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You know that giant pile of money that you don’t know what to do with that’s just sitting in that black bag shoved into a corner or in the attic behind your childhood sled? It turns out there’s a pretty sweet thing you could blow that dough on, if you’re so inclined. The famed London auction house Sotheby’s will be auctioning wunderkind director Orson Welles’ personal copy of the script for his masterpiece Citizen Kane. The hands that would later hold a script for a frozen peas commercial were the ones that wrote this seemingly priceless item.
It turns out priceless items are looking to go for around $25,000 to $33,000 (15,000 to 20,000 pounds), depending on how heated the battle gets. The auction will be held on March 5th and March 6th, and the huge collection comes from the reclusive billionaire Stanley J. Seeger, a description that itself sounds like it comes from a screenplay. The 1,000 item lot includes paintings, silverware, furniture and dozens of other types of items, more or less everything you’d expect to find in the lap of luxury that Seeger created with his longtime partner Christopher Cone. Everything from fossilized dinosaur eggs to Al Capone’s cocktail shaker is up for grabs, but the script is the real prize for cinephiles.
There are quite a few identifying elements, since those are what you’re really paying for, right? It’s the second draft of the script that Welles wrote with John Houseman and Herman Mankiewicz. Most of it is white, though there is a "News Digest" insert that is yellowed, held together by brass pins. "Mr. Welles’ Working Copy" is written on the cover twice, as seen above, and the inner text has random scratch-outs and markings in pencil and pink crayon. The one downer here is that it’s missing the final four pages. Here’s a shot of the last page, via The New York Times.
Can you imagine how many pissed off people there would be in the world if the movie actually ended on that? Beyond the cover, Sotheby’s also included an entire page of the script in their viewing samples.
The script comes in a slick collector’s box, along with a photocopy of the fourth and final draft of the script, dated June 18, 1940. It’s a superb purchase for anyone who has the money and loves the film, as were The Dude’s sweater and Dorothy’s dress. There’s no place like Xanadu. But you know what’s really priceless? This.