The movie industry in America has been going strong for decades and is so well-loved by the public that they’ll pay almost anything for a piece of Hollywood history. Famous movie props and costumes are often sold at auction for steep prices, but some are downright outrageous. Here are some of the most expensive bits of movie magic sold at auction.
- Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers: Worn on the feet of Judy Garland in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, these are no ordinary pair of kitten heels. There are only four known pairs of surviving ruby slippers, and they are considered one of the most valuable props in cinema history. One pair resides in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on permanent display. The last pair sold for $666,000 at auction in 2000.
- The Maltese Falcon: In 2013, the statuette of the Maltese Falcon from the Humphrey Bogart film of the same name sold for $4.1 million. This statuette was advertised as the original prop from the 1941 film, but a range of plaster falcons have been put forward over the years as likely candidates. Despite the hefty price given for the one sold at auction, the true Maltese Falcon may never be identified for sure.
- Marilyn Monroe’s White Dress: In The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe struck an iconic pose. As she stood over a sewer grate, her white dress flew up around her legs and demurely kept it down from rising any further. This small moment made the dress one of film history’s most iconic garments and it sold for $4.6 million in 2011 at a Beverly Hills auction.
- Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber: The Star Wars series continues even today, a certain indicator of the franchise’s power over its fans. In 2008, the lightsaber that Luke Skywalker used in the original movies sold for $240,000. As these movies were made in the decades before CGI and high-tech props, the light saber was made from an old Graflex camera’s handheld flash tube and a wooden pole. The original lightsaber cost about $12 for the production crew to make.
For those who purchase these pricey props, they can have the pride of owning a valuable piece of cinematic history. For everyone who doesn’t have millions to spend on a dress or a statue of a falcon, watching the films again and again will have to suffice.