When you think of your favorite movies, you likely think about the actors in it, or perhaps the special effects, or the directing. Rarely do the movie’s props come to mind. And yet movie props are an essential component to film making that often gets overlooked by audiences. At the same time, they are never undervalued by the people making the movie, who know that the art department is as big a part of the production process and any other department. So while most props are simply an afterthought for the viewers of a movie, some props do manage to take a more important place in the hearts of fans and collectors. And these props are not only significant in discussions of the films they were a part of, but also can fetch a significant amount at auction. In this video, we’re taking a look at the top 10 props that were sold for a ton of money. Join Facts Verse, as we present: The Most Expensive Movie Props Ever Sold!
Aragorn’s Sword – The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Fans of The Lord of The Rings movies are very familiar with this first prop, as it served a vital role for the heroes taking on the evil Lord Sauron. Aragon’s sword, whose name is Anduril, was wielded by this epic warrior as he took on the movies’ dark forces. It was not only a symbol of Aragon’s might and his skills in battle, but also of his royal roots, and the fact that he was the true king of Gondor. And Aragon used Anduril to its mightiest capabilities, using it to conquer the Dark Lord in the final film of the trilogy, The Return of the King. So obviously the sword meant a lot to Aragon. But perhaps it meant even more (at least financially) to fans of the series. That’s because it sold at auction for $437,000. The lucky buyer got not only an epic piece of memorabilia, but also an intricately designed and crafted weapon. It has a gorgeous and detailed hilt, and looks about as real as it gets. Hopefully the new owner never has to use it to fight against any orcs.
Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber – Star Wars
Perhaps the only thing more powerful that a movie hero can swing than a great sword is a lightsaber. And any fan of the Star Wars movies will be familiar with the most famous lightsaber of them all, the one utilized by Luke Skywalker. In the first movie released, A New Hope, Luke is seen learning the ways of the Jedi and figuring out how to use the weapon. It’s a device only used by Jedi, which means he ultimately has to use his to battle against foes like Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and other Jedis throughout the series. Luke actually inherited his from his father, Anakin, who (45 year old spoiler alert) turned out to be not such a great guy. The prop makers took special care to make sure that the lightsaber Luke used in the movie was as realistic looking as possible, and it turned out to be a masterpiece of prop work. It was purchased at auction for $450,000, slightly more than Aragon’s sword. Hopefully by the same person, and they are having nightly imaginary fights with the two weapons.
Sam’s Piano – Casablanca
Pianos aren’t usually a cheap item to begin with. Sure, you can sometimes pick one up on Ebay for cheap, but generally well made pianos will set you back at least a couple thousand bucks. But if it’s a super famous piano? Then expect to pay exponentially more than that. In the movie Casablanca, the famous piano played by the character Sam at one of the main film locations, Rick’s Café, has become a legendary movie prop. It has served as a symbol of the movie, which has also gone down as one of the top films of all time. As such, when the piano was put up for auction in 2014, it went for a mind blowing $3.4 million. Hopefully whoever owns it now knows how to play “As Time Goes By!”
Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot Dress – My Fair Lady
Audrey Hepburn still represents the best of old Hollywood, and her iconic style and grace perhaps show off the glamour of the Golden Age more than anyone else. So it’s no surprise that a particular outfit worn by the legendary actress would be a sought after piece of movie memorabilia. In the movie, My Fair Lady, Hepburn wore an Edith Head designed black and white dress that has managed to become one of the most memorable and iconic costumes in movie history. It’s an Ascot dress that has full skirts and a high collar, and not only epitomized Hepburn’s glamour, but also Head’s work as one of the all time great designers. As such, the dress fetched $3.7 million at auction in 2011.
The Maltese Falcon
There are few noir films more famous than The Maltese Falcon, a 1941 flick starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. In it, detective Sam Spade looks into the disappearance of a statue called the Maltese Falcon. In the movie, it’s said to be not only made of solid gold, but also adorned with precious stones. It set the standard for what are known as McGuffins, aka an object whose purpose is specifically (and often only) as a way to get the plot of a movie going. And given that it was the literal title of the movie as well, the Maltese Falcon statue was always likely to be a valuable item to collectors of movie memorabilia. So much so that it sold for $4.1 million at auction in 2013.
Marilyn Monroe’s “Subway Dress”
If you’ve only ever seen ONE imagine of legendary bombshell Marilyn Monroe, then most likely it’s one of her standing on top of a subway grate, which is blowing air up into her white dress as she tries to keep it from fully blowing up above her head. It’s a classic photo that has kept the image of Monroe as a gorgeous and appealing movie star intact after all these years. And copies of that photo can be found all around the globe, perhaps as much today as in the several decades since the photo was taken. The scene it was taken from was in the 1995 movie, The Seven Year Itch. And while the photo of Monroe atop the subway grate is a famous item, the dress she wore in it has become the more valuable memento. It’s an all white, lightweight cotton dress with a plunging neckline that was designed by William Travilla. And given both the iconic nature of the movie it was in, the photo that resulted, and the star who wore it, it’s no surprise that it fetched quite a price at auction. In 2011 one lucky buyer walked away with the dress for a cool $4.6 million.
James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5
James Bond movies are perhaps as well known for their props as any movie franchise. The suave Mr. Bond is always flanked by a variety of spy gadgets and gizmos that set him apart from the rest of the world, and help him defeat various evildoers. And in every movie, there is a focus on the incredible sports cars that Bond gets to cruise around in. They not only handle well as crazy fast speeds, but they also come equipped with all the missiles, evasion tools, and other spy necessities that Bond could ever want. Plus, with each successive movie, the fun tools on the car would get enhanced. So each car became its own collectors item. Unsurprisingly, the cars from the early Bond movies are the ones that are the most valuable, and the Aston Martin DB5 that Sean Connery drove in both Goldfinger and Thunderball in the mid 1960s was THE car when it came to valuable Bond items. It had a bulletproof shield on it, allowing Bond to survive direct fire, as well as built in machine guns. Not to mention an ejector seat, in case things got just a little too hairy. And, to be fair, the car looks sleek and elegant even before any spy-based enhancements. This combo is likely why it sold at auction in 2010 for a staggering $4.6 million. No word yet on whether Aston Martin will be coming out with an all-electric version in the near future.
Robby The Robot – Various Movies
The prop that has fetched the highest price in movie history is perhaps not one that many modern fans would know of. It’s called “Robby the Robot” and it was featured in multiple science fiction films of the 1950’s such as The Invisible Boy and Forbidden Planet. It was created by Robert Kinoshita, and was miles ahead of other robotic props used at the time. So audiences were blown away by the robotic wonder that was Robby. And while those two sci-fi films were what Robbie was most known for, it was used again in a variety of shows and films. So many fans got to ‘know’ Robby from a number of appearances on a number of productions. Perhaps that added to the robot’s innate value as a prop. But the incredible monetary worth of Robby the Robot is most likely due to the fact that it was so ahead of the curve, and it was a leap for not only movie props, but of consumer robotics. As a result, some (assumingly VERY wealthy) buyer got to keep him after they shelled out a whopping $5,375,000 in 2013. It set the record for the most money ever spent on a movie prop. It makes you wonder what other memorabilia that person has laying around their house.
Now it’s time to hear from you. What movie prop do you think should be the most valuable? Would you ever spend a bunch of money on a movie prop? Let us know in the comments below!