Thomas Armat's special Oscar sees 64.1% increase on estimate
The special Oscar awarded to inventor Thomas Armat sold as top lot on July 24
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 25 July 2012
The increasing demand for Oscar trophies at auction was demonstrated yesterday (July 24), when the award presented to Thomas Armat in 1947 saw a 64.1% increase on estimate at Heritage Auctions' Entertainment and Music Memorabilia sale.
Thomas Armat was the inventor of the world's first patented film projector. Together with the acclaimed inventors, Thomas Edison and Charles Jenkins, Armat co-invented what would later become known as the Vitascope, allowing moving pictures to be seen across the globe for the very first time. The special Oscar was presented to Armat at the age of 80, in recognition of his achievement.
Selling in the fitting surroundings of Beverly Hills, the award was expected to sell for $60,000. However, it soon soared past this estimate to achieve $98,500, and the title of top lot.
Despite the impressive increase, the award was still left in the dust by the $1.5m paid by Michael Jackson in 1999 for the best picture trophy awarded to Gone with the Wind - a world record sum for an Oscar.
The high prices paid by collectors for Oscar awards are fuelled by a 1950 rule enacted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences which prevents any awards given after that date from being sold without first being offered back to the Academy for $1. This has prompted frenzied bids from collectors, who are eager to add an award to their own collection before the scarce items disappear into others.
Emmy Awards are considerably less valued at auction, with the award for best makeup artist from Star Trek: Voyager currently selling at £3,000 in an upcoming online sale.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a brilliant selection of collectibles from Hollywood's Golden Age on offer. These jodhpurs were worn by Humphrey Bogart in an early stage performance and come with excellent provenance.
Recent and related articles
· Leon Shamroy Oscars total $339,941 in online auction | 1 May 2012
· Video: vintage movie poster treasure trove auctions in US | 14 March 2012
· "The Oscars news they're not telling you" | 8 March 2012
Guides and analysis
Images: Heritage Auctions