Piece of Oscar history to be auctioned in RI

This Academy Award from 1942 is set to be auctioned off in East Greenwich, RI June 23, 2014. (Photo: Brian Yocono/WPRI 12)

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) – Decades after it was awarded for his work in the film “My Gal Sal,” Joseph Wright’s Oscar is set to be auctioned off Monday night in East Greenwich.

The 1942 statue, which was for Color Art Direction, will be auctioned off at the Varnum Armory at 7:30 p.m.

(Photo: Briarbrook Auctions)
(Photo: Briarbrook Auctions)

Nanci Thompson of Briarbrook Auctions said she stumbled upon the Oscar while visiting the home of Wright’s nephew, who lives in Cranston.

“While I was in their home looking at other items, I saw something out of the corner of my eye and I said to him, ‘Is that what I think it is?'”

Due to a rule enacted in 1950, requiring owners who wish to sell their award to first offer it to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1, only statues awarded from 1929 to 1949 can legally be sold.

Since the golden statues rarely come onto the market, Thompson says she expects it to go for thousands of dollars.

“We are keeping with a very conservative estimate of between $5,000 and $30,000. However, personally I think we’re in for a big surprise tonight. I think it’s going to go for a good deal more,” she said.

The statuette – which was presented at the 15th. Annual Academy Awards ceremony held March 4, 1943 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles – measures 13 inches high weighs about six pounds. Despite its age, Thompson said the award is still in very good condition.

The Oscar will hit the block midway through Briarbrook’s antiques and fine art auction. It will be accompanied by a security guard throughout the evening.

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