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The Surprisingly Low Cost And Value Of An Oscars Statuette

The much coveted trophy in the movie awards industry actually costs less than we thought it does.

The golden Oscars statue stands at about 13.5 inches high and weighs in at 8.5 pounds. Yes, the statue is plated with 24-karat gold in a process that costs about $400 to do but the majority of the core of the statue is not gold but a pewter-type metal called Britannia that’s about 92% tin, 6% antimony, and 2% copper.



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So if you were to steal and sell the Oscars statue for scraps, Money estimates you’ll only really come up with something around $650 for the gold, copper, and tin.


Can I sell the statute instead?

Yes the Best Actress award now belongs to Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. But that golden Oscars statue, surprisingly, do not belong to her. Since a change in the Academy Awards regulations in 1950, all statuettes are only “on loan” to the winners and they have no rights whatsoever to the statuette.

The regulations regarding the statuette reads:

“The Award of Merit statuette, commonly known as the ‘Oscar,’ is the copyrighted property and registered trademark and service mark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (‘Academy’). The Academy has the sole and exclusive right to reproduce, manufacture, copy, sell, display images of and publish said statuette in any size or medium, whether in three or two dimensions, and to distribute or exploit the statuette or reproductions of same by gift, sale, license or otherwise.

That means that all statuettes issued to winners after 1950 cannot be sold, lest you go through a rigorous legal battle with the Academy—which they have already gone through and won in 2015, by the way.

If for some reason, the winner wants to dispose of his or her statuette, rules specify that the statuette must be offered for sale to the Academy at $1.


Older statuettes

Older Oscar statues, meaning those who have been given out before the 1950 ruling, could be and have been sold at auction houses for hefty prices. Over 150 of the older Oscar statues have been sold at an auction, one belonging to Pop singer Michael Jackson at one point. Jackson bought the statue of the 1940 Best Picture Oscar for Gone with the Wind in 1999 for $1.54 million.



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Actress Vivien Leigh with Gone With The Wind producer David O. Selznick, 1940 


The true Oscar value

In reality, the true value of the Oscar does not reside in that small gold-plated statue. The true value of an Academy Award is in the prestige the award bestows on the actress, actor, director, or film person—and that’s not just in its metaphorical or grand sense. It actually pays to win the Oscars.

Over the past four years, CBS News reported that Best Picture award winners generated an additional $14 million in box office revenue. Talents who win big at the Oscars win big afterwards, too, as they are expected to see up to a 20-percent boost in their paychecks for their next film. After Natalie Portman bagged the Best Actress award for Black Swan, she has boosted her previous 6-figure paycheck from the film to a cool $10 million.

So how would you like to own an Oscars statuette?


Cover image by lincolnblues on Flickr