In December, Profiles in History is presenting items up for auction from the vampire that inspired it all: Bela Lugosi.
It was Hungarian-born Lugosi's portrayal as "Count Dracula" in the 1931 Universal classic Dracula that became the archetype for the character for generations to follow. Following the tremendous success in Dracula, Bela Lugosi became the quintessential horror actor.
Among his horror roles, Bela played "Ygor" in Son of Frankenstein (1939); "Dr. Mirakle" in Murders In the Rue Morgue (1932); "'Murder' Legendre" in White Zombie (1932); "Sayer of the Law" in Island of Lost Souls (1932) and "Frankenstein Monster" in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man in 1943.
There are seventeen lots in all, consigned by none other than Bela's son, Bela Lugosi, Jr., and they have never before been available for sale.
When one hears the name 'Dracula', it is difficult to imagine anyone but Bela Lugosi wearing his signature mode of dress - white tie and tails and a cape - which he wore in the 1931 Universal Pictures classic Dracula.
The Dracula cape embodies the iconic horror figure and is now up for auction.
The cape is screen-used and consigned by his son directly. Prior to his death in 1956, Bela Lugosi gave the cape to his wife of 20 years, Lillian Lugosi, and the mother of Bela Jr., telling her that it was the cape from the film and to keep the cape for his son.
Upon Lugosi's death in 1956, the family decided that he should be buried in his Dracula costume. Given Bela Lugosi's wish that his son should have the cape, the family dressed the body in a lighter weight version of the cape he used when making personal appearances.
Lillian retained the original 1931 cape and left it, along with her other possessions, to Bela Jr. upon her death in 1981. It has remained in his possession continuously. Without question, this is the greatest single horror garment in cinema history. The auction pre-sale estimate is $1,500,000 - $2,000,000.
Other items from Lugosi's family include, Bela's own near mint Dracula jumbo lobby card, The Return of the Vampire original U.S. title-card, a U.S. title card from Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, a selection of vintage photographs from the Lugosi family album, amongst others.
These items join the only pair of screen used Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz left on the market. These iconic shoes are from the climax of the film and are estimated at $2,000,000-3,000,000.
Also up for auction is the DeLorean classic car from Back to the Future III ($400,000 - $600,000) Marilyn Monroe's wedding ring from her marriage to Joe DiMaggio ($300,000 to $500,000) and a Marilyn Monroe nude painting by Earl Moran ($70,000 to $90,000).
Watch this space for the announcement of more iconic items up for auction.