Entertainment

Early Oscars for Citizen Kane, Wuthering Heights sold

More than a dozen Academy Awards honouring the achievements of classic movies like Wuthering Heights, Citizen Kane and How Green Was My Valley have fetched more than $3 million US at a Los Angeles auction.

1930s, 1940s-era Academy Awards fetch more than $3 million US in Los Angeles

The U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has had mixed success blocking the sale of Oscar statues awarded before 1950. (Chris Carlson/Associated Press )

More than a dozen Academy Awards honouring the achievements of classic movies like Wuthering Heights, Citizen Kane and How Green Was My Valley have fetched more than $3 million US at a Los Angeles auction.

Auctioneer Nate D. Sanders announced the sales figures late Tuesday.

"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," Sanders said in a statement.

The lots included:

  • A 1933 best-picture Oscar for Cavalcade, which sold for $332,165 (all prices US and including buyer's premium).
  • A 1941 best-picture Oscar for How Green Was My Valley, which sold for $274,520.
  • Youngest ever best-director winner Norman Taurog's 1931 Oscar for the film Skippy, which sold for $301,973. Taurog was 32 years old at the time.
  • Herman Mankiewicz's 1941 best-screenplay Oscar for Citizen Kane, which sold for $588,455 US. He shared the honour with the writer, director and star Orson Welles. It was the only Oscar for the legendary film.
  • The 1939 best-cinematography Oscar for Wuthering Heights, which sold for $226,876 US. It was the only Academy Award won by the classic film.
  • The first-ever Oscar for special effects, awarded in 1938 to Farciot Edouart for Spawn of the North. It sold for $96,227.
The same auction house sold Orson Welles' 1941 Citizen Kane screenplay Oscar, seen displayed in 2007, in December for $861,542. (Frank Franklin II/Sothebys/Associated Press)

The Los Angeles auction house made headlines in 2011 when it announced the upcoming sale of Welles' 1941 best-screenplay Oscar for Citizen Kane. 

The statuette eventually sold for $861,542 in December.

The U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars each year, enacted a rule in 1950 that it must be given first rights to buy any Oscar hardware destined for sale (and for a nominal sum).

In the past, the academy has filed lawsuits in an attempt to block sales of the prestigious golden statuettes awarded prior to 1950.

However, the group has had mixed success in court. Though it stopped the sale of Oscars won by silent film star Mary Pickford, for instance, it lost other legal battles, like in the case of Welles or the late Michael Jackson's purchase of the 1939 best-picture Oscar awarded to Gone with the Wind.

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