Ever wondered what happens to all the iconic costumes, cars, and props that are specially created for movie shoots? While most of them are either re-used or deemed to be trash, a few exceptional items are preserved for eternity. With the ever-increasing popularity of the entertainment industry, the value of movie memorabilia has skyrocketed in recent years as fans scramble to own a piece of cinematic history. We bring to you a list of the most expensive movie props ever sold.
Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot Dress from the movie My Fair Lady
(1964) — $3.7 million
Costume designer Cecil Beaton’s work on the Academy Award-winning 1964 film My Fair Lady saw him reach the height of his professional success. The film starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison had the former in a number of iconic costumes, the grandest of them being Eliza Doolittle’s black and white Ascot dress with the matching hat. The dress was selected to appear in every promotional still photograph and sketch of the Best Picture-winner, and by the time it was auctioned off, it pulled in a massive $3.7 million!
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 in the movie Goldfinger
(1964) — $4.1 million
Think of a classic Aston Martin, and it’s almost certain that the image of Sean Connery as 007 Agent James Bond driving through the winding roads of the Swiss Alps in Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965) will come to mind. The iconic DB5 in Goldfinger had a great impact on many people, including director Steven Spielberg who felt compelled to own one himself. The car used in the film, though, came with some special features — an ejector seat to get rid of unwanted passengers, tyre-tearing blades, a bulletproof rear windscreen, an inbuilt smoke machine and a pair of complementary machine guns. It was sold to collector Harry Yeaggy in 2010 by the auction house RM Auctions Automobiles of London for $4.1m.
Marilyn Monroe’s dress from the movie The Seven Year Itch
(1955) — $4.6 million
The image of Marilyn Monroe trying to keep her dress from flying in the air as she walks over a subway grate in New York City is probably one of the most recognised in pop culture. That scene from the movie The Seven Year Itch featured Monroe in a white cocktail dress designed by William Travilla — one that was sold for a whopping $4.6m at a Beverly Hills auction in 2011.
Apparently, the scene took 14 takes and three hours to perfect, and thousands of people gathered to watch it being captured on film. The dress, however, has reportedly become tarnished with time, turning into a yellowish brown colour.
The Maltese Falcon (1941) — $3.7 million
A statue known as The Maltese Falcon, used in the 1941 John Huston noir film of the same name, was sold at a Bonhams New York auction for $4.1 million, a price that included a $585,000 buyer’s premium, in 2013. The movie starred Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade who investigated the loss of the valuable statue after being commissioned by a mysterious, secretive woman played by actress Mary Astor.