Top 10 collectibles from Hollywood's golden age

Hollywood continues to churn out movies on a weekly basis, but there's a certain period that's touched by a golden aura.

Between the 1920s and the early 1960s, Hollywood came up with some of its most enduring characters and plots, each shot blessed with an inimitable style.

Today, that period is well celebrated by collectors, and collectibles from the era see top bids at auction. Further records are expected in Bonhams' upcoming auction with Turner Classic Movies.

Relive the golden age of Hollywood cinema through 10 of the finest collectibles.

10. James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause switchblade - $20,000

Dean and his co-star used real knives in the fight, protecting themselves with body armour - Image: Profiles in History

Compared to the average screen thug in 2014, James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause was a pussycat.

A bit of shouting here, a bit of pouting there: he's certainly not the most shocking rebel ever to grace the screens. Yet back in 1955, he was the ultimate antihero and the epitome of cool for teenagers around the world.

Even better, he was made for the role, living a fast-paced life on and off screen.

Of course, all men want to look like James Dean, but few (aside from James Franco) can pull off his inimitable cool. Owning the very switchblade from that iconic scene in Rebel Without a Cause would certainly help achieve the look…

The 13-inch blade handed to Dean in the famous knife fight appeared at Profiles in History in December 2013, selling for $20,000.

Amazingly, Dean and co-actor Corey Allen were both given real knives to use in the film, wearing chain mail tunics under their shirts.

9. Gone with the Wind negligee - $56,250

Most of the dresses from the civil war epic haven't withstood the tests of time - Image: Bonhams

Sadly, many of the dresses seen in the epic civil war drama Gone with the Wind have been lost or degraded over time, although some are being lovingly restored by a team of enthusiasts.

The few costumes that have made it to auction see huge bids because of their rarity, as well as the film's status as one of the all-time greats.

This negligee is one of those few, worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara under a lavish fox fur trimmed velvet cape in the scene in which Bonnie Blue dies.

It was given to a seamstress shortly after production ended on the occasion of her wedding, providing that touch of golden age glamour for her big day. We know a few collectors who would do almost anything for a Scarlett O'Hara dress at their wedding.

Making its way to Bonhams some 70+ years after the film released, it was still in great condition and even bore a "Selznick Int. Picture Inc" tag with "Scarlett" written on it.

The dress sold for $56,250 at Bonhams in 2013, leaving us wondering quite how much some of the more iconic gowns from the film might fetch should they ever come up for sale.

8. Gene Kelly's Singin' in the Rain suit - $106,250

One of the most iconic male costumes to come out of Hollywood - Image: Heritage Auctions

Doo da doo doo, duh duh, doo da doo doo…

Just try reading the title of the film and not getting images of Gene Kelly prancing around to that brilliant theme song stuck in your head.

It's impossible.

Singin' in the Rain, especially that scene, is perhaps the most famous musical number of all time and is still endlessly reworked in popular culture today.

However, after filming ended in 1952, there were no signs of the suit that Gene Kelly wore during the iconic scene. Like many costumes at MGM, it was put back into their repertoire to be re-used for later productions…

That is until the famous auction in 1970, when the studio opened up its archives with hundreds of actors' screen-worn clothes hanging on a myriad of racks.

By chance, one man stumbled across a suit with a label that read "Gene Kelly" and, noticing its water damaged interior (from Kelly's famous drenching), snapped it up right away.

As Heritage Auctions states, he had successfully guessed it was "THAT suit from THAT number from THAT musical".

The price he paid must have been ridiculously low back then, but that didn't stop one collector bidding $106,250 for it at Heritage Auctions in 2013 - a steal for one of the most iconic men's costumes in movie history.

 7. Citizen Kane trophy - $273,544

Citizen Kane trophy
One of the three most important props from the film - two of which we may never see at auction again - Image: Nate D Sanders

Citizen Kane was released back in 1941, but Hollywood still hasn't been able to outdo the achievement to this day, with the Orson Welles classic widely regarded as the greatest film of all time.

As such, props from the film are highly sought after, but due to their age, are exceedingly rare.

The three main props - the Rosebud sled, snow globe and trophy - provide something of a holy trinity for collectors, achieving almost mythical status.

The snow globe has never been seen since filming wrapped and is thought lost forever.

Steven Spielberg bought a balsawood example of the Rosebud sled back in 1982 for $60,500 - we won't be seeing that again anytime soon. Besides, a hardwood example turned up years later, making $233,500 at auction in 1996.

Still, Orson Welles refused to comment on the authenticity of either, stating only of the hardwood example's backstory: "I'm sure it could be true".

Which leaves us with the trophy…

In the film, the trophy is presented to Charles Foster Kane by his employees in the critical scene when he returns from Europe. Inscribed "Welcome home Mr Kane from 467 employees of the New York Inquirer", it is a great emblem of the film's legendary title character.  

It came up for auction in June 2012 at Nate D Sanders, with 23 bids pushing the final price to $275,544.

That's a sizeable sum, but we still think the trophy was undervalued - what price can you put on an iconic prop from the best movie ever made?

6. Casablanca piano - $602,800

The piano is played in La Belle Aurore rather than Rick's Cafe Americain - Image: Sotheby's

This piano caused quite the stir when it sold for $602,800 at Sotheby's in 2012. Bought by Leonardo DiCaprio, it's an incredible piece from one of the most beloved movies ever made.

Yet there are actually two pianos seen on-screen in Casablanca, and this is the lesser of the two, used in the flashback scenes at La Belle Aurore in Paris rather than Rick's Café Americain in Casablanca.

Yes, Dooley Wilson can still be seen tinkling out the old number "As Time Goes By" while sat at the piano, but it's not THE silver screen icon we were hoping for.

That piano, the showstopper that much of the film's action is centred around, will come up for sale at Bonhams' TCM auction this November, and is sure to see huge bids - possibly even a new record for film memorabilia.

5. Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's dress - $923,187

Admittedly the dress is a little less glamorous when not containing Hepburn's jewel-draped form

The most famous 'little black dress' of all-time…

Jaws dropped as Audrey Hepburn appeared on screen in 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's. Cigarette holder in mouth, draped in diamonds and wearing one of the most iconic dresses of the 20th century, Holly Golightly was an instant hit with viewers around the world.

Since then, that slinky little number has been named the best dress ever worn by a woman in a film (in a 2010 survey by LOVEFiLM) and is widely credited with making t

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