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Fame and celebrity

‘The art of divorce’: Russell Crowe’s Gladiator armour fetches US$96,000 in memorabilia sell-off

The auction of 227 items at Sotheby’s Australia was part of the actor’s settlement with ex-wife Danielle Spencer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 April, 2018, 8:52pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 April, 2018, 8:53pm

The torso armour Russell Crowe wore for his Oscar-winning role in Gladiator eclipsed expectations at a Sydney auction on Saturday, selling for A$125,000 (US$96,000).

Sotheby’s Australia had estimated the stunt cuirass worn in the 2000 blockbuster would fetch between A$20,000 and A$30,000. But much of the film memorabilia auctioned by the Australia-based New Zealander as part of his divorce settlement exceeded expectations.

A replica Roman chariot from the same film in which Crowe played the general-turned-gladiator Maximus, thought to be worth up to A$10,000, was sold for A$65,000.

A leather boxer’s protector, worn by Crowe when he played heavyweight champion James J. Braddock in the 2005 film Cinderella Man, estimated to bring between A$500 and A$600, sold for A$7,000 after intense bidding.

Sotheby’s was closer to the mark in valuing the maroon Doc Martens boots Crowe wore as the skinhead Hando in the 1992 film Romper Stomper. The pair sold for A$10,000, while Sotheby’s anticipated between A$10,000 and A$15,000.

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The auction, titled “The Art of Divorce”, took place on the actor’s 54th birthday and the anniversary of his wedding to singer Danielle Spencer in 2003.

A cheerful Crowe made an appearance after singer Alisa Nasteski sang Happy Birthday and the crowd gave him three cheers immediately before Lot 31, a violin by Leandro Bislach, sold for A$135,000.

The violin, used by Crowe when he played Captain Jack Aubrey in the 2003 film Master and Commander, was the most expensive sale in the early part of the night and was likely to bring the highest price of the auction.

The winning bid was at the high end of expectations of between A$110,000 and A$140,000.

“G’day folks, how’re you doing?” Crowe asked the crowd. “Are you having a little bit of fun? It’s exciting, isn’t it? So it’s been a lot of fun putting it together for you.”

Before the auction started, Sotheby’s predicted the 227 eclectic lots, covering films, guitars, paintings, jewellery, watches and sporting memorabilia, would bring between A$2.6 million and A$3.7 million.