Eye-watering sums of money have been shelled out during an eclectic Sydney auction for actor Russell Crowe that included a surprise visit from the man himself.
Source: Bang Showbiz
The Oscar-winner decided to part with an intriguing mix of possessions including jewellery, artwork and sports memorabilia following his divorce from Danielle Spencer.
"It's been a lot of fun putting it together for you," he told the crowd at the inner-city Carriageworks building.
Some of the most hotly-contested items were props and costume pieces from the 2000 film Gladiator, including a stunt cuirass worn by Crowe during the death scene for his character Maximus.
The armour was expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000, but an online bidder paid $125,000.
A replica Roman chariot from the same movie sold for $65,000, while a wooden training sword was won for $20,000 and an aluminium prop sword went for $70,000.
One buyer stumped up $115,000 for a costume Crowe wore as Captain Jack Aubrey in the 2003 film Master and Commander, but it was a prop from that movie Crowe said was "very dear to my heart".
His arrival coincided with the bidding for a Leandro Bisiach Sr violin used in the film, dating back to 1890.
"I'm told by a luthier, who should know these things, that he can detect the hands only of Leandro Bisiach Sr on the violin," Crowe said.
"It was made by the patriarch of the company."
Guests were treated to a recital of a piece from Master and Commander by Australian Youth Orchestra musician Bridget O'Donnell.
Crowe suggested, in the tradition of classical instruments, it could be given to a talented young musician such as Ms O'Donnell to be played in halls around the world.
The violin fetched $135,000.
Crowe also parted with a collection of artwork, including the 1960 Charles Blackman work "The Suitor", which sold for $360,000.
The event attracted a colourful mix of clients that were as varied as the items up for grabs - some wearing ball gowns, others sporting beanies.
"Look at that, something for everyone," auctioneer Martin Gallon quipped as he opened bidding for a life-sized horse prop that was snapped up for $5500.
A leather jockstrap worn by Crowe in the 2005 movie Cinderella Man was won by a telephone bidder for $7000.
Another buyer paid $65,000 for a mounted Mosasaur skull.
All winning bids attracted a 22 per cent commission.
Auction house Sotherby's Australia chief executive Gary Singer said the event, which included about 230 items in total, had been a year in the making.
"It's cathartic having a bit of a clean out," Mr Singer told AAP.
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