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Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022
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Giving Props to Hollywood and History

What do letters by John Adams discussing the election of 1800 have in common with the pistol used by Harrison Ford in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? Both will go up for auction this month by Profiles in History, a Calabasas dealer that has an unusual combined specialty in historical documents and Hollywood memorabilia. The pistol is among assorted props, costumes, posters and photos that will be sold Dec. 15 and 16, while Adams’ letter is one of many documents that give a glimpse of the personal lives of some of the most famous figures in American and European history. They will be auctioned Dec. 18. Profiles in History come by its Hollywood artifacts and memorabilia from collectors, film industry professionals and even the studios. The letters were assembled by an unidentified collector who sought correspondences of a personal nature showing the real lives behind the figures that shaped political, scientific and artistic history. Normally, the auction house sells its historical documents through a catalogue, but this collection includes so many significant items that Profiles in History Chief Executive Joe Maddalena said it demanded an auction. The documents are expected to command $20 million to $30 million in total. “(The collector) wanted a president lamenting on the difficulties of the job; he wanted a person talking about the agony or the ecstasy of a relationship, or a failure or a success,” Maddalena said. “The content of this material is extraordinary. Coming up with a price structure for it was almost impossible.” Among other letters is one by George Patton discussing his investment in a British munitions company during the run up to World War II; Joe DiMaggio asking forgiveness from Marilyn Monroe over his bad temper; Albert Einstein writing to his son; and King George III directing the peace negotiations with the American colonies at the end of the War for Independence. The Hollywood items include a large sampling of James Bond film posters, the prop tablets from “The Ten Commandments,” and the silver helmet worn by Gort, the space travelling robot in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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