Osian auctions its Hollywood memorabilia in Los Angeles | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Osian auctions its Hollywood memorabilia in Los Angeles

Among the most prized items in the collection are dinosaur models used in the production of the Jurassic Park movies, which Tuli bid for at a US auction in the 2000s

mumbai Updated: Mar 10, 2018 17:26 IST
Neville Tuli, chairman of Osian’s Group, began building his Hollywood collection much before the birth of Osian’s in 2000.
Neville Tuli, chairman of Osian’s Group, began building his Hollywood collection much before the birth of Osian’s in 2000.

Sometimes, to save a private archive, you have to give up part of it.

A life-size Terminator figure used in one of the films, an original sketch for Vivien Leigh’s green gown from Gone with the Wind, and a 6-ft-tall poster for the original King Kong (1933) were among 400 items of Hollywood memorabilia from the Osianama Archives that went under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles on Thursday.

“Over 18 years, I’ve built the archive without any sponsorship or funding,” says Neville Tuli, chairman of Osian’s Group, considered India’s pioneering arts institution and auction house, which houses an archive, library and a vast collection of antiquities, miniatures, sculptures and other cultural artefacts.

“However, the financial independence has come at the cost of being debt-ridden. In the past, we’ve auctioned our art and antiquities to reduce our debt from Rs200 crore to less than Rs12 crore. Next in line was the Hollywood memorabilia, the only significant Indian collection of Hollywood heritage. I decided to sacrifice it because it’s the most valuable financially and can be bought back because it has a vibrant secondary market.”

Tuli began building his Hollywood collection much before the birth of Osian’s in 2000. Some of the first items he bought included lobby cards for Buster Keaton films, some of which also went on the block this week.

Over time, the collection grew to include original posters for iconic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), production props from Aliens (1986) and Batman Returns (1992) as well as treatment scripts and photographs.

Among the most prized items in the collection are dinosaur models used in the production of the Jurassic Park movies, which Tuli bid for at a US auction in the 2000s.

Some of these fetched relatively large sums on Thursday — a T-Rex from The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) brought in $43,520 (about Rs 28 lakh); a 5-ft-high display figure of the venom-spitting Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park (1993) sold for $64,000 (about Rs 41 lakh).

The auction, titled Property from the Osianama Archives, continues online on Julien’s website until March 19. Still up for grabs are posters and lobby and window cards for Hollywood classics like Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Godfather (1972) and War of the Worlds (1953).

Post May, Tuli also plans to convert Osianama.com into a research centre that would be open to the public. “So far, we’ve only provided access to scholars,” he says. “The idea is to share a deeper and more integrated cultural vision of India and the world with the masses.”