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Press Release - July 21, 2010

Lucille Ball memorabilia, fine guitars, Shatner’s Star Trek costume attract fierce bidding in $1.3+ Million Auction

Les Paul “Black Beauty” guitar brings $56,763 while William Shatner’s Wrath of Khan Star Fleet tunic goes galactic with $44, 813 final price

BEVERLY HILLS, CA -- A trove of more than 120 lots from the Estate of Gary Morton and his wife, Lucille Ball, brought $230,780 on Saturday, July 17, as part of a $1.3 million+ Music & Entertainment auction at Heritage Auctions Beverly Hills. Lucille Ball’s 1984 Rolls Royce Silver Spur was the highest priced item from that consignment at $29,875. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

The trove was the subject of tremendous pre-sale interest and international media coverage due to a dispute between the consignor – Susie Morton, the widow of Gary Morton, Lucy’s second husband – and Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, that was amicably settled before the auction started.

“What we saw here today was an amazing outpouring of love and respect from Lucy’s fans,” said Doug Norwine, Director of Entertainment Auctions at Heritage. “Collectors paid top prices to obtain a cherished piece of Lucy’s personal legacy – far beyond our expectations – and they came out in droves, not only in the auction room, but by the hundreds online.”

Another top lot in the auction was a Les Paul 1959 custom “Black Beauty” guitar, #91786, which brought $56,762, followed by the Star Fleet tunic worn by William Shatner in The Wrath of Khan, which realized $44,812 amidst spirited bidding.

Other top lots of the Lucille Ball consignment was $7,768 for the painting L’Opera, Paris, by Regis (Count) de Cachard, from Morton and Ball’s collection, and $8,963 for her personal address book, containing the names, phone numbers and addresses of many of the top stars of the 1950s and 1960s.

The 1959 Les Paul “Black Beauty” was the centerpiece of an amazing grouping of more than 170 fine vintage instruments, which saw a 100% sell through rate and provided many of the top prices in the auction, including two more “Black Beauty” guitars – a 1961 Gibson Les Paul Custom Guitar, #1-0864, which brought $33,460 and a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Black Guitar, #78531, which brought $21,510 – and a 1940s Gibson J-200 Acoustic Guitar, #41026 with Sunburst finish, which brought $28,680.

Shatner’s Wrath of Khan Star Fleet tunic was the subject of much pre-auction buzz, and with good reason: of all the Star Trek films, Wrath of Khan is far and away the most popular, and collectors are usually all over any piece of memorabilia associated with it, let alone the very tunic worn by the franchise’s most popular and enduring character, James T. Kirk. The tunic more than doubled pre-auction estimates to finish the sale at $44,812.

“It was inspiring to see how collectors responded to Shatner’s Khan jacket,” said Norwine. “There were several buyers ready to pay serious money for this iconic piece, and I know that the collector that is taking it home was ecstatic.”

One of the sleepers of the auction was easily Jack Nicholson's Chinatown Annotated Script, which very quietly racked up a $14,340 final price (against a pre-auction estimate of $2,000+), showing emphatically the popularity of both Roman Polanski’s bewildering masterpiece and of Nicholson, the film’s charismatic star.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

Want to get the up-to-the-minute updates and breaking news stories about Heritage Auctions? Get them as they happen at: Twitter.com/HeritagePress; Twitter.com/JimHalperin; Facebook: Heritage Auction Galleries. To view a compete archive of Heritage press releases go to: HA.com/PR. To link to this press release on your blog or Website: HA.com/PR-1872.

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