December 2012 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Mr. Smith & James Bond Go to Auction

Oscar.pngCan't win an Oscar? Buy one. On Thursday of this week, Sotheby's New York will sell Lewis R. Foster's Academy Award for Best Original Story, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. This was the only Oscar awarded to the much acclaimed film in the very competitive year of 1939--year of The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind. This one comes with Foster's bound personal copies of his original novel, The Gentleman from Montana, and the adapted screenplay it became, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The auction estimate is a conservative $100,000-150,000. Early Oscars are rare on the market and can be blockbusters at auction; in 2011, Orson Welles' Oscar for Citizen Kane made $861,000, and more than a decade before that David O. Selznick's Oscar for Gone With the Wind took a record-breaking (and holding) $1.5 million.

Another fantastic film collectible coming to auction this week, also at Sotheby's, is James Bond's Walther gun, the one used by Sean Connery in publicity shots for four Bond films: From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice. It too is estimated to hit $100,000.  

Sotheby's will hold three major book & manuscript auctions this week--two in London, one in New York--boasting nearly twenty lots, including those above, that are estimated to reach the six-figure mark. The range of high spots is as exciting as the prices: Mick Jagger's love letters, a Jane Austen presentation first edition, six Charlotte Bronte letters tipped into Elizabeth Gaskell's biography, Julia Margaret Cameron's photo album, the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence, an E.H. Shepard's 'Pooh' drawing, and the best of the best color-plate books. What a week this should be!