It might seem like a lot to pay for a 1963 VW Beetle, but this particular example sold for at auction this week for the impressive sum of $86,250. That's because this is no ordinary Volkswagen. This is the original Herbie.

The example you see here is the very one that was used in the filming of Herbie Rides Again and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo – the second and third installments, respectively, in the timeless Disney film franchise. That makes this one of the most instantly recognizable cars ever made. In fact, it is the only car ever invited to leave its tire print in the cement at the landmark Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Aside from its iconic livery, the vehicle was also modified for an actual, literal back-seat driver. The setup is composed of a series of gears and pulleys to allow a stunt driver to sit out of view in the rear seat, making it look as if the car were driving itself. The car was lost for decades before being rediscovered in a warehouse in Florida a few years ago, and now it's been sold.

The star car was offered this week as part of the Treasures from the Dream Factory auction, held by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies in New York. The winning bid, according to the records at Sports Car Market, makes this the most valuable Beetle ever sold at auction, narrowly beating the $82,500 paid for a flawless '55 cabrio at Amelia Island in 2014. This very same Herbie (verified by its chassis number) sold less than a year ago on eBay for $55,200 – which makes this a rather profitable turnaround for the consigner.

Most of the other lots in the movie memorabilia auction would be of little interest to automotive enthusiasts. However, the event also saw the racing suit that Steve McQueen wore in the filming of Le Mans sell for $425,000 – far exceeding the $200,000-300,000 it was expected to fetch ahead of the sale. The top lot of the day, however, was the blue gingham plaid dress worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, which sold for $1.56 million - a little more than half the price paid previously for the lion costume from the same film.

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JUDY GARLAND "DOROTHY" DRESS FETCHES $1.56 MILLION AT BONHAMS AND TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES (TCM) AUCTION

TCM PRESENTS ... TREASURES FROM THE DREAM FACTORY
23 Nov 2015
New York

NEW YORK—A Judy Garland-worn "Dorothy" dress from the world-renowned film, The Wizard of Oz, fetched $1.56 million including premium at Bonhams New York today as part of Treasures from the Dream Factory, an auction of Hollywood memorabilia presented by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Bonhams.

Nearly 400 pieces of classic film collectables attracted hundreds of bidders by phone, online and in-person in a crowded saleroom at Bonhams Madison Avenue – resulting in a total of more than $4 million in sales.

The "Dorothy" dress went to one of three competitive phone bidders, surpassing the pre-sale estimate of $800,000 – $1.2 million.

"The dress is one of only two complete Dorothy costumes in existence," said Bonhams' Director of Entertainment Memorabilia Catherine Williamson. "As we witnessed today in the Bonhams saleroom, the dress is considered a true and timeless icon of classic Hollywood."

Other auction highlights include:

· MARILYN MONROE SUIT FROM GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES; sold for U.S. $425,000 including premium

· STEVE MCQUEEN'S ICONIC RACING SUIT FROM LE MANS; sold for U.S. $425,000 including premium

A TRIO OF CASABLANCA SCRIPTS, INCLUDING A RARE AENEAS MACKENZIE TYPESCRIPT, A MAY 11 DRAFT, AND JACK WARNER'S BOUND COPY OF THE FINAL DRAFT; sold for U.S. $233,000 including premium

SCREENWRITER HERMAN MANKIEWICZ'S "ROSEBUD" SLED, GIFTED TO HIM AT THE CONCLUSION OF PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR CITIZEN KANE; sold for U.S. $149,000 including premium

· HERBIE, 1963 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE Chassis no. 5156863; sold for U.S. $86,250 including premium

· A GOLDEN TICKET FROM WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY; sold for U.S. $35,000 including premium

· A FRANK CAPRA GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD FOR IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE; sold for U.S. $60,000 including premium

Treasures from the Dream Factory also featured 66 items from the personal collection of award-winning, American actress Natalie Wood. The Natalie Wood Collection brought nearly three times the low estimate, realizing $239,000 including premium. Sale highlights include:

A NATALIE WOOD ITALIAN RUBY AND 18K GOLD BRACELET; sold for U.S. $25,000 including premium

A NATALIE WOOD "INTERNATIONAL STARDOM" GOLDEN GLOBE; sold for U.S. $17,500 including premium

NATALIE WOOD BOUND SCREENPLAYS AND ARCHIVE FOR FROM HERE TO ETERNITY; sold for U.S. $6,875 including premium

Treasures from the Dream Factory is the third in a series of movie memorabilia auctions as part of a multi-year partnership between Bonhams and TCM. Past sales have resulted in high-profile sales, such as the Maltese Falcon at $4.2 million, a record price for a movie prop; the sale of Sam's piano from Rick's Café in Casablanca for $3.4 million, a record price for a piano; and Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz at $3 million, a record price for a costume from that film.

The next Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia auction will be held in London, Knightsbridge on December 10 starting at 12:00 GMT. The next TCM and Bonhams auction, Drawn to Film: Animation Art Featuring the Collection of Ted and Dawn Hopkins, will be held on June 13 in New York.


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HERBIE THE LOVE BUG CHARMS AT BONHAMS AND TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES (TCM)

TCM PRESENTS ... TREASURES FROM THE DREAM FACTORY
23 Nov 2015
New York

NEW YORK — Herbie and co-star Giselle from 1977's Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo will be offered at auction in Treasures from the Dream Factory, presented by Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Introduced in The Love Bug (1968), Herbie is a white 1963 Volkswagen Beetle who follows race car driver Jim Douglas (Dean Jones) home from the showroom. That film was such a success that Disney subsequently made five more movies and two television shows about the anthropomorphic car. In all, the Herbie films grossed more than $200 million at the box office in their initial domestic release, or $725 million in today's currency.

The Herbie for sale at Bonhams New York on Nov. 23, was discovered in a warehouse in Florida several years ago and remains in largely unrestored condition. Originally built for Herbie Rides Again (1974) and also used in Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, it is one of the ingenious "Invisible Driver" Herbies. Modified with an elaborate system of sprockets and pulleys connected to a second steering column under the front seat, the driver sits in the backseat to give the impression that the car is driving itself. This car also has the distinction of being the only vehicle ever to leave its tire print in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, during promotion for Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo.

Herbie is joined by his love interest from the film, a powder blue Lancia Scorpion named Giselle. In the film, Giselle is Herbie's competitor in the Trans-France Race, driven by Diane Darcy (Julie Sommars). Herbie quickly became enamored of this shapely sports car, presenting her with a bouquet of flowers held in his back bumper. Three Scorpions were used in filming, with the other two believed to have been subsequently crashed and scrapped. This car was auctioned off in 1980, repainted and for a time used as a daily driver before being discovered by its present owner who recognized its bolt-on roll bar and several other movie modifications. The car was then entrusted to Disney movie car expert Dan Miller at Red Barn Restorations in northeast Ohio who restored to its screen-used appearance. Both cars are accompanied by their original Walt Disney Productions titles.

Other automotive highlights in the auction include Steve McQueen's iconic racing suit from Le Mans ($200,000-300,000) as well as co-star Michele Scalera's racing suit ($5,000-7,000). Both lots were gifted to an Italian gentleman by Titanus, the film's distributor in that country, and have been in his collection ever since.

Treasures from the Dream Factory is the third in a series of movie memorabilia auctions as part of a multi-year partnership between Bonhams and TCM. Past sales have resulted in high-profile sales, such as the Maltese Falcon at $4.2 million, a record price for a movie prop; the sale of Sam's piano from Rick's Café in Casablanca for $3.4 million, a record price for a piano; and Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz at $3 million, a record price for a costume from that film.

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