The world’s most expensive movie memorabilia
How much of a movie nerd are you? Do you watch flicks every once in a while, or are you so obsessed you know every word of The Lord of the Rings trilogy – the director’s cut? If so, we’ve got a list you’ll start fixating on immediately: a breakdown of the world’s most expensive movie memorabilia. Get ready to geek out like never before… and if you’ve got an online casino jackpot in your back pocket, you might be able to score one of the items on our list for yourself at the same time!
1. James Bond’s car
The name’s Martin. Aston Martin. Or, Aston Martin DB5, to be exact. If that make and model sounds familiar, it’s because it’s probably one of the most iconic cars ever to appear on screen – driven by none other than Sean Connery himself in the James Bond spy flicks, Goldfinger and Thunderball. Presented to EON Productions for use in the Bond movies, the Aston Martin DB5 was in fact one of two identical cars used in the movies – one being the Effects Car, with all the gadgets James Bond has become known for, and one being the Road Car, used for normal driving shots.
The Effects Car was sadly stolen from its owner in Florida in 1997, while the Road Car, which had been retro-fitted with the same bells and whistles as the Effects Car for later use in Thunderball, was first sold to a radio exec in 1969 for $12 000, and later sold again in 2010, this time at auction for a massive $4.6 million! Interestingly enough, the same car was also used in the Burt Reynolds motor comedy, The Cannonball Run. Might be worth a watch just to see if you can spot it!
2. Robby the Robot
Long before Leslie Nielsen starred in the Naked Gun movies, he co-starred in the 1956 science fiction film, Forbidden Planet. Widely agreed to be a ground-breaking piece of cinema, one ahead of its time within the genre, the movie was nominated for an Academy Award, and is today an enduring cult classic. That’s not the most remarkable part of this story though – what stands out is that the film’s famed Robby the Robot character was purchased for a gigantic $5.3 million in 2017, along with his matching robot Jeep as well. With that big of a price tag, we hope that Robby at least helps around the house!
3. Marilyn Monroe’s dress
We don’t have to even tell you which dress – you already know. Obviously it’s the iconic white dress that she wore when famously standing over a subway grate, while filming The Seven Year Itch. Although we really wouldn’t recommend doing this in real life, as Anna Faris found out to her detriment in a scene from The House Bunny. Sold for $4.6 million in 2011, making it the most expensive movie costume ever purchased, the seller was none other than Hollywood royalty herself, the late Debbie Reynolds.
While the actress had originally purchased the dress with the intent of displaying it alongside the rest of her movie memorabilia collection, her long-hoped for museum sadly never came to fruition, and so her vast collection of props and costumes was put up for sale. Although you might not be willing to part with over $4 million to buy the dress itself (probably more these days because, inflation) we’re sure you could find a dressmaker willing to rustle up a more than reasonable facsimile for you. After all, Halloween is on the way, and you’ll need a costume. Just remember to add the right wig, because after all, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
4. Steve McQueen’s suit
No, not just any suit – and not a regular suit at that. We mean his driving suit of course, that of Le Mans legend. Worn by the man himself in the 1971 film, and one of only three surviving suits at that, the famed costume was sold in 2011 for an unbelievable $984 000. We wouldn’t recommend actually driving in it though – but what we would recommend is taking as good care of it as its previous owner, Timothy Davies, who managed to hold onto it for 40 years after winning it in a newspaper competition at the ripe old age of 12. We don’t know about you, but we think that’s an achievement that’s just as impressive as the selling price, perhaps even more so!
5. Aries 1B Space Shuttle
Or to give it its full name, the Aries 1B Trans-Lunar Spherical Space Shuttle, of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame. If you’re not a fan of the legendary Stanley Kubrick film, you might not understand why a simple space shuttle could cause such a huge stir, or command such a high price ($334 000 at auction, to be exact). In order to fully grasp the gravity of the situation, no pun intended, you’d need to know that Kubrick in fact demanded that all miniature versions of the spaceship be destroyed, to prevent them being used in other films. Which is why when it came to light that a three-foot replica of the space shuttle had been quietly sitting in an art school teacher’s studio for more than 40 years, the memorabilia world went nuts. The Aries 1B was eventually sold to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (they of Oscar fame) and is due to be displayed in its new Los Angeles museum, scheduled for completion later this year.
6. Audrey Hepburn’s dress
The memorabilia world loves dresses – in this case the gorgeous Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and copied thousands of times since then for parties and photo shoots. While style icon Hepburn is no longer with us, her chic Holly Golightly dress continues her legacy of elegance and grace, having fetched $807 000 at auction in 2006, and remaining a historic movie moment to this day.
7. Judy Garland’s slippers
We don’t mean the kind she wore before going to bed – we mean the dazzling red pair she wore in the time-honoured movie The Wizard of Oz. Although, while you may have thought only one pair of the ruby red sparklers existed, in fact more were made for the movie, with only four known pairs still surviving today. Little-known fact: in the original book, author L. Frank Baum’s slippers were silver, however for the film version, it was thought that red would show up better against the gold of the Yellow Brick Road – and so movie history was made!
Today one of the four pairs resides in the Smithsonian Museum, while a second was kept in The Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota, before being tragically stolen in 2005. Despite a $1 million reward being offered in 2015 for the slippers’ return, sadly they were never recovered. On a happier note, the third pair was sold for $666 000 in 2000, and the fourth was bought by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when it failed to reach its reserve price of $2 million. All of which essentially means that if you want a pair for yourself, you’ll either need to have oodles of money at your disposal, or have insane investigative skills. On second thought, it might just be easier to make some popcorn and cosy up on the couch with the movie. Because as Dorothy herself told us, “There’s no place like home.”
8. Marty McFly’s car
First things first, if you haven’t seen the Back to the Future trilogy with Michael J. Fox yet, you HAVE to go and watch it right now. Don’t worry, we’ll wait. Because no self-respecting movie buff would ever admit to not having seen this famed series of time-travelling movies. And what could be more defining than its one-of-a-kind time machine itself – the iconic DeLorean with gullwing doors, flux capacitor, and 1.21 gigawatts! (It’s an inside joke, you’ll understand when you see the movies.)
While six Deloreans were originally made for the movie series, today the whereabouts of only three are known. One is on display at Universal Studios in Hollywood, another is on show at Universal Studios in Orlando, and the third was sold at auction in 2011 for $541 000, partially benefiting Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. So if you do want a DeLorean of your own, that’s probably the best one to go for, which means you’ll need to not only pay an even higher purchase price, but more than likely donate to Michael J. Fox’s extremely worthy charity as well. It’ll all be worth it in the end though, because once you slip into the driver’s seat, where you’re going, you won’t need roads.
It’s difficult today to purchase iconic movie collectibles such as these, but not impossible. All you need is a little time, a lot of patience, a fairly fat wallet, and you could soon own a piece of movie history all your own. Now that’s worth a standing ovation!
Happy Spinning 🙂