Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Proud Owner Of Jean Harlow Gown


Recommended Posts

I was fortunate enough to acquire this wonderful gown owned and worn by Jean Harlow early in her career, at a big auction last week by Heritage Galleries. There was some amazing Hollywood stuff there, including one of Errol Flynn's original outfits from Captain Blood, Ingrid Bergman's dress from Casablanca, and a few of Bogart's suit jackets from Casablanca, and many many more items from various stars of old Hollywood. I screwed up and was distracted, and someone swiped one of Bogie's jackets for only $900.00, a steal if you ask me. However, for a big Harlow fan like myself, winning this gown is a dream come true for sure. I was also able to get a few authentic Jean autographs, which are a bit rare as most of the ones you see out there are Mama Harlow's signature. However, Jean and her mother's signatures are very easy to tell apart.

If you want to see the Harlow gown I acquired, just copy and paste this link in your browser and hit enter to go to the link, picture will come up. Since it appears posting links or pictures can't be done in these Forums, this seems to be the only way. Below is the address:

 

http://home.comcast.net/~macca67/harlow.jpg

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies! Hmmm...$7000 for her signature? You mean 700 maybe? I can assure you genuine Harlow autographs are nowhere near that amount.You start talking about thousands when you get into personal wardrobe or posessions of hers, but not autographs. They can be had for just a few hundred, but you have to be careful and the best option is to have some kind provenance or proof behind it, autographs are easily forged. Also, as I mentioned, the difference between Jean's signature and Mama Harlow's is easy to recognize.

 

The gown I acquired was given to Jean by Gordon Bau, long-time Makeup director for Warner Bros. I think there is another auction in the fall, in October I believe. I hope to be able to acquire more items, but I can only spend so much and can't compete with the real heavy hitters with endless amounts of money. Ingrid Bergman's dress from Casablanca went for about $5000.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on your acquisition. I'm curious--was the auction the result of one of the large Hollywood costume collections going on the block, or did the auction house just put out the word and sell off the holdings from a bunch of small collectors?

Link to post
Share on other sites

It might be the same gown, looks close. Where did you see that go up for auction? That may have been from the owner when you saw it. I think this auction was a big collection they acquired. The auction was held by Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers. They still have a few things left from that auction, but not much. They have a nun outfit worn by Rosalind Russell in The Trouble With Angels, an evening gown worn by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Blvd, and some other stuff. I'll post a link below, I think some of these items are still available, not sure though. This same auction saw Johnny Carson's famous Desk Mic go for a crazy amount of money. The link below is just for the Costumes and such, navigate the site to see other items.

 

http://www.heritagegalleries.com/common/search_items.php?chkAuctions=1&chkInventory=1&hdnSearch=true&cboDenomination=Hollywood+Memorabilia:Costumes

Link to post
Share on other sites

To njprecode, please-(if you would be so kind.) forward "exact link,' f auction you went too!

 

It is very, very, imperative!

 

I was lucky enough-(thanx to a grand lady> Holly from these forums) of whom sent me the actual "Sotheby's Auction Book" of *Kate Hepburn's items last yr.

 

& always have much interest in anything of this nature-(for facts sake as well!)

 

The wedding gown Jean Harlow-(1911-37) wore in the great 1936 screwball comedy "Libeled Lady" is supposed to be same she was buried in.-(of course Glendale's, "Forest Lawn" again)

 

Please submit any info to: spencer64@ij.net

Link to post
Share on other sites

The link I posted is the one for the auction that is over now. Like I mentioned, some stuff is still left and available to buy I think, just check.

 

Actually, Jean Harlow was buried in a pink, silk negligee gown from her final movie, Saratoga.

Link to post
Share on other sites

hi, I do most of my signature bidding with either ebay or r&r. R&R is where I first saw the dress on auction. They primarily auction vintage signatures but occasionally they sell clothing, jewelry, or other celebrity related material.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the catalog from the Heritage sale, and it's all items from individual sellers, not from a major studio or costume house. The last time a sale like that occured, it was a few years ago, when Profiles in History sold a very large vintage Hollywood costume collection in a two part auction. And in the early 90's Western Costume sold off most of their inventory of star costumes in a three part sale through Butterfields in L.A. And two years ago Planet Hollywood sold off a bunch of their vintage costumes at Sotheby's here in N.Y. I went to the preview of that sale and it was amazing! Just about every star of Hollywood's Golden Age was represented, and all of the costumes were out in the open for everyone to inspect and look at up close. It was amazing. I remember looking at Bette Davis' dress from "Now, Voyager," the one she wears when she emerges as the "new" Charlotte Vale, and I couldn't believe how small it was. She was a very petite lady, with a tremendous personality and screen presence!

 

I used to have a nail buffer of Jean Harlow's. It came from a whole vanity set that she also gave to Gordon Bau. I bought it for only $165, and sold it a few years later for $750 in an auction. Sometimes you can find a good deal. That was one of the best deals I ever found! A good place to look is Ebay, since I've seen many costumes and artifacts sold on there that end up going to the big auction houses like Heritage, and wind up selling for a lot more money. You have to be careful though, there are many forgeries out there. A few sellers to be wary of are Roslyn Herman, anything sold by Richard Wilson, and there's another seller in Florida who's name escapes me, but they have an endless supply of vintage Hollywood "items" from every star imaginable, and it's pretty obvious that everything is fake. Nothing has any "real" provenance. Also be careful of the items that have provenance from John Barrymore's widow Elaine. She supposedly had a large collection of vintage Hollywood items from the stars that she was selling in the 90's before she died, and a lot of these items are still floating around amongst collectors. However, it was brought to light that towards the end of her life she was hard up for money, and was selling fake items simply because she had the connection through her late husband to use as provenance.

 

I've been collecting for a long while now, and my uncle has been in the business for about thirty years, that's how I know of these things. Just thought I'd share the info since some of you guys collect.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info and tips. There are several items I want, but I have a limited budget and just can't compete with the high rollers. It really sucks not having money, I don't care what anyone says....lol

 

However, I'm excited and pretty happy, as I never really thought I would own one of Jean Harlow's original Gowns, and it happened, so I consider myself pretty fortunate! These are not monetary things to me, I am a huge classic movie buff and I try to acquire these things for the love of the old movies and stars who I enjoy watching so much. Jean Harlow will always hold a special place in my heart, she died much too young, suffered an agonizing death and had a stage mother from hell. She was just getting better and better with each movie as an actress and it's just a shame she didn't get to do more.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What a wonderful buy!

 

I think you got a marvelous addition to your collection.

 

I was at one Sotheby auction, and it was most interesting. Being in London at an auction house, I was allowed to take a few photos after asking, which I guess is usually frowned upon, but fun to have.

 

I think if I collected any major film memorabilia, I would want it to be costume jewelry from films, which is so fantastic. I'd rather have some of Jean's jewelry than some of Jackie Kennedy's fake pearls! I'd go for the Art Deco period, and anything of the glamour girls of that time frame.

 

My great uncle went to Wake Forest University and played football. He dated Jean before she was famous, but even later in life, mentioned her mother being quite...shall we say, intimidating. Jean sent him a letter thanking him for the date, and his daughter still has it and it is fun to read. I guess I shall tell her the prices you quoted for autographs by Jean, and since it is an entire dated letter it should be worth a decent amount and all, in case she ever decides to sell it. They do have a provenance for it, as my great uncle has some other things from the time period relating to Jean that prove its authenticity.

 

Again, thanks for sharing this great story of your purchase!

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's lovely, njprecode. It's satin, correct? Has the fabric held up in terms of wear?

 

I would like to own the gown worn by Constance Bennett in Topper. Or ANY gown designed by Orry-Kelly.

 

Women's fashions in the movies of the 1930s, imo, were breathtaking.

 

And re Jean getting better, she was indeed. Her timing was quite delightful.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

like the bias cut dresses of the Thirties on the women, more than any other period?

 

I am partial to those two tone suits, with the shoulder pads from the 1940's, that women wore. Or the ones with quilting or raglan sleeves, with the platform shoes.

 

But not any Carmen Miranda numbers, as only she looks good in fruit.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Love them, realfuster, love them. I don't remember the movie, but Claudette Colbert wore one with light lines on a dark background, and the lines met all over the suit. It was perfection.

 

Dolman sleeves are my very favorite, the dress in Topper had dolman sleeves.

 

Remember the Palm Beach Story, when Rudy Vallee buys Colbert a number of 'day' outfits and 'evening' dresses, and itemizes each one? Even for today, I think the price on the peignoir set was shocking.

 

Wouldn't you like just a day back in time, say 1935, to do that? I would.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Stoney, yes, it's Satin and is in fabulous condition as well. I really lucked out with this one. I love my Connie Bennett too! Would love to have something of hers as well. That voice, that voice... what a voice on her!Perfect for the talkies if you ask me.

 

realfuster, that is amazing about that original Jean Harlow letter! Please let me know if you are ever interested in selling it. I highly doubt I could afford the price it would bring, but I would certainly make a good offer and you can be assured it would have a great home and treated with respect, like the Harlow gown I got.

 

My dad was in the Navy in 44'-45 and he got hurt, spent long time in Naval Hospital in San Diego and was there when they filmed parts of the Pride Of The Marines there. In fact, you can see him for a few seconds! There is a scene where the hospital is behind the actors and you can see a guy walk out onto a balcony on crutches, that's my dad! He didnt even realize he was captued on camera in the background until he saw the movie. He did get to meet alot of the stars in the mvie, they visited all the wounded Navy guys like my dad.

 

When he was able to, my dad also hitchiked to Hollywood with a buddy when he had leave, and they went to the Hollywood Canteen and Paramount Studios a lot. Over time, he got to meet Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Betty Grable, and he met Veronica Lake at Paramount. She was in costume and adjusting her costume and she talked with him for a few minutes. He met John Garfield and rode in the elevator with Jimmy Durante too. One other cool thing, he went to school for a little while with Jerry Lewis, here in New Jersey, and was friends with him in school. He told me Jerry got picked on a lot and was always getting in trouble. I grew up in Irvington, NJ and Jerry Lewis lived in a house a few blocks from my family's house and right around the corner from my grammer school, although of course, that was many many years before I was born. he dontaed lots of stuff to my school though, when I was a kid there, back in the 70's, I remember that. The house he lived in briefly is still there, but the town itself sadly, is a crime-ridden cesspool now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One day of shopping for bias cut clothing and some chapeaus in 1937, and I could pick up on the side some of those chyselephantine, Art Deco sculptures by Chiparus, which show the women walking their greyhounds or whippets, and make all those all-white decorating schemes in the films, with the padded leather doors look so good, as background for the objet d'art.

 

I bought TPBS recently on DVD, even though I have three copies on tape, because it has all those greats like Roscoe Ates, Jack Norton, Chester Conklin, Frank Faylen, Byron Foulger, Esther Howard, Lillian Randolph, and of course the Wienie King, Robert Dudley.

 

I particularly liked that striped number that Claudette was wearing as a suit, and Mary Astor looked nicely attired too. Rudy Vallee, by the way is a scream in this picture!

 

The gowns may have been by Irene, but I'm not sure.

 

To me...Claudette and Myrna Loy look the most sophisticated in films, in their couture.

 

I'll pass on ever wearing that hat that Garbo adored in "Ninotchka" which looked like Dali designed it.

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Moviejoe79, I e-mailed you. I just got some POSSIBLE disturbing news about the Harlow Gown and need to talk with you, as you know your stuff and mentioned some helpful info. I hope the news I got doesn't mean what it might mean, I guess I should have known anyways, as nothing good ever happens to me, nothing at all....

 

All the joy I had in owning something I never thought I would just took a big hit, I can't believe it...... E-mail me back please.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone here know if Gordon Bau, long-time Makeup Director for Warner Bros, has any living relatives who might be able to verify some of these items given to Gordon by Jean Harlow? How would I go about trying to locate them? I think he died in the 1970's.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, disregard my previous post. I have been able to authenticate this gown in the last day and there is no question about it being an authentic Harlow gown. I feel much better now. Whew!

Link to post
Share on other sites

> How much did you get the Harlow signatures for? I

> have seen her signature go for almost $7000 before.

 

It would not surprise me that a signed Jean Harlow photo could reach such a price, depending on its quality & condition, especially since she died very young and she's one of the "classic movie icons" of all-time.

 

Many, many years ago I used to receive the "Profiles in History" Catalogs-which are very respected dealers of all-kinds of memorabilia, especially authentic autographs- and I remember clearly seeing a beautiful 1940's Judy Garland signed & dedicated still being sold for about US$ 3,500 and a Humphrey Bogart signed & dedicated still for about the same price.

 

There are some artists' signatures which are more expensive than others: the aforementioned Bogart, Garland, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean,...

 

I also remember reading somewhere that Vivien Leigh's Oscar for "GWTW" was sold for about US$ 500,000!! And also saw a huge, very beautiful Leigh signed still for US$ 9,500, all of this in the early 1990s, I believe.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...