Hollywood auction pits Superman against a Winkie

Updated: 2007-04-01 09:55

The costume sketch for the the 1978 film 'Superman' by designer Yvonne Blake is shown
in this undated publicity photo provided to Reuters March 30, 2007. [Reuters]

LOS ANGELES - So he's faster than a speeding bullet and can leap tall buildings and all that, but there is one thing Superman cannot top -- a "Winkie."

At least, not according to Joe Maddalena.

The Hollywood memorabilia expert's Profiles in History auction house on April 5 is holding one of its widely followed sales of movie and television items that could fetch an estimated $2 million to $3 million.

An original Wicked Witch of the West Winkie guard costume from the 1939 film 'The Wizard of Oz' is shown in this publicity photo provided to Reuters March 30, 2007. [Reuters]

Heading the list is a "Winkie" costume from the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz" that is expected to fetch between $100,000 and $120,000. That figure is roughly double the $50,000 to $70,000 estimated sales price for deceased actor Christopher Reeve's costume from his first "Superman" film.

For those who don't remember the Winkies, they were guards who protected the Wicked Witch of the West, and the costume up for sale is one the few that remain intact, Maddalena said.

"Occasionally, you'll see a piece of Munchkin costume or a monkey wing, but to have a complete costume of a character who is completely recognizable: that's rare," Maddalena said.

He said old Hollywood memorabilia is particularly sought after by baby boomers with money and feelings of nostalgia.

Prices, too, are rising, he said.

"Oz" props are particularly collectible because of the movie's longevity and status as a pop culture icon. Maddalena recently sold a "Cowardly Lion" costume for $805,000.

But there are many other pop culture items in the auction including a BatSuit from 1995's "Batman Forever" and an alien creature costume from 1979's "Alien."

And never fear "Superman" fans, the auction features many memorabilia items from the 1978 movie such as transcripts from "brainstorming" sessions by the film's participants, including Marlon Brando, that can be bought for less than the costumes, Maddalena said.

Overall, more than 700 items will be up for sale at ebayliveauctions.com or profilesinhistory.com

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