The literary archive of American actor and comedian Milton Berle (1908-2002) led Bonhams' entertainment auction on May 5, bringing $158,500 - a 5.6% increase on its $150,000 high estimate.
Comprising both bound and loose scripts from Berle's extensive and far-reaching radio, stage and television career, the archive also includes examples of Berle's personal correspondence, as well as 10 banker's boxes containing documents relating to his theatrical business interests.
Milton Berle's joke file, packed with thousands of jokes, also sold with strong results, making $64,900 - a whopping 337.2% increase on its $15,000 top valuation - while a group of vaudeville posters relating to Berle's performances sold for $1,062.
Milton Berle was known for his snappy one-liners, which include: "I take New Years with a grain of salt and three aspirins," and "I'm 83 and I feel like a 20 year old. Unfortunately there's never one around."
Other stand out lots include a pair of granite tablets from Paramount's 1961 film The Ten Commandments, which were used in publicity photographs ($60,000), and a golden JR belt buckle, worn by Larry Hagman as the ruthless oil baron JR in the popular American television series Dallas ($18,750). The latter, estimated to be worth just $5,000, sold with a 275% increase on estimate.
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