A fine feathered friend: The original Maltese Falcon, which was featured in the 1941 film noir classic starring Humphrey Bogart.
The Maltese Falcon statue from the movie of the same name sold at auction for $4,085,00, including a buyer's premium of $585,000.
The sale was conducted by Bonhams in New York in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies.
The price was at the high end of expert estimates for the piece (Bonhams had declined to offer a pre-sale estimate).
It ranks with the most expensive pieces of movie and TV memorabilia ever sold at auction. It trails the original Batmobile No. 1 from the 1960s TV show that sold for $4.6 million and the Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery in "Goldfinger" that sold for $4.1 million.
But it far outstrips the $2 million paid for a pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" or the $576,000 paid for an Enterprise model used in "Star Trek."
The falcon statue was one of two made for the movie but the only one known to have appeared on film. According to Bonhams, markings on this statute, particularly a small dent from where the statue was dropped can be matched to the one on film.
"The spectacular price achieved reflects the statuette's tremendous significance. The Maltese Falcon is arguably the most important movie prop ever, and is central to the history of cinema, " said Dr. Catherine Williamson, the Director of the Entertainment Memorabilia Department at Bonhams in a statement.
The piece was owned by an unidentified Calfifornia collector who acquired it in a private sale in the 1980s. The identity of the winning bidder has not been disclosed.
First published November 26 2013, 5:16 AM