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Oscar Trash Turns Into Treasure; Auction Nets $3M

Meryl Streep, Octavia Spencer and Jean Dujardin all cherished their coveted Oscars at the 84th Annual Academy Awards, but over time, even these statuettes may become unwanted–albeit expensive–junk.

Some 15 unwanted Academy Awards were sold at auction this week by Los Angeles auctioneer Nate D. Sanders.

The sale raised a record-breaking $3 million including the buyer’s premium. And these statues aren’t just for obscure technical merit achievements.

“People continue to be drawn to the magic of the movies and were extremely enthusiastic bidding on the Oscars, which accounted for the high demand and sales prices,” said Sanders in a statement.

The sale included Herman Mankiewicz’s 1941 Best Screenplay Academy Award for Orsen Well’s “Citizen Kane.” It fetched $588,455. The Academy Award has changed hands several times over the years.

Christie’s sold the award in 1999 for $244,500. Last December, Sanders sold Orson Welles’ very own “Citizen Kane” Academy Award for $861,542.

The 1941 Academy Award for Best Picture went to “How Green Was My Valley,” directed by John Ford, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and written by Philip Dunne. The Oscar could have belonged to any one of them. It sold for $274,520.

The film, which starred Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Anna Lee, Donald Crisp and Roddy McDowall, is notable because it topped “Citizen Kane” top picture honors. Christie’s previously auctioned the Oscar in 2004 for $95,600.

Best Picture Oscars seem to be in ready supply. Also included in the auction was the 1933 Best Picture Oscar to “Cavalcade.” It sold for $332,165. “Cavalcade” was the first picture produced by Fox Film to win a Best Picture Oscar.

The 1931 Academy Award for Best Picture, won by “Skippy,” netted the third highest total in the Oscar collection. It sold for $301,973. The award is significant because it’s the first ever offered for Best Picture.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Don Marquis, Norman Z. McLeod and Sam Mintz wrote the screenplay based on the comic strip Skippy. Star Jackie Cooper, then 9, became the youngest person to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Among other Oscars up for auction:

•  Citizen Kane cinematographer Gregg Toland’s 1939 Oscar for his work on “Wuthering Heights” sold for $226,876. In 2004, Hantman’s sold the Academy Award for $27,500.

• Ronald Colman’s 1947 Best Actor Oscar for “A Double Life” sold for $206,250.

• Charles Coburn’s 1943 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “The More the Merrier” sold for $170,459. It was the first year supporting actors received the award.

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