Robby the Robot will auction this November

Robby the Robot, arguably film's most important science fiction prop, auctions on November 21.

The seven-foot high costume/automaton will star at Bonhams' Out of this World! auction in New York.

Robby the Robot

Robby caused a sensation in 1956

Robby's debut in 1956 film Forbidden Planet caused such a sensation that he re-appeared in several subsequent films and shows, including 1957's The Invisible Boy, The Addams Family and Columbo.

Bonhams has not provided an estimate. However, we anticipate Robby making around $3 million, which would place it alongside the likes of the Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz in terms of value.

The most valuable piece of film memorabilia ever sold is Marilyn Monroe's dress from The Seven Year Itch. It auctioned in 2011 for $5.6 million.

MGM's prop department spent $125,000 constructing Robby, who can be controlled by an invisible (and probably rather hot) operator on the inside or by external remote control.

Collector Jim Brucker acquired Robby in 1971 and displayed him at his Movie World/Cars of Stars museum in California. Brucker then sold him to Forbidden Planet fanatic and film director William Malone, who restored Robby to his original condition, with the help of MGM spare parts.

This is the first time Robby has come to auction.

Robby Robot and Columbo

"Just one more thing..."

"Robby the Robot is, simply, the heart of Forbidden Planet, the moral center of the film, as well as the key narrative device,” says Bonhams' director of entertainment, Dr Catherine Williamson.

"As such he is a major piece of entertainment memorabilia, one that any serious collector would be proud to own.”

Forbidden Planet has a legion of fans and collectors. Anne Francis' Altaira costume recently auctioned for $37,500, while a blaster used in the film made $35,000.

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