The Maltese Falcon statue from the classic 1941 detective thriller sold for $4,085,000 at an auction on Monday at Bonhams Auction House in New York City.
The 45-pound, 12-inch-tall prop is one of two known cast lead statuettes made for John Huston's screen version of the film, but the only one to have appeared in the movie as confirmed by Warner Bros.' archives, The Associated Press reported
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The buyer, who placed the winning bid via telephone, was not identified by Bonhams. The piece was reportedly owned by an unidentified collector in California who had acquired The Maltese Falcon statue in a private sale in the 1980s, according to The Hollywood Reporter
The $4 million-plus winning bid is not the most ever spent at an auction for a piece of Tinseltown memorabilia.
The Aston Martin made famous by Sean Connery in the classic Bond film "Goldfinger" sold for $4.1 million in 2010, while the original Batmobile from the 1960s TV show sold for $4.6 million in January, the Hollywood Reporter noted.
"The spectacular price achieved reflects the statuette's tremendous significance. The Maltese Falcon is arguably the most important movie prop ever, and is central to the history of cinema," Dr. Catherine Williamson, the Director of the Entertainment Memorabilia Department at Bonhams, said in a statement.
Prior to its sale on Monday, the Maltese Falcon statue had been on display at the Warner Bros. Studio Museum, as well as New York City's Museum of Modern Art, and Paris' Pompidou Centre, The Los Angeles Times reported
Other film memorabilia auctioned off on Monday included Francis Ford Coppola's working screenplay for "The Godfather," which went for $22,500, Shirley Temple's majorette jacket worn in "Poor Little Rich Girl" that went for $21,250, and Vivien Leigh's negligee from "Gone With the Wind" that went for $56,250.
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