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Home > News, Articles & Multimedia > Blog Entry > You Like Me, You Really Like Me: Collecting Oscar and the Other Big Awards

You Like Me, You Really Like Me: Collecting Oscar and the Other Big Awards

by Tom Carrier (02/18/13).

Many people collect major entertainment awards because of their interest in these specialized arts honors, such as the Oscar, the Emmy and the Grammy. Which among these prestigious awards is the winner when comparing their auction and sales values through the WorthPoint Worthopedia? Let’s take a look.

“And the award goes to…”

This is always a great opening line for articles like this, when the Oscar (for film), the Emmy (for television) the Grammy (for music) and the Tony (for the theatre) are presented to the—sometimes—surprised winner. So many people collect these awards because of their interest in these specialized arts honors. But which among these prestigious awards is the winner when comparing their auction and sales values through theWorthPoint Worthopedia? Let’s take a look.

Oscar

It is officially known as the Academy Award for Merit when it was first introduced in 1929 by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences (AMPAS). There were 12 statuettes awarded then in front of 270 people at a private luncheon that first year. Today, of course, the ceremony is held in front of thousands of film celebrities in a large auditorium full of speeches, performances and shenanigans and televised around the world.

The award itself is a statuette modeled as an art deco-style knight. It is gold plate over 92.5 percent tin and 7.5 percent copper. The knight is holding a large crusader sword resting on a reel of film with a black metal base and weighs about eight and a half pounds. Mexican actor Emilio Fernandez posed nude for the original sculpting in clay in 1928. Today, about 50 statuettes are created for each ceremony by R.S. Owens & Company of Chicago, Ill.

 

An Oscar won by a screenwriter from the 1940s and ’50s, missing the base and identifying info, sold for $11,000 in 2011.

The Best Supporting Actor and Actress Awards were created in 1937. Instead of an Oscar, winners received an Academy Award plaque for the first seven years from 1937-1943.

There are two competing stories as to how the statuette picked up the name “Oscar.” One is credited to Bette Davis, who thought it reminded her of her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, while the second is credited to the Academy’s Secretary, Margaret Herrick, who thought it reminded her of her cousin, Oscar Pierce. Either way, by 1939, it was officially known as the Oscar.

By the way, all Oscars awarded after 1950 are legally encumbered by the winners, whose family and heirs must first offer the statuette to the Academy for $1. If they do not agree, the Academy keeps the award, but the winner keeps the honor. This makes finding an Oscar for sale a steep job.

So what is an Oscar worth, should you find one? Checking the Worthopedia brings up 9,389 items up for auction. An actual pre-1950 Oscar statuette without its base or information as to whom it was awarded sold at $11,200 in 2011 and early table props in the shape of an Oscar statuette sold for $1,245. But if you can’t afford an actual Oscar or prop one, there are reproductions online for about $200. Programs for the awards from the 1930s and 1940s have sold for $200-$400, while more recent ones sell for $15 to $35 in good condition. Baseball caps, given to stage crew hands for the ceremony, sell for $15 to $20. Curiously, there was also a pre-1950 Academy Award, possibly about the 1930s, in the form of a desk plaque and not a statuette that fetched $7,656 in a recent auction.

Emmy

Introduced in 1949 as an advertising device for programs produced locally in Los Angeles by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the ceremony grew to include programs viewed nationwide, but there are still local affiliate ceremonies.

The award itself is a robe-clad woman holding an atom “…supporting and uplifting the art and science of television.” Each award presented on television during national broadcast contains copper, nickel, silver and is overlaid with gold, weighing almost seven pounds and stands about 15½ inches tall. All regional awards are smaller and lighter than the televised awards.

Its name, Emmy, is a feminized version of the shorthand version for the “image orthicon tube” used in early television cameras, or Immy.

Many of the original Emmys were available by auction, including the original Emmy awarded to Loretta Young in 1956 for Best Continuing Performance in a Dramatic Series, “The Loretta Young Show.” It auctioned for $10,000 in April of 2012.

Loretta Young, along with Norbert Brodine, at the Academy Awards Ceremony in March of 1957. She won her second Emmy that year.

The a search shows 8,265 items in the Worthopedia and like the Oscars features caps, posters, programs, clothing, medallions, coins, commemorative statuettes and other specialty items.

Many of the original Emmys were available by auction, including the original Emmy awarded to Loretta Young in 1956 for Best Continuing Performance in a Dramatic Series, “The Loretta Young Show.” It auctioned for $10,000 in April of 2012. Other earlier Emmys were auctioned for between $4,000 to $8,000, with more recent ones realizing between $1,500 and $3,000. Local Emmys are smaller and lighter, but no less prestigious, as they still auctioned from $500 to $1,000.

For the smaller items, such as hats, programs, coins, clothing and other specialty items, such as an Emmy Christmas tree ornament, all were within the $15 to $60 range almost without exception. An Emmy paperweight weighed heavy at auction, garnering for $112.50.

Grammy

If you didn’t qualify for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but were of significant importance to the music world, such as a music executive, how do you recognize that contribution? The music executives formed the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1959 with an award named for the gramophone. In fact, it was originally called the Gramophones Award.

Made and engraved by hand by Billings Artworks, each Grammy award is now a gold-plated brass depiction of a complete gramophone device. Prior to 1990, the award was a lead-based, gold-plated trophy. The ones you see being awarded on live television? They are “stunt” awards, given to the winner until the new ones are fully engraved. How much they weigh and how tall they are wasn’t available.

In the Worthopedia, the Grammy category had 22,843 auction items relative to the Grammy’s, by far the most of all the awards listed here. Interestingly, unlike the other award categories, I did not find an actual Grammy being auctioned, but instead found an authentic Latino Grammy Award medal and ribbon auctioning at $5,300. A prop version Grammy signed by the Bee Gees realized $577.

 

A “prop” Grammy Award signed by members of the Bee Gees brought $577 at auction.

A Grammy medallion awarded to John Wayne (yes, that John Wayne) in 1971 for being a presenter on the telecast. It sold at auction for $1,200.

An award that is more Olympic medal-like—a Grammy medallion awarded to John Wayne (yes, that John Wayne) in 1971—sold at auction for $1,200. Wayne was a presenter in the 1971 Grammy telecast. The winner for “Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special,” which was John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison for “Let It Be.” Wayne then handed the awards to Paul and Linda McCartney who accepted for the rest of the band. The inscription on the medallion reads: “In Appreciation / John Wayne / The Grammy Awards Show / Telecast 1971.”

Other Grammy memorabilia, which as hats, programs, CDs, tickets and other commemorative items, sell in the $12 to $30 range.

Tony

Live theatre is recognized with the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, otherwise known as the “Tony” created by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League. Named for Antoinette Perry, actress, producer, director and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, the award recognizes excellence in live theatre on Broadway in New York City and regional theatres across the country.

Beginning in 1947, the first awards were a scroll, jewelry and money clips, and the ceremony was held at an event at the Waldorf-Astoria. In 1949, the classic medallion award—designed by Herman Rosse—was introduced. Made from brass and bronze with nickel plating, it is five-inches tall and weighs about three and a half pounds, the current version is much larger and heavier than the award presented prior to 2010. The obverse shows the masks of comedy and tragedy and on the reverse is the recipient’s name and honors.

 

Made from brass and bronze with nickel plating, it is five-inches tall and weighs about three and a half pounds.

A paper weight given out to people involved in the Tony Awards Production in 1976. It garnered $122 at auction.

Of the 5,166 items auctioned for the Tony awards, there was the souvenir paperweight given to the crew working on the show that sold for $122, while programs, hat, clothing and Playbills can be had for $15 to $30. Again, no actual Tony Award itself—not even a reproduction—was available for auction. An official invitation featuring a silver seal of the medallion itself sold for $25.

The Rest

There are so many other award ceremonies to consider; Clio Awards for advertising (originals of this 50-year-old award can be purchased for $150 to $300), the MTV Video Music Awards for music videos (with some awards auctioned at $6,000 to $10,000), the American Music Awards, Country Music Awards, the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards and so many others.

Collecting accolades and honors is easier than it used to be. You need not even perform to get them. But for the serious collector, the honor is the preservation of recognition and excellence in the arts and sciences. That may be who the real winner is, after all.

An MTV Video Music Award trophy.

A Golden Globe Award trophy.

Tom Carrier is a general Worthologist, with an expertise in a wide variety of subjects, including vexillology, or the study of flags.

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