King Kong sells for £121k
King Kong sells for 121k
The model used in the Empire State Building scene of the 1933 classic has been auctioned
The 1933 version of King Kong is an all time classic, in which stop-motion animation is used brilliantly to create the iconic scene of the giant ape climbing up the Empire State Building.
King Kong's movement in the film was created using three miniatures. The skeleton, or armature, of the largest has been sold by Christie's at a London auction.
King Kong model's skull
The skeleton is 56cm (22in) tall, and an incredibly complex construction made from steel and alloys with various ball-and-socket joints and hinges which allow an excellent range of movement. Even the fingers are jointed (though two are missing from each hand).
An anonymous bidder snapped up the pint-sized giant for 121,250.
King Kong Model Skeleton
The sale also included the original watercolour design of the dress Faye Wray wore as Ann Darrow, designed by Natalie Visart. It was the only dress specifically designed for the film, and intended to emphasise the Beauty and the Beast theme. The design sold for a healthy 12,500.
Ann Darrow's dress in King Kong
A real dress which beat its estimate was a black evening dress belonging to Marilyn Monroe. Expected to sell for 6,000-8,000, it achieved 9,375.
Monroe memorabilia continues to prove fascinating to collectors all round the world. We currently have three pieces of our own available: a signed cheque, autographed magazine cover and even an item of her lingerie.
Other items which did well in the sale included two posters of classic films: one advertising Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, the other from a very different genre showing Christopher Lee as Dracula. The latter beat its 7,000 top estimate to sell for 9,375, and the Hepburn poster doubled its top listing to be taken away for 5,625.
The best performer of the sale was a painting given to Alfred Hitchcock referencing his film North by North West. The climax of the film takes places at the famous Presidential sculptures of Mount Rushmore, but in the version Albert Whitlock created, Thomas Jefferson's head is replaced by Hitchcock's.
The painting, valued at 5,000-7,000 sparked some competitive bidding and was finally taken away for 16,250.
A fascinating sale showing the depth of interest in classic film memorabilia, and its potential as a tangible investment.