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Elizabeth Taylor's gold Cleopatra cape, rarest Beatles U.S. single in existence anchor Heritage Auctions sale
The Beatles (Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers) "My Bonnie"/"The Saints" Rare 45 (Decca 31382, 1962). Estimate: $30,000 - up.

DALLAS, TX.- The gold cape that Elizabeth Taylor wore as Cleopatra in two pivotal scenes in the 1963 film of the same name is expected to bring $20,000 as the top entertainment lot in Heritage Auctions’ March 30 Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature® auction. The top lot on the music side is expected to be the rarest of all U.S. 45 Beatles singles, a mint condition stock pressing of 1962’s “My Bonnie”/“The Saints,” with the Fab Four as the back-up band, estimated at $30,000+.

“These are just a few of the highlights and legendary names we have lined up in this auction,” said Margaret Barrett, Director of Entertainment & Music auctions at Heritage. “We have rare and desirable memorabilia relating to a host of the key figures in late 20th century Pop Culture. Collectors of all levels will find something to be excited about.”

The Elizabeth Taylor Ceremonial Cape from Cleopatra (20th Century Fox, 1963), crafted to resemble the wings of a Phoenix, is an ornately designed piece made of thin panels of gold-painted leather adorned with hand-stitched gold bugle beads, seed beads and bead-anchored sequins. Taylor wore the cape in two key scenes: Cleopatra's dramatic entrance to Rome – the most lavish portrayal of this event in film history – and Cleopatra's dramatic 'exit' by asp bite. The cape is complimented by a wig Taylor wore in the same film, mainly at the beginning of the film, estimated at $10,000+.

“Taylor was featured in countless newspaper and magazine articles wearing this cape,” said Barrett, “most famously on the cover of the Oct. 6, 1961 issue of Life. While the $194,800 budget for Taylor's costumes was the highest ever for a single actor at the time, the film's costume designer, Irene Sharaff, made good use of it, winning an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color, for her work.”

The Beatles (Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers) “My Bonnie”/“The Saints” 45 (Decca 31382, 1962), the top offering of the many Beatles-related lots in the auction, is the rarest of the US Beatles singles, even rarer than the pink label promo version of the same record.

“It went nowhere when it was released,” said Barret, “and most of the few copies pressed were trashed, which explains why the promo copies actually outnumber the stock commercial version. As years passed and collectors became historians, the release attained more and more stature as an extreme rarity. There are likely only 20 to 25 copies of this in existence and we’ve never seen on better.”

A John Lennon autographed Imagine poster (1971), dating from the very peak of Lennon's solo career, is another key Beatles-related piece, with its ties to the end of the Fab Four’s reign as a band and Lennon’s zenith as a solo hit-maker. It’s a world class piece of Lennon memorabilia from the pinnacle of the great musician’s power. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $10,000+.

One of the auction’s most interesting lots is an unfinished oil painting by Buddy Holly, started when he was a teenager in Lubbock, TX, and left unfinished for unknown reasons. It is estimated at $12,000+.

“This painting has been with Holly's family until now and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Buddy's brother, Larry Holley,” said Barrett. “Buddy's burgeoning talent as a visual artist is apparent and not surprising, considering his ability to master any creative endeavor he chose to pursue. Luckily for us all, he turned to rock n’ roll and the rest is music history.”

The painting is just one of several important Buddy Holly rarities in the auction. Another highlight is a Holly, Ritchie Valens and Dion Signed 45 (Coral 62074, 1959), autographed by the singer on the night of Feb. 2, 1959, at The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA, the very night “the music died.” This is the second signed single to emerge from the fateful and legendary night; it carries a pre-auction estimate of $8,000+.

The incredible interest generated in John Wayne memorabilia by Heritage’s auction of the Personal Property of John Wayne last October has not diminished, as great pieces continue to surface for auction, including two superb pieces in this auction: A John Wayne 'Bib' Shirt from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Paramount, 1962, estimated at $10,000+, and a John Wayne signed prop rifle from The Alamo, United Artists, 1960, signed by Duke in 1975, some 15 years after the legendary film’s release. It carries a $6,000+ pre-auction estimate.

As ever, Marilyn Monroe continues to represent the pinnacle in both Hollywood glamour and desirability of memorabilia. The March 30 auction fits that bill well with a 1946 Marilyn Monroe-signed 'Photographic Model Release' Form used by photographer Richard C. Miller when he worked with the up and coming 19-year-old in March and April of 1946, and offered here directly from The Estate of Richard C. Miller. The family has stated that this is the very last Monroe-signed document that they will offer publicly. It is estimated at $9,000+.

There is already considerable buzz over the presence of Whitney Houston’s twice-signed U.S. passport, 1979-1986, issued to the star when she was just 16-years-old. It is estimate at $2,000+.

“Sadly, Whitney now belongs to music history, as does anything associated with her,” said Barrett. “Her passport should be an interesting lot to watch in this auction.”

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

The Women of Gone with the Wind and others signed copy of the novel Gone with the Wind, 1939: An August 1936 edition, hardcover, no dust jacket, published by The MacMillan Company, 1,037 pages, from the personal library of Nell Kurtz Fambrough, the daughter of Wilbur G. Kurtz, Sr., historian and consultant hired to work on the set of GWTW who obtained the signatures in this book for his daughter. Autographs include those of all the main female characters as well as many others including: Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, Victor Fleming, Margaret Mitchell Marsh, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen and many others. Estimate: $10,000+.

Jefferson Airplane/Butterfield Blues Band Winterland/Fillmore Hand Colored Concert Poster BG-29 (Bill Graham, 1966): An original black and white concert poster, hand colored by the artist, Wes Wilson.

An RIAA Gold Record for The Doors Morrison Hotel: Presented to “Nipper Music” for “the sale of more than one million dollars worth of the Elektra Records Long-Playing Record Album,” with the gold disc mounted onto the white linen mat above a placard and miniature image of the album cover. Estimate: $2,000+.

Prop book from Beetlejuice: A prop book titled 'Handbook for the Recently Deceased' from Beetlejuice, Warner Bros., 1998, seen in a number of sequences including when Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis first realize they're dead, when Winona Ryder finds out their secret and when other dead characters are seen trapped in the eternal waiting room. This piece was consigned directly by J.C. Bennett, a young production assistant who worked on the film back in 1987-1988. While J.C. remembers a few identical handbooks like this that the Prop Department made, as more than one was used during filming, this one is an actual screen-used prop from the Tim Burton classic. Estimate: $2,000+.

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March 15, 2012

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