The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, September 22, 2019


Barnebys outlines the growth of the celebrity market
A stunning scarlet red dress worn by Marilyn Monroe made £120,000 at Christie’s.


LONDON.- Among the million objects listed daily for sale on Barnebys search engine, provided by some 2,000 auction houses globally, there is a significant and growing amount of so called celebrity memorabilia.

This area of collecting is seeing a huge growth in prices paid. Take just one item, the little gingham dress worn by Judy Garland as ‘Dorothy’ in the Wizard of Oz. In 2012 it sold for $490,000 and just two years later this plain simple little blue gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie sold for $1.56m at auction in New York.

Described as bearing sweat stains around the neck but in good condition, the costume was believed to be one of only two such pinafores that Garland actually wore on-screen for the classic musical. It was sold to an unidentified buyer bidding by telephone.

A year before in 2014, the cowardly lion costume worn in the movie by actor Bert Lahr, including the sculpted likeness of Lahr’s face, sold for almost $3.1m.

What is going on here? Are people crazy? It would seem so. But in this age obsessed by celebrity there is a desire to own something once owned by your favourite celebrity.

There is a very fine line between what is collectable and what is weird. The following pieces of celebrity memorabilia snapped up by collectors show that people will buy just about anything belonging to a celebrity, regardless how gross. William Shatner's kidney stone; Britney Spears pregnancy test, Justin Timberlake's french toast, a tissue used by Scarlett Johansen, a drop of Ronald Reagan’s blood, Justin Bieber’s hair and John Lennon’s tooth have all found eager buyers. As have Willie Nelson’s braids and Hitler’s personal telephone.

The cult of celebrity is so powerful it seems that collectors will pay more for memorabilia touched and used by famous people because they believe it has something of the essence of the celebrity who once owned it and in this way that get to own a piece of the celebrity.

Auction houses are all too familiar with this trend and the major auction houses vie with each other to sell this material. In a month’s time celebrity author, Jackie Collins lifetime of collections comes up for sale in LA.

At Julien’s Auction House, Highlights of Marilyn Monroe items from The Collection of David Gainsborough-Roberts included a sheer black beaded and sequined dress worn by Monroe in her Golden Globe winning role Sugar Kane as she crooned “I’m Through With Love” in the award winning 1959 film Some Like it Hot; an elaborate embellished stage gown worn by Monroe as she sang “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It” in the 1953 comedy There’s No Business Like Show Business which was designed by one of Marilyn’s all-time favourite designers, William Travilla. The material sold for record prices.

A simple search on Barnebys website lists the top ten / most expensive movie props/memorabilia. Barnebys is the world's largest free price bank that includes everything at auction.

A stunning scarlet red dress worn by Marilyn Monroe made £120,000 at Christie’s and a black Givenchy evening gown worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s sold for £467,200. Some of the most expensive Hollywood gowns to ever hit the auction market.

Cars are major players in this field of movie memorabilia, at RM Sotheby’s a Bond Aston Martin DB5 made £2,912,000 and the 007 Lotus Esprit ‘Submarine Car’ sold for £616,000.

Other much sought after memorabilia includes pieces from: Back to the Future, including the iconic Delorean which sold for £29 600, the Batmobile as well as Star Wars pieces and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory golden tickets, actual Wonka bars and more.

A whip from the Harrison Ford Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sold for £47,000 recently. Everyone it seems, especially the whip smart want a crack at this market!






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