Good and evil: weapons that battled on screen to be ‘Lord of the Rings’ are offered for sale at the Bonhams Turner Classic Movies auction
Two of the most powerful and magical weapons to feature in J.R.R Tolkien’s novels – the wizard Saruman’s staff and Aragorn’s sword – are to be offered for sale by auction as part of ‘There’s No Place Like Hollywood’, an auction of classic movie memorabilia by Bonhams in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies, to be held in New York on 24 November.
From the Collection of internationally acclaimed actor, Sir Christopher Lee and his wife Lady Lee, come three items used during the filming of Sir Peter Jackson’s Academy Award® winning trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. One of the most prolific actors of his generation, Sir Christopher has appeared in more than 200 films and is best known for his portrayal of Dracula and a host of other villains.
Sir Christopher Lee commented: “Since production finished on the set of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I’ve treasured these important pieces of film history in my private collection. More than a decade has passed and I feel it is now time that someone else is able to enjoy their magic. The dedicated film memorabilia auction at Bonhams in New York will provide the ideal stage.”
The wizard’s staff, owned and used by Sir Christopher Lee as Saruman throughout the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, is to be offered for sale with an estimate of US$100,000-150,000 (GB£62,500-93,750).
Saruman the White was once the wisest and most powerful wizard of the Order of the White and head of its council. Consumed with desire for power, the fallen wizard turned against his fellows and began using his magic for evil. Saruman’s staff was his primary weapon and features heavily in the first two films. In Tolkien’s novels Saruman’s staff was broken by the wizard Gandalf and his powers, crushed.
The metal staff stands over six feet tall, topped by a pronged resin crown which cradles a hand-blown glass orb. It has remained in Sir Christopher’s treasured personal collection ever since the production ceased filming (2001-2003).
Aragorn’s hero sword ‘Anduril’ is another of the items to be sold by Sir Christopher Lee. It has an estimate of US$150,000-250,000 (GB£93,750-£156,250). Tolkien’s legend states that ‘Andúril’ was forged for Aragorn from the shattered pieces of the blade ‘Narsil’ of the last King of Men and established him as the heir to the throne of Gondor and the new King of Men: “Renewed shall be the blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be King.”
The sword was designed by master sword smith, Peter Lyon, whose work sits in the royal armoury as part of the Royal Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. It is crafted from the highest quality steel and is one of only four hero swords made for Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn for use on set in The Return of the King. The remaining three are in private collections and this is the only one to have come onto the market. The sword was presented to Sir Christopher Lee by the co-founder of Weta Workshop, Sir Richard Taylor after the production in gratitude for his contribution on set.
Sir Christopher is known to be an accomplished swordsman with exceptional knowledge of Tolkien’s works. The sword is sold with a document thanking Sir Christopher; “…as a special acknowledgement of the friendship, camaraderie and learned knowledge that he brought and shared during the production of these films.”
The clapper board which wrapped the very last scene that Sir Christopher Lee filmed in the third and final film, The Return Of The King, is also among the offered lots. It is estimated to sell for US$6,000-8,000 (GB£3,750-5,000).
Katherine Schofield, Head of Department for Entertainment Memorabilia in London said, “Bonhams are delighted to be working with distinguished British actor Sir Christopher Lee throughout the sale of his important personal film props. We very much look forward to seeing them on view in our New York salerooms alongside other classic movie memorabilia from legendary productions including Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind.”
Last November, TCM and Bonhams teamed up on their first auction together, the highly successful ‘What Dreams Are Made Of: A Century of Movie Magic at Auction as Curated by Turner Classic Movies’. The auction set a new milestone for a movie prop as a Maltese Falcon statuette, used in John Huston’s classic film, drew a record-setting bid of over US$4 million.
The items from Sir Christopher Lee’s collection will be on display to the public at Bonhams Knightsbridge salerooms in London from 31st July to 4th August before travelling to America for sale in Bonhams, New York.
Viewing times: Bonhams, Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 7HH
Thursday 31st July 11.00 am – 5.00pm
Friday 1st August 9.00 am – 5.00pm
Monday 4th August 9.00 am – 5.00pm
Tuesday 5th August 9.00 am – 5.00pm