An Oscar statuette for a 1942 movie fetched nearly $80,000 at a recent auction in Rhode Island. As reported by The Associated Press, the auction house previously expected that the trophy would be sold at $5,000 to $30,000, but it finally went to a buyer at $79,200 on Monday, June 23. Nanci Thompson of Briarbrook Auctions declined to reveal the buyer's name, but she said, "You would recognize the name."
The statuette went to Joseph C. Wright at the 15th Academy Awards. He was honored with the trophy for his color art direction in "My Gal Sal" which starred Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. The 13-inch statue, which weighs around 6 pounds, went to Wright's nephew when he died in 1985 at the age of 92 in California.
During his career, Wright received 12 Oscar nominations and was awarded with two Oscars in 1943. Both of his wins were shared with Richard Day. He received the other trophy for black-and-white art direction in "This Above All".
The Academy previously investigated the sale of the statue. Their rule states that starting from 1950 the Oscar winners or their heirs are not allowed to sell the trophies without first offering them back to the Academy for $1. "It's something you don't ever run into," Thompson said of the auction. "The Academy is very diligent about pursuing lawsuits if they hear about an Oscar awarded after 1950 being sold."