Bela Lugosi Yard Sale Cape Pulled From Auction

A cape said to have been worn by Bela Lugosi in an unidentified film has been pulled from eBay less than two days before the auction was due to end. The cape was purchased as part of a lot of old costumes at a Hollywood yard sale a year ago. The vendor said that a United Costumers, Inc. label bearing the faded name of Bela Lugosi was found sewn into it the seams of the “dusty old cape.”

The cape, suffering from the effects of years of warehouse storage, was in need of preservation to prevent further deterioration. The lining was described as “badly worn, stained and distressed” and “coming away from the bottom seams.” The dark velvet collar was faded and splitting at the seams, while the heavy black woollen material of the cape was “heavily stained and faded with various little tears and holes.”

 Despite the capes poor condition, bids quickly passed $5,000. The day before it was pulled from the auction, the vendors said that they were considering “many considerable offers” for the cape, leading to speculation that it was sold outside of the auction.

Although the cape caused considerable excitement amongst Lugosi fans, some commentators voiced doubts about its authenticity. The label, which in the absence of any documentary evidence is the only thing that linked the cape to Lugosi, came under particular scrutiny. Several people expressed the opinion that it looked like it had been removed from another costume, possibly a shirt. One commenter on this site said that capes are not usually labeled in the way that this one was as the label may become visible on camera. The length of the cape, exactly four feet from collar to hem, was also deemed to short for Lugosi’s 6 foot 1 inch frame.

 The vendor said they would make available all of the information they had regarding the cape, including the original bill of sale for the lot from the wardrobe company and evidence of investigation work into the cape’s history performed on their behalf by a Los Angeles auctioneer, to anyone contesting their information. The auctioneer concluded that it was not a “Dracula” cape, but had “possibly” been worn by Lugosi in either White Zombie (1932)or Spooks Run Wild (1941). The sceptics countered by saying not only did the cape not resemble either of the ones Lugosi wore in those films, it bore no resemblance to any worn by him in any film.

The true identity of the cape, along with its current fate remain a mystery. (Andi Brooks)

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Bela Lugosi Movie Cape Found in Yard Sale

There was much excitement and consternation amongst fans when Bela Lugosi Jr. mysteriously, but unsuccessfully, tried to auction the cape worn by his father in Universal’s 1931 adaptation of Dracula. The asking price of  $1,200,000 scared off any potential buyers in the Icons of Hollywood auction at Profiles in History on December 16th, 2011.

Now another cape said to have once been worn by Lugosi is being offered for sale. Perhaps befitting its uncertain provenance and rather poor condition, it is being auctioned not in the rarefied atmosphere of a famous auction house, but on eBay. It is still likely, however, to cause a great deal of excitement amongst fans and potential buyers. This previously unknown cape was found in a lot of costumes purchased by the vendor at a Hollywood yard sale a year ago. When investigating the possibility of relining the “dusty old cape,” the vendor discovered a United Costumers, Inc. label bearing the faded name of Bela Lugosi sewn into it the seams.

Following some research into the cape’s history, the vendor has established that it was not used in either Universal’s Dracula or Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein, both of which starred Lugosi as Count Dracula. It is currently unknown exactly in which movie Lugosi could have worn it. The vendor has suggested White Zombie (1932), which would make it a very interesting piece, or perhaps Spooks Run Wild, which he made for Monogram Pictures in 1941. As he wore a cape in several other movies, some solid research will have to be conducted to establish its history.  

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Could the cape be the one worn by Lugosi in White Zombie in 1932?

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The cape itself is in need of some preservation to prevent further deterioration. The cream lining is described as “badly worn, stained and distressed through its many decades of use and storage” and “coming away from the bottom seams.” The dark velvet collar is faded and splitting at the seams, while the heavy black woollen material of the cape is “heavily stained and faded with various little tears and holes due to its age and obvious deterioration from warehouse storage.”

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Lugosi wore a cape in several films, including Spooks Run Wild in 1941

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Despite its condition and currently unverifiable history, the chance to own a cape once worn by Lugosi  is a tantalising one. The current bid, with five days to go, is $560. The vendors minimum asking price is unknown, but it will certainly be within the range of more people than the $1,200,000 sought for the Dracula cape. The vendor expressed the hope that the cape “will go to a Lugosi collector who can really appreciate the value of its origins.” (Andi Brooks)

You can place your bid at:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/320940103071?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

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