Welles' 'Kane' script fetches $97K; Oscar fails to sell


NEW YORK -- Orson Welles' personal working script of "Citizen Kane" sold for almost $100,000 Tuesday, but his Oscar for the 1941 film was withdrawn after bidding failed to rise above the seller's minimum price.

Sotheby's auction house said it immediately received inquiries about the Oscar and may consider selling it privately. The Academy Award for best screenplay had been estimated to fetch $800,000 to $1.2 million.

The Oscar for "Citizen Kane," considered one of the greatest movies of all time, was believed to have been lost by Welles himself. It resurfaced in 1994 and was eventually acquired by the Dax Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity. Proceeds from Tuesday's sale had been earmarked for the organization.

Welles' 156-page script, the last revised draft before the final shooting script, was sold for $97,000 to an anonymous buyer bidding on the telephone. Its pre-sale estimate was $80,000 to $120,000.

The 1940 mimeographed manuscript is stamped "second revised final," and "Mr. Welles" is written on it in large lettering and circled in pink crayon. It contains numerous annotations, revisions and deletions.

"Citizen Kane," the story of a power-hungry publishing magnate played by Welles, is widely believed to be based on the life of William Randolph Hearst.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had said it didn't plan to block the sale.