The iconic lead statuette of the Maltese Falcon from the classic 1941 Bogart film noir of the same name has sold for a record $4,085,000 at Bonhams. The statuette now holds the record for the highest price achieved for a film prop. It was the top lot in a special sale held on November 25 in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies (TCM), “What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic At Auction As Curated By Turner Classic Movies.”
“The spectacular price achieved reflects the statuette’s tremendous significance. The Maltese Falcon is arguably one of the most important movie prop ever, and is central to the history of cinema, ” explained Dr Catherine Williamson, the Director of the Entertainment Memorabilia Department at Bonhams. “The sale totaled just under $6,000,0000 – a superb result for our inaugural sale with our partners, Turner Classic Movies.”
The film plot centres around Spade and Archer a San Francisco detective agency run by Sam Spade and Miles Archer. The two men are partners, but they don’t get along. The love interest Miss Wanderly, walks into their office; and by that night everything’s changed. Miles is dead. And so is a man named Floyd Thursby. It seems Miss Wanderly is surrounded by dangerous men. Joel Cairo, who uses gardenia-scented calling cards. There’s Kasper Gutman, with his enormous girth and feigned civility. Her only hope of protection comes from Sam, who is suspected by the police of one or the other murder. More murders are yet to come, and it will all be because of these dangerous men — and their lust for a statuette of a bird: the Maltese Falcon.
Additional highlights included the 1940 Buick Phaeton automobile from Casablanca which realized $461,000; an Audrey Hepburn Givenchy hat from Funny Face that quadrupled its estimate to reach $87,500; and a Nautilus Diver’s Helmet from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea that sold for $81,250.