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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Collectibles > Feature: Are Oscars Collectible?

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Are Oscar Awards Collectible?
Yes and No

What a story about those stolen Oscar statuettes! Can you believe they ended up in the trash? It's surprising no one tried to sell them off the Oscar is one of the quintessential Hollywood icons.

The whole drama made us wonder just how much one of those 13-inch statuettes would fetch at an auction.

So what about the market value of an Oscar and do people actively collect them?

Producer David O. Selznick's 1939 Best Picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind.

The problem is that most are not supposed to be sold. Since 1950, the Academy has required all winners to sign a contract prohibiting the sale of their Oscar.

Though Oscars have been sold at auction a Gone with the Wind Best Picture Oscar went last year for more than $1 million they've either predated 1950 or the seller has been given special permission by the Academy.

However the statuettes are sold very quietly on an Oscar black market. Other Hollywood memorabilia buffs confirmed this, but, they are reluctant to give details.

Sales that have been made are reportedly between $45,000 and $125,000.

So if Oscars can be sold for that kind of money, why throw them in a dumpster?

There is nowhere to go with those because they have no plaques naming the winner, they're like poison.

Also, as simply a precious metal object, an Oscar isn't worth much.

When the Academy began handing them out in 1928 they were cast in bronze, with 24-karat gold plating. During World War II the statuettes were made of plaster because of metal shortages. Today, the 8-pound statuettes are made of gold-plated britannium, a metal alloy that doesn't have a lot of value, per se.

The real value of an Oscar would be determined by which actor, actress, director, or film it was associated with.

There was one other thing we wanted to know: Why the name Oscar? It turns out, no one knows for sure. But one popular story is that actress Bette Davis said the backside of the statuette looked like that of her husband Harmon Oscar Nelson.

So, a name of unknown origin, black market sales, and 50 or so lost and now found Oscars. That's an awful lot of mystery for one small statuette!


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