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Magician David Copperfield was among the bidders clamoring for Orson Welles’ best original screenplay Oscar for Citizen Kane at an auction Tuesday.
The statuette ended up selling for $861,542 to an undisclosed buyer. It marks the only Academy Award received by either Welles or the movie, which has been referred to by many critics as the best film ever made.
Bidders came from around the world, according to auction house owner Nate D. Sanders, which claimed that the Oscar is one of only a handful of Academy Awards that have sold for nearly a million dollars. Sanders added that the statuette was previously put up for auction in 2007 by Sotheby’s but failed to sell.
“This is a testament to the popularity of Orson Welles and his magnum opus Citizen Kane,” Sanders said.
Copperfield told the auction house that he wanted the Oscar because “Orson Welles was not only a magician of the cinema but also a performing magician himself.”
The magician also has history with Welles: The filmmaker hosted Copperfield’s first TV special, and Copperfield already owns many props from Citizen Kane.
Welles believed he had lost the Oscar for decades, but it resurfaced in 1994. After a custody battle, it was awarded to his daughter, Beatrice.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post reported that Copperfield won the Oscar.
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