The Academy Award statuette, given to famed American film director-actor, Orson Welles, for his 1941 classic Citizen Kane, has fetched $861,542 at a Los Angeles auction held on Dec. 20. The Oscar, awarded in the Best Original Screenplay category, was one of nine awards the film was nominated for. Incidentally, this was the only award it actually won.
The award was particularly significant because it was the only Welles-produced film that ever won an Oscar and it was also Welles' directorial debut.
The award was also significant because it was the only Oscar for a Welles film, won by the first-time director who was given remarkably free reign by the studio, in so far as deciding on the final cut.
The auction house in question, Nate D. Sanders, said they sold the Oscar to an anonymous bidder.
Meanwhile there is a rather interesting piece of history attached to this particular statuette. Apparently the original award went missing for years. The Academy issued a replacement to Beatrice Welles, Orson's youngest daughter and sole heir. However, as it turned out, the original had been with the film's cinematographer, Gary Graver, who tried to sell it in 1994.
When Beatrice learned of her father's treasure resurfacing, she filed a case in California, stopping the sale and guiding the precious honor back to the Welles family, who displayed it at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003.
Although the auction house did not reveal the identity of the owner, it did say the second-highest offer came from magician David Copperfield.