Oscar statuette from 1942 sets a record for auction house
Briarbrook Auctions in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, sold an Oscar won by Joseph C. Wright in 1942 for best art direction for $79,200 on Monday night, more than double its original estimate.
See the 1942 Oscar statuette, as well as memorable Oscar moments from the past
Auctioneer Nanci Thompson spotted the Oscar while visiting the home of Wright's nephew to look 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?'" Thompson told WPRI.
The figure set a new sales record for the auction house, helped in large part due to out-of-house bidders. Some in-house bidders attempted to snag the trophy, but it ultimately came down to bids online and over the phone.
WNAC reports "some very powerful names that I wish I could share with you, but I can't. But you would know who they are."
A phone bid from California won the auction. The bidder paid $79,200, which includes a 20 percent buyer's premium, according to WJAR.
Oscars rarely come to market because every Oscar winner since 1950 has been required to sign a contract saying if they or their heirs wish to sell an Oscar, it must first be offered back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1, according to The Providence Journal.
Wright's Oscar was fair game because it was awarded before 1950. Wright won two Oscars for art direction: the one that sold at auction for 1942's "My Gal Sal" and another for "This Above All" the same year.