Crowe's 'divorce' auction reaps millions

Props from the film Gladiator (left, seen with Mr John Keats from Sotheby's Australia), owned by Russell Crowe (above, in Gladiator), were part of the actor's The Art Of Divorce auction.
Props from the film Gladiator (above, seen with Mr John Keats from Sotheby's Australia), owned by Russell Crowe, were part of the actor's The Art Of Divorce auction.PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Props from the film Gladiator (left, seen with Mr John Keats from Sotheby's Australia), owned by Russell Crowe (above, in Gladiator), were part of the actor's The Art Of Divorce auction.
Props from the film Gladiator, owned by Russell Crowe (above, in Gladiator), were part of the actor's The Art Of Divorce auction.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MELBOURNE • A Roman-style chariot, gold Rolex watch, leather jockstrap and a 128-year-old violin that all belonged to Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe have been sold in an auction that reaped more than US$2.8 million (S$3.7 million).

"Not a bad hourly rate for a five-hour shift," he tweeted after the auction last Saturday at Sotheby's Australia in Sydney.

The sale, titled The Art Of Divorce, took place on his 54th birthday and what would have been his 15th wedding anniversary with singer Danielle Spencer. They split up in 2012 and finalised their divorce last year.

Sotheby's said that many of the 227 items on auction, which were pulled from Crowe's film career and personal possessions, sold for well above their estimated value.

The body armour worn in the scene depicting the death of his character Maximus in the 2000 hit Gladiator was valued at up to A$30,000 (S$30,285), but sold for A$125,000. The fully functioning copy of a Roman chariot from the film, for which he won a Best Actor Oscar, went for A$65,000.

The used leather jockstrap he wore to play heavyweight champion James Braddock in the 2005 film Cinderella Man was valued at up to A$600, but sold for A$7,000, after intense bidding.

Some unusual items included a fossil of a dinosaur-era reptile's skull, which was previously owned by actor Leonardo DiCaprio and which sold for A$65,000.

Crowe made an unexpected appearance during the auction.

He was serenaded by singer Alisa Nasteski and the crowd gave him three cheers just before an 1890 violin by Italian craftsman Leandro Bisiach sold for A$135,000.

The violin, which Crowe played in the 2003 period drama Master And Commander, was among the most expensive sales of the night.

Paintings from his collection also went under the hammer, with The Suitor by Australian artist Charles Blackman fetching A$360,000.

Sotheby's Australia chief executive officer Gary Singer said Crowe was "an avid collector" and had kept the items in his Sydney and rural homes.

"He had rooms full of items and many items in storage," Mr Singer added. "You wouldn't even notice we had been in the house and taken the 227 items that we have on display here."

The auction raised money for the Australian Children's Music Foundation, which provides free music education and instruments to disadvantaged and indigenous children and youth at risk in Sydney.

REUTERS, NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2018, with the headline 'Crowe's 'divorce' auction reaps millions'. Print Edition | Subscribe