Lights, Camera, Action. Time for the great costume drama

Auctioneers and collectors have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief at some of this movie memorabilia snapped up for staggering prices.

From Star Wars to Harry Potter, from Grease to Godzilla, everyone, with money to invest and a love of the cinema, wants a piece of the action.

Most popular and highly-prized are genuine movie costumes worn by Hollywood A-listers.

Here’s our focus on a high-five of the best sold at auction in recent times…

A broken zip, but Olivia’s jeans still go for £405,700


1. Legend has it that Olivia Newton John had to be sewn into the jeans she wore for the You’re the One That I Want duet with John Travolta in Grease.

The fact they were sold with a broken zip might lend some support to that story.

A broken zip certainly did not deter the buyer though.

He or she paid £405,700 to acquire the pants and leather jacket combo at the US auction in October.


Joker Jack’s £60,000 slam-dunk


2. Cowls and capes from the Batman movie franchise have always attracted big numbers but how about the villain of the piece? 

This year, in London, Jack Nicholson’s Joker out-fit from Tim Burton’s classic 1989 Batman went under the hammer. Experts confidently expected it to sell for between £30,000 and £50,000 but they were slightly behind the curve. It sold for £60,000 at the Prop Store auction.

The Joker character costumes were created by Academy Award-nominated designer Bob Ringwood. The outfits were designed to express character’s crazy mind-set. They became increasingly vibrant and outrageous as he descended further into madness throughout the film.

Jack Nicholson had some input into his character’s appearance too. The striking purple matches are those of his favourite Basketball team – the LA Lakers. It’ll be interesting to see how costumes from the latest blockbuster incarnation of The Joker, created by Joaquin Pheonix, are received when they come up for sale.

Incidentally the Batman suit worn by Michael Keaton pipped the joker at £65,000 at the auction.

Buyer shelled out £9k for De Niro’s Pea Coat


3. In 1974 Robert De Niro played a young Vito “Don” Corleone in what is regarded the greatest Mafia movie ever.

In early scenes of DeNiro playing Vito as a young man preferred a ‘pea coat’ popular with sailors in the British Navy and later adopted by the American workmen at the time the film was set.

The actual Pea Coat (it comes from the Dutch word for coat pije which pronounced pea).  It was sold in London for £9,000, slightly under its estimate, but a bargain for anyone with a sense of cinema history.

Jurassic classic by the ‘father’ of the raptor


4. The late, great Richard Attenborough played John Hammond, the man who harnessed time-frozen genes to revive dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Fortunately, the concept is still a work of fiction. Attenborough’s tropical hat and costume used in the Spielberg blockbuster is very much not a work of fiction.

Hammond, the fictional visionary founder of Jurassic Park, wore his iconic all-white costume throughout the entire movie, from his first appearance inviting Doctors Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Satler (Laura Dern) to visit Jurassic Park, to the moment in the finale when he boarded the helicopter to escape.

A simple shirt and chinos they might be, but they sold for £15,000 this summer.

No rust on Iron Man’s coolest suit


5. Iron Man Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) desert costume display from Jon Favreau’s superhero film Iron Man was trending at the auction. Downey Jr wore the suit during a failed assassination attempt on him in Afghanistan that led to his becoming Iron Man.
The suit, consisted of a hand-made navy blue, vertically striped double-breasted David August jacket. It is graced with an interior label, which reads “Custom Styled for Robert Downey Jr”.

For authenticity, the trousers with an order label for “R. DOWNEY JR. 3” with “March 7, 2007” stitched into the back-right pocket; According to the catalogue, accessories included a sky-blue-and-white striped cotton blend button-up shirt; a navy blue floral silk Valentino tie; a black leather John Varvatos belt with a steel buckle; a pair of black leather lace-up loafers and a pair of multicolour striped cotton socks. The whole package sold for £12,000.

So, do you have any rare movie props or memorabilia laying about? We’d love to hear from you.

We also have a whole range of film and TV collectibles that YOU could own. Click here to view the range >>

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