Profiles in History sold the first part of the Debbie Reynolds collection on Saturday 18th June. The sale – which featured over 500 lots – was packed full of iconic movie memorabilia.
Speaking before the auction, George Lucas explained the significance of the sale:
As a filmmaker and a lover of cinema, I have always appreciated the many disciplines that go into making a film – the props, the costumes, all the aspects that come together to make the whole as great as the sum of its parts. I have archived all the important pieces from my own films, and I am a staunch believer it’s important that we all make an effort to preserve our cinematic heritage – before it’s too late.
Fortunately for all of us, Debbie Reynolds has collected a wonderful array of costumes, and artifacts from her own personal cinematic history. As a shining star from one of the industry’s most vibrant periods, her private collection is a holy grail of screen memorabilia and an intimate glimpse into Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Thanks to Debbie, these iconic pieces are intact and in excellent condition – a rarity in an industry too often driven by the Next Big Thing, rather than by respect for its past. As time passes, there are fewer opportunities for fans to avail themselves – firsthand – of this rich heritage, and I hope that true cinema-philes will see this collection for what it is: a treasure.
Among the lots sold was the white dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. It sold for $4.6 million (£2.8 million). A red sequined dress and feathered headdress worn for Monroe’s role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes reached $1.47 million (£900,000).
Charlie Chaplin’s trademark bowler hat worn in several films reached $135,300 (£83,000). A dress and pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the filming of The Wizard of Oz sold for $1.75 million (£1 million) despite not having appeared in the film.
Reynolds began collecting props and costumes in 1970 and had amassed some 3,500 items. The mother of actress Carrie Fisher, Reynolds was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in 1964’s The Unsinkable Molly Brown.