 2011

How about that red get-up Bob was wearing in the opening minutes of 'The Seven Little Foys'? Put that in your closet!

Dec. 13, 2011

Dolores! I'm shocked. This is Bob's most treasured costume.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Pl8AsLGUL.SL500_AA300.jpg

Dec. 13, 2011

Ahhhhhh, cracked up, didn't he?

Dec. 14, 2011

He was on dope or something.

Dec. 18, 2011

And we all just missed out on the Elizabeth Taylor auction - a bonafide Cleopatra wig sold for $11,500:

http://tinyurl.com/crtlkpa

If I had the wherewithal to purchase one movie item, it would either be one of the nightshirts the Marx Brothers wore from the "Duck Soup" mirror scene...

Or the mock steering wheel / car interior Dana Andrews and family used in "Hot Rods To Hell". San Diego Reader Big Screen readers would take turns doing their best Dana impersonations while a rear projection would show the movie.

Dec. 14, 2011

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