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1942 Oscar auctioned in Rhode Island

Tuesday - 6/24/2014, 8:42am  ET

This undated photo released by Briarbrook Auctions shows an Academy Award Oscar statue awarded for color art direction in 1942 to Joseph C. Wright for his work on “My Gal Sal.” The statuette is being auctioned in Rhode Island Monday evening, June 23, 2014, by Wright's nephew. Wright died in 1985. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not allow an Oscar statuette to be sold without first offering it back to the academy for $1. But the auction house said that restriction does not apply to awards before 1950. (AP Photo/Briarbrook Auctions)

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (AP) -- A rare auction of an Oscar statuette brought a total of $79,200, well more than expected, at its sale Monday by a Rhode Island auction house.

Nanci Thompson of Briarbrook Auctions said the total included a 20 percent buyer's premium for the 1942 Oscar. She declined to disclose the name of the buyer, but said "you would recognize the name."

The auctioneer had estimated the golden statuette would sell for $5,000 to $30,000. But several hours before the live auction began, the online bidding had already reached $32,000.

The statue was awarded to Joseph C. Wright at the 15th Academy Awards for color art direction for his work on "My Gal Sal," starring Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature.

Prior to the auction, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was investigating the sale of the statuette. Since 1950, the academy has prohibited Oscar recipients and their heirs from selling the statues without first offering them back to the academy for $1. But the auction house said the restriction does not apply because the Oscar was awarded before 1950.

Wright died in 1985, and his nephew inherited the statue. It weighs around 6 pounds and is 13 inches high. The auctioneer said it is in good condition, with just a little wear at the back.

Wright received 12 Academy Award nominations and won twice, both in 1942 and both shared with Richard Day. The other award was for black-and-white art direction for "This Above All," starring Tyrone Power and Joan Fontaine.

Wright also was nominated for his work on movies including "Days of Wine and Roses," ''Guys and Dolls" and the "Man With the Golden Arm."


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