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Batman and Robin TV costumes smash world record price at auction

By
2019-12-19

The original Batman and Robin costumes worn by Adam West and Burt Ward in the classic 1960s TV show have set a new world record price at auction in the U.S.

The two screen-worn costumes hit the block with a “Pow!” at Profiles in History on Tuesday (December 17), where together they sold for an amazing $832,000 (including buyer’s premium).

Adam West's screen-worn Batman TV costume (Image: Profiles in History)
Adam West’s screen-worn Batman TV costume (Image: Profiles in History)

The costumes had been expected to fetch up to $200,000, but sparked a bidding frenzy that left auctioneers stunned – and made them the most valuable costumes in television history.

The iconic costumes are now also the most expensive superhero costumes ever sold at auction, far exceeding prices achieved by more modern movie Bat-suits, Superman’s cape or anything worn by The Avengers.

Burt Ward's screen-worn Robin TV costume (Image: Profiles in History)
Burt Ward’s screen-worn Robin TV costume (Image: Profiles in History)

They were the star lots of The Azarian Collection, one of the world’s finest private collections of 60s and 70s TV memorabilia which went up for auction at Profiles in History this week.

The collection included several more famous Batman props and costumes, and just like the Batman and Robin costumes, many also achieved prices far beyond their estimates.

Leading the rest of the pack was the famous bust of William Shakespeare, which concealed a hidden button allowing access to the Bat-cave.

The Shakespeare bust from Bruce Wayne's study, which allowed entry to the Bat-cave via a hidden switch (Image: Profiles in History)
The Shakespeare bust from Bruce Wayne’s study, which allowed entry to the Bat-cave via a hidden switch (Image: Profiles in History)

The bust appeared in almost every episode of the show, sat on the desk in Bruce Wayne’s study, and sold for $204,800 (inc. buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $40,000 – $60,000.

Fans also had their chance to answer the famous red Bat-phone, offering a direct link to Commissioner Gordon, which sold for $48,000.

In the costume department, the sale offered a trio of slinky Catwoman suits worn by three different actresses: Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt and Lee Meriweather, whose costume from the 1966 Batman movie fetched the highest price of $51,200.

Lee Merriweather's screen-worn Catwoman suit from the 1966 Batman movie (Image: Profiles in History)
Lee Merriweather’s screen-worn Catwoman suit from the 1966 Batman movie (Image: Profiles in History)

Further notable costumes included Yvonne Craig’s Bat-girl costume from the third season of the show, which sold for $51,200; a clown suit worn by Cesar Romeo as The Joker, which sold for

Props used by the show’s cast of colourful villains were also in high demand, including the Mad Hatter’s top hat (which emitted a mind-robbing ray), which sold for $16,640; the Penguin’s exploding umbrella, which sold for $7,680; and Mr Freeze’s helmet, which sold for $13,100.

And for those more law-abiding collectors, an original Gotham Police Department sign sold for $7,680.

Together, the Batman props and costumes from The Azarian Collection achieved a total of more than $1.37 million (inc. buyer’s premium).

David Wayne's screen-worn Mad Hatter top hat (Image: Profiles in History)
David Wayne’s screen-worn Mad Hatter top hat (Image: Profiles in History)

Batman originally ran for just three seasons from 1966 until 1968, during which time it was one of the most popular shows on U.S television.

And thanks to constant re-runs over the past 50 years, the show remains a pop culture phenomenon to this day with dedicated fans across several generations.

The show’s lasting legacy and popularity are also reflected in the price of its memorabilia, which is amongst the most valuable and sought-after in the hobby.

Back in 2014 the show’s original Bat-mobile, built by custom car king George Barris using a unique Lincoln Futura concept car, sold for $4.6 million.

The auction set a record for the most valuable TV car of all-time, and now the show can also boast the most expensive TV costumes as well.

Will it ever set the record for the most expensive TV prop? Tune in next week to find out! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!


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