Joseph C. Wright's 1942 Oscar for 'My Gal Sal' sells at auction for $79,200

By Kyle Johnson,

An Oscar statuette from 1942 sold at Briarbrook Auctions in Rhode Island for an astounding $79,200 on Monday.

Joseph C. Wright won the award in 1942 for his color art direction on the Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature film My Gal Sal. According to The Associated Press, the 6-pound, 13-inch tall statue remains in fairly good condition, though it does sport a little wear on the back.

Auctioneer Nanci Thompson said that she believed the Oscar would go for maybe $5,000 to $30,000, but the latter number was easily passed online ahead of the live auction. She wouldn't reveal the buyer's name, except to say "you would recognize the name."

Wright passed away in 1985 and the Oscar was put up for auction by his nephew. The 92-year-old won two Oscars during his lifetime, the other was for the 1942 film This Above All.

Speaking with Reuters, Thompson noted after the surprisingly high sale that it likely went for so much because "Oscars are quite a rare commodity. There just aren't many around."

That would be because the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science instituted a policy, starting in 1950, that before a statuette could be sold, the Academy must be given the chance to purchase the award for $1. Thompson said that only about 200 Oscars have been auctioned off.

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