The golden statuette, which Briarbrook Auctions had thought
would sell for $5,000 to $30,000 during the live and online
auction, was snapped up by an anonymous telephone bidder from
California. The price included the buyer's premium.
"Oscars are quite a rare commodity," Nanci Thompson, the owner
of the auction house, told Reuters. "There just aren't many
The Oscar was sold by an heir of Joseph C. Wright, who won it
for the film that starred Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature.
Thompson said there are perhaps less than 200 Oscars that have
been sold since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.
Oscars rarely come up for auction because since 1950 the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which hosts the annual Oscar
awards, has required winners to sign an agreement. It stipulates
that winners and their heirs will not sell the award before
giving the Academy the option to buy it for $1.
Wright, who died in 1985 at the age 92, won his Oscar before the
agreement was enforced. He was nominated for 12 Academy Awards
during his career and won twice. He also took home an Oscar for
best art direction, black and white, for the 1942 film "This
Thompson could not reveal the name of the buyer, who preferred
to remain anonymous, but said if she could, the name would be
"I can tell you that the Oscar is going back to California," she
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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