By Mark Tobin
Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe has sold off a range of artwork, jewellery, musical instruments and film and sports memorabilia from his private collection in an auction expected to bring between $2.6 million and $3.7 million.
Crowe suggested the winning bidder could lend the violin to a young musician. (Southeby’s Australia)
The auction in Sydney was given the title “The Art of Divorce” to mark the fact Crowe is about to finalise his divorce from Danielle Spencer, who he separated from about five years ago.
The auction was held on the actor’s 54th birthday, which is also the date of his wedding anniversary.
Crowe surprised bidders by turning up to the auction, just before a late 19th-century Leandro Bislach violin went under the hammer.
The actor used the instrument in the film Master and Commander and he had some advice for the person who would buy it.
“As is the tradition [in classical music], they might want to lend it to a young musician so it carries on and starts to play in the concert halls around the world,” Crowe said.
It sold for $135,000 dollars.
There was fierce bidding for a fully functioning replica of a Roman chariot, which was used in the film Gladiator.
It sold for $65,000 and was one of the many items that exceed the sale estimates of auction house Sotheby’s.
Another item from Gladiator — the stunt cuirass worn by Crowe in the scene in which his character Maximus died — sold for $125,000.
A pair of Doc Martens boots worn by Crowe in the 1992 film Romper Stomper went under the hammer for $10,000.
A boxer’s protector worn by Crowe in the 2005 film Cinderella Man went for $7,000 to a telephone bidder. (Southeby’s Australia)
One of the more unusual items was a leather groin protector Crowe used in the 2005 film Cinderella Man.
It was estimated to bring between $500 and $600, but sold for $7,000 to a telephone bidder. It is not clear what they plan to use it for.
Several high-end guitars were sold including a Martin 2-42 Parlour Natural acoustic guitar built in the 1870s.
A 1986 Grammy Award which was jointly presented to Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Sam Phillips, Rick Nelson and Chips Moman sold for $150,000.
Ahead of the auction, Crowe explained why he decided to sell the items.
“As I have gotten older I have started to feel like it is not so much the touchstones of the past, but the clear road ahead that is really important,” Crowe said.
“As all collectors might do at some time, I have occasionally laughed at myself and wondered if my collecting passion has slipped into hoarding.”