Illustration by Briana Murphy for The Market Herald

Inside the Movie Archives: The 10 Most Expensive Film Props to Ever Sell at Auction

The curiosity and interest in movie memorabilia can sometimes be as noble as the films themselves. Many movie props have such a nostalgic air about them that fans are willing to pay exorbitant fees to own a piece of their favourite movie franchise. On the back of Tom Hanks’ ‘Wilson’ Volleyball selling for over A$400,000, here’s a look at some other classic movie props that sold for staggering prices.

Rick Deckard’s Pistol from Blade Runner

The pistol used by Harrison Ford in the original Blade Runner sold at auction for over A$370,000 in 2012. In the 1982 classic, the sidearm carried by Rick Deckard was constructed from a Steyr Mannlicher .222 Model SL and a Charter Arms Bulldog revolver. The original prop was fitted with different bolt and screw heads, as well as six LED lights to give the pistol a more futuristic look.

Deckard’s Pistol from Blade Runner
Source: IMAX

James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger

Does a car count as a movie prop? When it’s as iconic as an Aston Martin in James Bond it certainly does. In 2010, auction house RM Auctions Automobiles in London sold an Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger for over A$6.32 million. The stylish car, driven by Sean Connery who played the legendary spy, appeared in both 1964’s Goldfinger and 1965’s follow-up Thunderball.

James Bond Aston Martin movie prop from Goldfinger
Source: The Guardian

Michael J. Fox-autographed hoverboard from Back to the Future Part II

A mega movie franchise that forever lives in the hearts of fans is the cult classic Back to the Future. It was 1989’s part II of the franchise where Michael J. Fox’s character Marty Mcfly travels from 1985 to 2015 and experiences the gadgets, toys and the lifestyle of the ‘future’. An original prop from the film, a Michael J. Fox-autographed Hoverboard originally produced by toy company Mattel, sold in November 2021 for over A$550,000 on an estimate of between A$110,000 and A$145,000.

Back to the Future Part II hoverboard
Source: Digital Trends

Steve McQueen’s racing suit from Le Mans

When movie icon Steve McQueen depicted a fictional interpretation of one of the world’s most famous races, the 24 Hours of Le Mans it was an instant hit. The 1971 movie featured actual footage captured during the previous years race and the Hinchman Nomex racing suit wore by Steve McQueen became a legendary costume. In 2011 the piece sold for almost A$1.4 million having previously been owned for four decades by Timothy Davies who won the costume when he was 12.

Steve McQueen’s racing suit from Le Mans
Source: The Guardian

The Darth Vader mask from Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Few movie franchises in the world command a fanbase as dedicated as Star Wars. Memorabilia from the George Lucas created universe routinely sells for mega money. And nothing quite gets fans as excited as an original movie prop from the films. In September 2019 Star Wars lovers swarmed to a Los Angeles auction when The Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader fibreglass mask went up for sale. The piece featured an estimated price of over A$680,000 via the Hollywood auctioneer ‘Profiles in History.’ Once the hammer went down, however, the helmet sold for nearly twice that much, selling to an anonymous buyer for over A$1.2 million.

Darth Vader mask from Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back
Source: Lovemoney

The Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz

The legendary 1939 film The Wizard of Oz featured many now-famous props including dresses and costumes. The pair of Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland, of which only five pairs are believed to have survived, is certainly in that category. The last pair to sell at auction in 2012 fetched A$2.75 million bought by famous faces in the movie world, Leonardo DiCaprio and Steven Spielberg as a donation to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz
Source: Lovemoney

The Statuette from The Maltese Falcon

A true classic of the film noir genre, 1941’s The Maltese Falcon starred screen legend, Humphrey Bogart as detective Sam Spade. The movie’s most famous prop, the lead Statuette, sold for over A$5.6 million at auction in 2013. While there’s been speculation the prop could be one of the plaster stand-ins instead of the 25kg original, the prop was verified by damage to the tail feather sustained when actress Lee Patrick dropped it on set.

The Maltese Falcon Statuette
Source: MUBI

Marilyn Monroe’s White Dress from The Seven Year Itch

There is simply denying Marilyn Monroe’s stardom. And the white ivory cocktail dress adorned by the beloved actress in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch, is considered an icon of film history in itself. Designed by costume designer William Travilla, the dress produced one of the most iconic images of the 20th century – Monroe standing above a subway grate and the dress blowing up around her. The piece sold at auction in Los Angeles in 2011 for over A$7.6 million.

White Dress from The Seven Year Itch
Source: Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Indiana Jones’ Fedora from Raiders of the Lost Ark

The first Indiana Jones film in 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark grossed the equivalent of A$1.5 billion adjusted for inflation. It’s therefore no surprise that the famous fedora hat worn by leading actor Harrison Ford sold for over A$719,000 at a Prop Store London auction in 2018. Featuring Ford’s signature on its inner band, the icon piece was designed by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas.

Indiana Jones' Fedora from Raiders of the Lost Ark
Source: Showbiz Cheat Sheet

T-800 Terminator from Terminator 2: Judgment Day

James Cameron’s The Terminator is a classic. Its successor, 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, is considered one of the best sequels ever made. The momentous action movie laid the foundations for some of the best scenes in modern movie history. While fans scramble to get their hands on a piece of the movie’s memorabilia, is the film’s animatronic props that fetch the highest prices. A full-scale T-800 endoskeleton, the only model with real metal and used in the opening scene of the film, sold for over $670,000 at a California auction in 2007.

T-800 Terminator from Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Source: Stan Winston School

If you’re interested in reading more about famous movie memorabilia, popular games or vintage collectables, have a look at our collectables articles.

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