Auctions | May 24, 2018

Bonhams to Auction Movie Posters and Memorabilia From Robert Osborne’s Personal Collection

Gilda Columbia, 1946. U.S. one sheet poster, copy.jpgNew York—Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced Bonhams and TCM Present ... A Celebration of Robert Osborne, an auction of more than 400 posters and memorabilia from the estate of the beloved Turner Classic Movies host. The sale - which will take place June 13 at Bonhams New York - features Bette Davis’ personal Sarah Siddons award, rare one-sheet posters and other items from the host’s vast movie memorabilia collection. Highlights from the collection will be on preview at Bonhams New York on Madison Avenue on June 11 and a two-week online-only sale of additional lots from the estate will follow beginning on June 14. TCM will donate its proceeds from the sale to The Film Foundation while proceeds from the sale of the posters will benefit the Gingold Theatrical Group. 

Highlights from the collection include:

  • Bette Davis' personal Sarah Siddons award (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Working script pages from Gone With the Wind (estimate: $1,000-2000)
  • A rare one-sheet poster of Gilda (estimate: $20,000-30,000), the very first poster Osborne ever bought
  • A pristine one-sheet of Preston Sturges’ Sullivan's Travels (estimate: $8,000-12,000)
  • A one sheet of Rebecca (estimate: $4,000-5000) featuring haunting portraits of Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine
  • A one sheet of Laura (estimate: $6,000-7000)

Osborne's collection also reflects his interest in Broadway theatre. He was an avid collector of Hirschfeld prints, with many of his pieces featuring warm inscriptions from their celebrity subjects including Lauren Bacall, Stephen Sondheim and Lucille Ball.  The sale also includes fine art paintings that hung in Osborne’s apartment and personal items such as a pair of Van Cleef and Arpels cuff links, a Cartier watch and his tuxedo.

“For more than 22 years, Robert was the heart and soul of TCM, and was seen as the connective link between our fans and the classic films they love,” said Jennifer Dorian, General Manger TCM. “With the sale of Robert’s beloved posters and iconic film memorabilia, fans have the opportunity to once again connect with our beloved host and share a piece of his personal passion for classic film.” 

Dr. Catherine Williamson, director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams, worked with Osborne in 2014 when he consigned 50 posters from his collection to that year's TCM auction, There's No Place Like Hollywood. She commented: “He loved the directness, the clarity of a vintage Hollywood poster. You knew what you were getting when you looked at a one sheet from Hollywood's Golden Age, whether it was a comedy, a musical, a romance, or a western.” As they went through his collection together, he told her of browsing the Hollywood poster shops religiously during his early years in Hollywood, never paying more than $25 for a poster, and often spending less than $1.

In addition to the Osborne estate, the June auction also features classic Hollywood memorabilia from other sources, including a collection of Rudoph Valentino letters and photographs, a life portrait of actress Loretta Young by Hollywood portraitist Tino Costas, and a large selection of animation art.

Image: Gilda, Columbia, 1946. U.S. one sheet poster, style B, framed (estimate: $20,000-30,000)