Shirley Temple sale draws lots of love

Items from Shirley Temple collectionTheriault’s July auction, ‘Love, Shirley Temple’, featuring nearly 600 costumes, memorabilia and dolls from the former child film star’s personal archives gained global interest. The auction, conducted on July 14, was followed by an auction of antique dolls on July 15. The two days of auctions totaled over $4.2 million, a new record for the Annapolis, Maryland-based firm, Theriault’s, which specialises in the auction and appraisal of childhood memorabilia.

Temple’s 1928 birth certificate from the Santa Monica Hospital soared past its pre-sale estimate $300 to reach $5500 and will be returning to its hometown of Santa Monica.

The iconic red and white polka dot dress, worn in her 1934 break-out role Stand Up and Cheer, made $75,000 ($20,000+ estimate) and will now make its home in the Santa Monica History Museum, hometown of the young star, as will the red plaid Good Ship Lollipop dress from Bright Eyes (estimate $3000, selling at $21,000).

A costume worn by Shirley Temple in the 1936 film Stowaway was won by a private donor for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Other costumes will be exhibited by film memorabilia sponsors in Australia and Norway.

In other museum notes, the Smithsonian has been gifted Shirley Temple’s student typewriter, won at the auction by Steve Soboroff, noted Los Angeles collector of celebrity-used typewriters, who made the generous bequest (estimate $300, hammer price $4500).  And the UFDC Museum in Kansas City will own the 13″ doll of Shirley Temple in her Texas Centennial costume, (estimate $1000, hammer price $4500) gifted by Julie Blewis, doll collector and benefactor. The 27″ Shirley Temple doll in Texas Centennial costume (estimate $1000, hammer price $8500), sold to a private Texas collector, and will make its eventual home at the Dallas Historical Society.

The auction began with a record price, $11,500 (pre-sale estimate $1000) for Shirley Temple’s Raggedy Ann play doll, and continued that way for thirteen hours, until the final lot, Shirley Temple’s hand-drawn childhood sketch Heaven Looking Upon Earth which fetched $5000 (pre-sale estimate $300).

Her iconic tap shoes, worn during tap dances with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, topped at $25,000 (pre-sale estimate $1500) and will make their home in an important South Dakota film collection alongside the famous Lenci doll known as “Pinkie”; the doll appeared in a rivalry scene between young Shirley Temple and Jane Withers in the 1934 film Bright Eyes (pre-sale estimate $2000, hammer price $14,000).

Shirley Temple’s baby grand Steinway piano, gifted to her and inscribed by the Steinway family, sold at $45,000 (pre-sale estimate $30,000), to a private Illinois collector who also took home nine Raggedy Ann books with amusing inscriptions to Shirley from Johnny Gruelle (pre-sale estimate $3000, hammer price $12,500), and a Shirley Temple doll in unique Fox Studio-made costume that replicated the actual costume she wore in the film (pre-sale estimate $1000, hammer price $19,000).

Stuart Holbrook, President of Theriault’s had earlier noted, “This collection was unique in its scope and having  been in the hands of the original family – first Gertrude Temple, then Shirley Temple Black, and finally her son and daughter – until this moment. The catalog is a tangible memento of the collection and of this remarkable young life.”

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