This 'Citizen Kane' Oscar statue is the most expensive ever sold

'Citizen Kane' is a 1941 movie directed by Orson Welles that has been critically acclaimed by the American Film Institute as the greatest American film of all time – The movie even earned a 100 percent on film critic website Rotten Tomatoes, a feat that's a modern day near-impossibility.

The film won an Oscar in 1942 for Best Screenplay, and statues were given to both Welles and his co-writer, Herman Mankiewicz's.

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Mankiewicz's statue sold for a solid $588,455 in 2012, but it was Welles' own Oscar that came bearing a much heavier price tag -- And a much more complicated story.

The final price of Welles' Oscar? $861,142.

Here's what happened.

True to the mystery theme of Welles' finest film, his Oscar statue went missing and wasn't resurfaced until nearly 10 years after his death when a cinematographer attempted to auction off the statue in 1994.

Beatrice Welles, Orson Welle's daughter, sued for repossession of the statue and won, and tried to auction the statue off in 2003.

But the legal battles didn't end there – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sued Beatrice Welles for contesting the agreement the Academy instated in 1950 that banned the sale of Oscar statues, the only exception being selling the statue back to the Academy for $1.

Here's the catch -- 'Citizen Kane' won the Oscar in 1942, which gave Welles the legal right to sell the statue to the Dax Foundation in 2007.

The non-profit unsuccessfully attempted to auction the statue at Sotheby's New York where it was estimated to go for $1 million.

The statue went back up for auction by Nate D. Sanders' auction house where it went for the whopping price of $861,142.

Yes, just shy of $1 million.

In a statement, Nate D. Sanders attributed the massive price tag to the public's love of cinema:

"People continue to be drawn to the magic of the movies and were extremely enthusiastic bidding on the Oscars, which accounted for the high demand and sales prices."

Among the bidders was one familiar famous face – None other than magician David Copperfield, whose first television special was hosted by Orson Welles.

The buyer (and owner) of the statue remains anonymous.

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Gwyneth Paltrow in 2002

(Photo Getty)

Cher in 1988

(Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

Kim Basinger in 1990

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Geena Davis in 1992

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Demi Moore in 1989

(Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)

Barbra Streisand in 1992

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Whoopi Goldberg in 1993

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Lizzy Gardiner in 1995

(Photo by Barry King/Liaison)

Kate Winslet in 1996

(Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)

Susan Sarandon in 1996

(Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

Angelina Jolie in 2000

(Photo by Ke.Mazur/WireImage)

Bjork in 2001

(Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)

Cameron Diaz in 2002

(Photo by Steve Granitz Archive 1/WireImage)

Faith Hill in 2002

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Diane Keaton in 2004

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Uma Thurman in 2004

(Photo by KMazur/WireImage for Entertainment Weekly Magazine)

Charlize Theron in 2006

(Photo by Brian VanderBrug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Sally Kirkland in 2007

(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Tilda Swinton in 2008

(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Sophia Loren in 2009

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Charlize Theron in 2010

(Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

Jennifer Lopez in 2010

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Kate Mara in 2012

(Photo Getty)


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