Part Two of Debbie Reynolds' Hollywood memorabilia auction took place on December 4, 2011. The first one held earlier in the year netted millions for the legendary actress who had the foresight to purchase costumes, props and equipment at bargain prices when movie studios cleaned out their warehouses in the early 1970s.
Reynolds planned to display her collection in a museum, but that ultimately was not to be. Recently she decided to sell off her more than 1,000 piece collection.
There were 415 lots filled with memorabilia at the auction, including a suit of armor worn by Jean Seberg in Otto Preminger's Saint Joan. Most items had a low reserve of a few hundred dollars, but the reserve for the Seberg piece was $15,000-$20,000.
The highest bids went to costumes worn by Marilyn Monroe, including a strapless gown she wore in Let's Make Love, which sold for $295,200. Two others worn by Monroe in Joshua Logan's Bus Stop and Preminger's Niagra went for six figures. A camera used to film Citizen Kane sold for $92,500, and another for 2001: A Space Odyssey sold for $86,100.
But perhaps the biggest surprise was Seberg's suit of armor. To many, the estimated selling price was high, but it ultimately sold for $46,125 and was one of the highest selling items at the auction.
In comparison, Judy Garland's wedding dress from The Pirate went for $22,500; Clark Gable's uniform from Homecoming sold at over $23,000; a few Doris Day costumes from Jumbo and Glass Bottom Boat went for four figures each; and Barbra Streisand's Funny Girl sailor outfit brought in $30,750. An ostrich outfit Streisand wore in the same film also sold for less. Streisand was among the 18,000 hopefuls who auditioned for Saint Joan, but seventeen-year-old Jean Seberg from Marshalltown, Iowa was ultimately chosen for the title role.
Apparently Jean still has a significant following and her fans drove the Saint Joan suit of armor to sell for more than double the expected price. It is not known who purchased the costume, but it is hoped they will consider donating the piece to the Orpheum Theater Center in Seberg's hometown of Marshalltown to be displayed alongside other Seberg memorabilia. GM
Description from Auction site:
UA, 1957) Elaborate and exceedingly authentic full suit of Medieval-period French armor. Designed in 1910 by the Keeper of the King’s Armory, Sir Guy Laking, and fashioned by Felix Jaubert. It was worn on the British stage in various Joan of Arc productions until 1916, including Ellaline Terriss and Lady Martin Harvey, then became part of the collection of noted antiquarian Jensen, and upon his death was acquired by the renowned theatrical costumer Nathan’s. It was sourced from them by John McCorry for the teenage-frame of Jean Seberg as “Joan of Arc” in Otto Preminger and Graham Greene’s film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play. Constructed of hand-formed steel with leather strap fasteners and heavy steel chain-mail coif, sleeves, and skirt; this is the complete head-to-toe armor created for the film, though in the final print she appears on screen only after removing the helmet, coif, and hand and foot shields. The sword included is authentic style for the period, and has a genuine maker’s mark. Though not the exact one she carries on screen, it is attributed to the production. Most if not all leather fasteners have been replaced post-production, and the hand-guards, which do not appear in the film, vary from the film’s publicity photos. The shoulder guards were photographed for catalog illustration in reversed positions from that as screen-worn. Casting for this lead role is one of the great anecdotes of Hollywood history, with director Preminger so determined to present a fresh unexploited and innocent face, he cattle-called some 18,000 teenage girls at theaters across America to find her, yielding a highly tempestuous life and 20-year career for Seberg, the victim of a suspicious death at age 40.