NEW YORK Tens of thousands of photographs and negatives from a large collection of Hollywood images will be sold during a two-day auction in New York next month, Guernsey's auction house said on Monday.
The Movie Star News Collection, which photographer Irving Klaw started in 1939 after striking a deal with film studios, includes nearly three million posters, negatives and photos of stars. They include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Rudolph Valentino, Judy Garland, Steve McQueen, Charlie Chaplin and Audrey Hepburn, among others.
Some 1,900 lots of photos and film memorabilia will go under the hammer on April 6 and 7. Pre-sale estimates range from $60 to $100 for some of the pictures to as much as $10,000 for a pair of high-heel shoes worn by model Betty Page, known as the "Queen of Pin-Ups."
"This is probably one of the world's largest collections of Hollywood images," said Joanne Grant, an archivist and auctioneer at Guernsey's who estimated that it is worth millions of dollars.
"This sale is all about black and white (prints) because it is mostly about Hollywood of the 20s, 30s and 40s, although Marilyn Monroe is from the 50s," Grant said.
The auction at The Arader Galleries will be the first time in 75 years that the archive will be open to the public, according to Guernsey's.
The collection includes original Movie Star News signs and pictures from movie sets of "The Wizard of Oz," "King Kong" and "The Godfather" as well as 600 photographs of Monroe.
It is being sold by Stuart Scheinman, a co-owner of the Las Vegas-based Entertainment Collectibles, who bought the collection last year from Ira Kramer, Klaw's nephew.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Jill Serjeant and Christopher Wilson)