The original cowardly lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in the 1989 hit movie, Wizard of Oz, was sold for around 3.1 million dollars. While the piano used in the movie Casablanca also sold for around 3.4 million dollars. These two movie memorabilia are considered as iconic pieces. They were sold at Bonham’s auction for Turner Classic Movies.
The two memorabilia sold for more than $3 million with buyer’s premium. Though they neither broke the record, the sale price still exceeded the presale estimates.
James Comisar, museum founder of the Los Angeles TV, owned the Cowardly Lion costume and was auctiond for exactly $3,077,000 with a buyer’s premium worth $477,000. The costume was found by a junk dealer after it has been left in an abandoned MGM building and Comisar bought it. The Cowardly Lion is made up of real lion’s fur and professional museum curators preserved the costume. Though there were several costumes made for the film, it is said that the auctioned one is the most used in the screen.
The Casablanca piano, on the other hand, has been with a Los Angeles collector for a decade. It was auctioned for $3,413,000 and the buyer’s premium is worth $513,000. In the movie Casablanca, the piano was played by Dooley Wilson in Rick’s Cafe Americain. It was built in 1927 and was then used in several productions. The piano was modified; it could be open from the rear so anyone can hide papers.
The record holder for auction’s highest priced movie prop is the Maltese Falcon. It was paid for $4,085,000 at Bonham-Turner Classic Movies auction last year. While the overall record holder for a piece of movie memorabilia is the Aston Martin worth $4.6 million. It was used by James Bond, played by Sean Connery, in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The piece of TV memorabilia that holds the record is the 1960s TV Batmobile which was sold for $4.6 million.
The Turner Classic Movies and Bonhams have collaborated for this auction for two consecutive years. There were other items sold at the auction including the sword of Aragon from the movie Lord of the Rings ($437,000), a test dress of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz ($245,000) and a costume worn by Rita Hayworth from the movie Gilda ($161,000).