Robert Osborne’s Hollywood Treasures Headed to Auction

Robert Osborne’s Hollywood Treasures Headed to Auction - Illo- H 2019
Courtesy of Grant Zahajko Auctions

It turns out the late TCM host Robert Osborne was gathering more than hot scoops and exclusive interviews when he wrote THR's Rambling Reporter column from 1988 to 2007. He also amassed a museum-size stash of memorabilia that will hit the auction block Oct. 10.

Among the prized possessions — inherited by Osborne's three nieces — are a gold record album that once belonged to Samuel Goldwyn, a copy of his own 1979 history of the Oscars book signed by more than 380 stars, and even an Oscar statuette (from 1936, before the Academy instituted a rule that the awards could not be sold). The trophy was awarded to art director Richard Day for his work on 1935’s The Dark Angel starring Fredric March and Merle Oberon.

Grant Zahajko, owner of Grant Zahajko Auctions based in Davenport, Washington, who is overseeing the auction, tells Rambling Reporter that the collection came to him through Osborne's nieces, who live in the area. A native of Washington himself, Osborne was born in the tiny town of Colfax. "You can see with Bob's stuff that it had nothing to do with money," says Zahajko, whose preliminary estimates for the collection range from $200,000 to $300,000. "[He collected] as a fan and as a historian. This was his life." 

Other items expected to drum up high bids include an original movie poster from the 1949 Gary Cooper film The Pride of the Yankees; a signed photo of Babe Ruth; and a guest program from the Academy’s Second Anniversary Oscar Awards Banquet on May 16, 1929, at the Roosevelt Hotel.

“I was overwhelmed and in awe at the same time,” Zahajko adds of his reaction to seeing what Osborne had collected during his lifetime. (Osborne passed away in 2017 at the age of 84.) “The one thing I’ve learned about him through his letters is how much he was loved and respected by everybody in the business. He had a connection with so many actors and actresses but also producers and movie companies. He was considered the historian of the Oscars, and I don’t know if there will be a better historian of film than him.”

The full collection and additional information about the auction can be found here

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.