Back to the Future's $500,000 DeLorean and Darth Vader Costume Sell at Hollywood Auction. Ruby Slippers Still Available

A fully functioning hoverboard...y'know...for the kids
A fully functioning hoverboard...y'know...for the kids

Local memorabilia-selling powerhouse, Profiles in History did another one of their epic auctions this weekend at the Paley Media Center in Beverly Hills -- and the nerds cleaned house. Again.

Compared to Debbie Reynolds' series of show-stopping auctions this year, this one was a quiet affair...there was a maximum of thirty people (including Profiles' staff) in the room at any one time...at least on Friday...and we're not sure of the internet numbers. All we know is that we wanted to be there to get our hands on something cool and maybe snag a pair of Vincent Price's shoes as an X-Mas present for the classic movie lover in their lives.

While the auction, true to its "Icons of Hollywood" name, included a wide variety of items from all ages, genres, and importance of cinema history -- including some head-scratchers (Gidget Goes to Rome title art? WTF?). There were photos, storyboards, swords, costumes, cars, a few actual space suits, two hoverboards, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Sure, there were some ruby slippers that were in that one movie...and the dress to match...but the most interesting section of the auction auction block, and the most bizarrely completist, was the Back to the Future item block.

Hoverboard on the block to a slightly empty room
Hoverboard on the block to a slightly empty room
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Two hoverboards: the one we all know -- the pink Mattel one that has caused all manner of confusion since the 1989 film was released -- and its high-powered nemesis went for bidding by mid afternoon. "One or both of these might make an awesome stocking stuffer, eh?" we thought...only to be rapidly bid out of our $50 price range. Marty McFly's board ultimately went for nearly $30,000. Griff's? About half that.

Two excited in-house bidders snagged the cream of the Back to the Future crop -- a DeLorean. No word on how they'll find the plutonium they need to run the Flux Capacitor, what with the Libyans being a tad pre-occupied these days. To boot, after paying nearly $500,000 for the car, we're not sure they'll be able to afford it anyhow...

Doc and Marty with the DeLorean
Doc and Marty with the DeLorean

Oddly successful items from the rest of the BttF block included the base plate for the future DeLorean's Mr. Fusion drive -- not the whole thing mind you, but the baseplate/lid, nearly unrecognizable as an item of value or icon. Really just a lump of material that sold for $2,000. Same went for the slightly successful "piece of Delorean" that was, as far as we could tell, somewhere from the back of the car, which sold for $5,500. And, uh Biff Tannen / Thomas F. Wilson-signed tightie-whities easily cleared $600...for some reason we probably don't want to comprehend.

Some notable failures this weekend were a fully animatronic Howard the Duck and a bunch of Addams Family Values costumes. Oh, and no one wanted a puppet from cinematic masterpiece Spaced Invaders? We're shocked.

Usarcastically shocking in the biggest failure of the weekend: neither of the signature items sold. We'd have thought an intrepid furry might have snagged that original Cowardly Lion suit from The Wizard of Oz or that an aspiring Oz-bound traveler might need the Ruby Slippers...but no. Bupkis.

Two spacesuits that have actually been used by real astronauts were on the block and y'know what? No one bought them. One was an original flown Soviet Sokol-KV-2 spacesuit worn by cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space and the first to walk there (and also the unwitting inventor of the "Tegan and Sara Haircut"). The other was a complete NASA Gemini program G-2C spacesuit (helmet, gloves and boots included).

Svetlana Savitskaya, Russian cosmonaut. "Americans pay more than house for fake spacesuit? What a country!"
Svetlana Savitskaya, Russian cosmonaut. "Americans pay more than house for fake spacesuit? What a country!"

These things actually went into space, floated around the earth and whatnot, and you monied geeks aren't down? Fine. We'd probably pay more for a piece of movie history too...especially if it was Darth Vader's costume from Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which, in our humble opinion, was a steal at nearly $150,000. It even sold for less than the camera used to film it did last week.

Follow @PaulTBradley and @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.


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