National museum in $3.7m Crowe auction

National museum in $3.7m Crowe auction

Art
Items from the film Gladiator attracted large bids at Russell Crowe's auction in Sydney.

Items from the film Gladiator attracted large bids at Russell Crowe's auction in Sydney.

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THE National Museum is one of the buyers that forked out a collective $3.7 million on Russell Crowe's artwork, jewellery and movie props.

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THE National Museum is one of the buyers that forked out a collective $3.7 million on Russell Crowe's artwork, jewellery and movie props.

Almost 200 items, including a fully-functioning replica Roman chariot and a jockstrap worn by the Oscar-winning actor, were snapped up at his 'The Art of Divorce' action on Saturday night.

Total sales may break $4 million after Crowe tweeted that conversations were ongoing about further sales worth $350,000.

"Not a bad hourly rate for a 5 hour shift," Crowe said on Sunday, adding there was a "bunch of stuff" he didn't really want to sell coming home.

Two items from Crowe's earlier film days piqued the interest of the National Museum Australia director Mathew Trinca.

A pair of maroon Doc Martens boots from the 1992 crime drama Romper Stomper sold for $10,000 while the museum parted with another $2000 for Crowe's costume from 1993 family flick The Silver Brumby.

"These objects highlight the success and depth of the national film industry and allow us to explore and celebrate that story, on behalf of all Australians," Dr Trinca said on Sunday.

Items from Crowe's Oscar-winning performance as Maximus in the 2000 movie epic Gladiator proved popular, with the character's torso armour fetching $125,000, a replica Roman chariot going for $65,000 and a prop aluminium sword and spare blade selling for $70,000.

But the highest price for film memorabilia was reserved for a century-old Leandro Bisiach violin used in the 2003 period war-drama Master and Commander that sold for $135,000.

Crowe purchased the violin after deciding his character British naval captain Jack Aubrey would have played a finer instrument than a heavy German-made prop he was handed on set.

Aubrey's dress blues costume sold for more than three times its pre-auction expectation when it went for $115,000.

While six-figure sums were dropped for a handful of artworks - including $360,000 for a 1960 Charles Blackman - other items were far less orthodox.

One bidder stumped up $7000 for the leather jockstrap Crowe wore in Cinderella Man (2005) and two life-sized prop horses from Gladiator went for $5500.

A likely cricket tragic paid $52,000 for a life-size bronze statue of Don Bradman.

A 2008 customised South Sydney Rabbitohs chopper motorcycle was among the items passed in.

Australian Associated Press

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