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Turner Classic Movies Teams Up With Julien’s Auctions (Exclusive)


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An Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress by Hubert de Givenchy, a shield carried by Chris Evans in Captain America: The First Avenger, and a 1920s yacht seen in 1957’s Pal Joey are among the high-profile lots in a July sale that also celebrates a just-announced collaboration between Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies.

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A shield for ‘Captain America’ starring Chris Evans that’s in the Julien’s Auctions TCM sale.

Julien’s Auctions

Since 2013, TCM had been partnering with London-based auction house Bonhams to produce annual sales of Hollywood memorabilia. But, explaining the change, Pola Changnon, general manager of Turner Classic Movies, says that Julien’s Auctions’ exclusive focus on costumes, props and other entertainment artifacts ultimately seemed like a better fit for TCM. “For us Bonhams was a fantastic partner, but their core business was never Hollywood memorabilia,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter exclusively. “With Julien’s, we’re working with an auction house that not only devotes all their expertise to this category, they also have a built-in audience of collectors they’re marketing these auctions to, and that’s fantastic for us. It’s just a marriage of the right place at the right time.”

“We agree that it’s a perfect match,” says Martin Nolan, executive director of Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions. “We began conversations a few months ago — we knew [TCM] had a relationship with Bonhams, and we’ve always respected that. But we were genuinely excited when they reached out to us, because it is an ideal relationship. The entertainment space is our sole focus for fans, investors and museums, while their target audience is completely aligned with ours. The more we talked, the bigger the conversation got.”

In addition to its focus on entertainment memorabilia, the smaller size of Julien’s Auctions, versus large-scale auction houses like Christie’s or Sotheby’s, likewise appealed to TCM execs. “We liked the idea that there wouldn’t be many layers to get to the right person,” Changnon says, adding that the network often is contacted by descendants of Hollywood stars looking for advice. “We’re approached by family members saying, ‘We’ve got this incredible treasure trove [of memorabilia], can you point us in the right direction? Who can we trust?’ Our relationships have meant a lot in this space, and we want to trust them to someone we know will take equal care.”

Nolan understands that thinking. “We have always tried to be on the cutting edge, but we’re also not among the auction houses that produce 400 events in a year,” he says. “We do 20 auctions a year at most, so that enables our team to not only put all our efforts on one sale, it also allows us to act nimbly and quickly.”

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A yacht seen in Pal Joey that’s included in the Julien’s Auction TCM sale.

Julien’s Auctions

Over the years Julien’s has sold a variety of high-profile lots, including one that made headlines recently: the Jean Louis gown worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1962 when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. Julien’s sold the dress in 2016 to winning bidder Ripley Entertainment, the umbrella company of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museums, for $4.81 million, a record price for a dress sold at auction. Kim Kardashian put a high-wattage spotlight on the dress when she wore it last week on the red carpet at the Met Gala, the annual fundraiser for the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2009, Julien’s sold a white glove owned by Michael Jackson for $480,000, achieving a record price for that accessory item as well.

TCM and Julien’s will inaugurate their collaboration with a sale set to take place in Beverly Hills July 15-17. Julien’s Auctions and TCM Present: Hollywood Legends will feature more than 1,400 items over the three-day sale, an assortment of lots that spans a wide range of decades and product categories, from a Joseff of Hollywood necklace worn by Barbara Stanwyck in 1937’s Stella Dallas to a Nimbus 2001 broomstick used by Tom Felton in 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. For the first time, Julien’s also will auction off a yacht, the Sobre Las Olas, a 1920s vessel once owned by J. Paul Getty and used as the location for scenes between Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth in 1957’s Pal Joey.

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A catalogue cover of the Hollywood Legends sale showing an original Stormtrooper helmet from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Julien’s Auctions

“Who auctions off a yacht?” Changnon says with a laugh. “We also have something from Pulp Fiction, and that variety is something we also really love about this upcoming event, that we’re really getting our arms around a large swath of Hollywood history.” The Pulp Fiction lot is the wallet carried by Samuel L. Jackson in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film; emblazoned with “Bad Mother Fucker” on its front, the wallet was seen in the diner robbery scene and is estimated to sell for between $10,000 and $20,000. The Sobre Las Olas, meanwhile, is expected to fetch the highest price at the event, carrying an auction estimate of $1.5 to $2 million.

That variety is something Julien’s is emphasizing in the five catalog covers it has produced for the July event, featuring everything from an original Stormtrooper helmet from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (auction estimate: $200,000 to $300,000) to a scene featuring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in which Hepburn is seen in a two-piece ensemble by Hubert de Givenchy, who famously designed the actress’s costumes for many of her films. “Hepburn’s costumes by Givenchy don’t come up too often for sale,” Nolan notes of the lot, which carries an auction estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.

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A gown, designed by William Travilla and worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1954’s There’s No Business Like Show Business.

Julien’s Auctions

A Captain America shield, screen-used and carried by star Chris Evans in 2011’s The First Avenger, the first of the Marvel superhero’s trilogy, is estimated to sell for between $60,000 and $80,000 and likewise speaks to the sale’s variety. “It’s crafted of aluminum, with leather hand straps, and was the shield used for close-ups,” Nolan says. “It comes from someone who had this in their own private collection for many years and felt that the market is strong right now, so it’s the ideal time to sell. It may go for more than $100,000.”

Given Kardashian’s appearance in both the “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” gown at the Met Gala and a second dress owned by the film icon and worn by the reality star later the same evening, collectors may exhibit a heightened interest in Marilyn Monroe items, including a nude-illusion crepe gown featuring starbursts of silver and pearlized beading and embroidery; Monroe wore the gown, designed by William Travilla, in 1954’s There’s No Business Like Show Business while performing “After You Get What You Want You Don’t Want It.”

“Interest in items worn by Marilyn Monroe never fades,” says Nolan, who adds that costumes worn by Monroe and Jane Russell in publicity photos for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as well as personal items from Monroe’s wardrobe, are also part of the sale.

Fold in lots that include a collection of costume jewelry owned by Elizabeth Taylor, a Lawrence of Arabia script owned by Oscar-winning film editor Anne V. Coates (containing her original notes and those by director David Lean), and items that once belonged to both James Garner and Robert Stack, and Nolan says the collaboration with TCM is kicking off on a good note.

“We’re really pulling out all the stops for this one,” says Nolan. “We’ve been compiling a sale of items that are truly the greatest, but we also wanted to diversify. It’s not just the classics, but plenty of things fans of contemporary and sci-fan films will love as well. This first sale is going to be a wow and will have them coming back for more.”

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