As noted in the previous Superman costume related article, I am in the process of researching past public auction house events to collect and share information about Superman costumes offered for sale historically. These will be limited to costumes offered for sale in the marketplace that were attributed to use by Christopher Reeve in the Superman films of the 70s and 80s, with the exception of a few “Superboy” costumes to serve as a reference and point of comparison in appearance and sources, etc.
With this focus, I am beginning with Profiles in History as I have a full set of the auction catalogs, save for just one event, so it was easy enough for me to scan these with optimum quality and include all descriptions.
Profiles in History 3 (May 18, 1997)
620. Christopher Reeve’s Cape Used in the “Superman” Films
(Warner Bros., 1978 and 81) This bright-red woven fabric cape has a bright yellow shield stitched to the back, embroidered in black thread to outline and form the distinctive “S”. The cape has two slits for the flying apparatus. Two ties stitched to the neck area, and the top has inner padding. Interior has the following labels on white tape handwritten, “REMADE NOV/82”, “F/8 FLYING CAPE 9000” and safety-pinned to inside is an “EPCOT Center LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA” label handwritten “No 8 FLYING”. Comes with letter of provenance from Allen Duckworth who was hired by Tim Duffy for the TV series “The Adventures of Superboy”. During an episode “Micro Boy” Duckworth was asked to develop a special mask which was to be worn with a cape. For this he was given a “used” cape with the understanding that it might be destroyed to design the new costume “head”. This is the cape. All of the markings and tags are as they were when received, except for the Epcot label which was attached during the first season “Superboy” was shot at Disney Studios. The remaining three seasons were shot at Universal. The label marked “Remade Nov. 82” indicates that the cape was used in one or more of the “Superman” feature films prior to “Superboy” which was filmed in the late 1980’s and early 90’s.
$5000 – 7000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 3: Christopher Reeve’s Cape Used in the “Superman” Films, Page 1 of 2
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 3: Christopher Reeve’s Cape Used in the “Superman” Films, Page 2 of 2
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 3: Christopher Reeve’s Cape Used in the “Superman” films, Color Supplemental
Profiles in History 6 (June 26, 1999)
308. Christopher Reeve Complete “Superman: The Movie” Costume, Used in the Filming of Both I & II
(Warner Bros., 1978) From “Superman: The Movie”, Christopher Reeve’s complete “Superman” costume consisting of a full length blue body suit with the famous red and yellow “S” insignia sewn in and red trunks attaches, yellow belt, red cape with yellow “S” insignia sewn on, red leather “flying” boots with sip-up back closure and velcro flap, and a dark wig. In December of 1997, a like “Superman” cape sold for $17,700 at auction. Offered here is the complete costume from Reeve’s trademark role as the “Man of Steel”, mounted on a life-like mannequin.
$30,000 – 50,000
Special Note: This is the costume currently offered by Guernsey’s as part of the Pugliese Pop Culture Collection auction to be held March 15-16, 2008 at the Palms in Las Vegas (see lot 380). High definition screencaps from the Today Show can be found here: Guernsey’s Pugliese Pop Culture Collection Auction: HD Images from Today Show Feature
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 6: Christopher Reeve Complete “Superman: The Movie” Costume, Used in the Filming of Both I & II
Profiles in History 18 (March 31, 2004)
320. Christopher Reeve Hero Costume from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
(Warner Bros., 1987) This four-piece costume consists of a long-sleeve leotard of blue and red stretch jersey, with chest emblazoned with the trademark Superman “S” in yellow and red; red briefs with belt loops (belt not present) and a Bermans & Nathans label typed “Christopher Reeve 4913 Walking Superman IV”; a pair of blue stretch nylon pants with matching label; cape of scarlet wool with padded shoulders, the back having another Superman “S” logo with similar label, and a pair of red knee-length leather boots with zipper closures, inscribed in black felt pen “C4”. Each piece has a matching label with matching production numbers. Worn by Christopher Reeve in the fourth installment of the Superman series of films from the late 1970s / 1980s. In this film, Superman fights Lex Luthor’s diabolical creation, Nuclear Man, an android of superhuman strength powered by the sun. The “Walking” notation in this costume identifies it as one of the close-up or hero costumes, and the entire garment and boots remain in excellent condition. Easily one of the most recognizable costumes in Hollywood history, this is without question the best Christopher Reeve Superman costume to ever come to auction!
$30,000 – $40,000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 18: Christopher Reeve Hero Costume from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Profiles in History 23 (December 16, 2005)
227. Gerard Christopher Superboy Costume from the Superboy TV Series
(Viacom TV, 1988-92) This signature “Boy of Steel” costume was made specifically for Gerard Christopher, and consists of a pair of blue spandex tights, matching long-sleeve leotard with Superman “S” logo emblazoned on the chest, and a red felt cape with logo on the back. Included Walt Disney World label is inscribed in black ink “Jerry”. Also includes a prop Daily Planet newspaper with headline “Superboy Freezes Meltdown”, and a small prop Kryptonite rock.
$4,000 – $6,000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 23: Gerard Christopher Superboy Costume from the Superboy TV Series
228. Christopher Reeve Complete Superman Costume from Superman III
(Warner Bros., 1983) Complete superhero costume consisting of a royal blue unitard with integral red briefs and classic Superman “S” logo on the chest; a Bermans & Nathans label is sewn into the inside collar, and inscribed in blue ink “Reeve Normal – R626 S/B”. Together with the matching red cape with black snaps on the shoulders (for attachment to the unitard) and yellow “S” logo patch; pair of blue tights marked “C.R.” in black ink at the waistband. [Red leather boots and the yellow leather belt are replicas. Belt manufactured to the same specifications as the original screen-used belt, and incorporates an exact buckle cast from the original screen-used buckle.] This costume was made for Christopher Reeve in his signature role as the Man of Steel, and is believed to have been used for the outdoor walking shots in the film. It was originally acquired by MGM costumer Ana Mungia, who worked as the head costumer on The Adventures of Superboy. Ilya Salkind, the producer for Superman films as well as the Superboy TV series, presented this costume to Mungia as a model for the Superboy costume. Comes with a letter of authenticity from Ana Mungia, as well as a letter of provenance from the subsequent owner. A rare opportunity to own one of the very few Christopher Reeve Superman costumes in existence!
$20,000 – $30,000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 23: Christopher Reeve Complete Superman Costume from Superman III
Profiles in History 27 (April 5, 2007)
537. Christopher Reeve Complete Hero Superman Costume from Superman: The Movie
This costume consists of a long-sleeve leotard of blue and red stretch jersey, with chest emblazoned with the trademark Superman “S” and an interior Bermans & Nathans label typed “Christopher Reeves [sic] 12186 Superman”; a pair of matching blue stretch nylon tights with interior Bermans & Nathans label typed “Christopher Reeve Colour A 18629”; a yellow-painted leather belt; a long flowing cape of scarlet wool with padded shoulders and interior bias label handwritten “C. Reeve Colour B Walking”, the back having a yellow Superman “S” logo with black stitched borders; and a pair of knee-length red leather boots with zipper closures, each boot with Bermans & Nathans labels typed “Christopher Reeves [sic] 12188” and handwritten “Waterproof”. Red masking/electrical tape is applied to the soles of the boots, most likely to prevent excessive wear during the production.
The belt exhibits some cracking to the leather on the inside (non-visible) surface only, and the cape has some minor moth holes at the lower edge; otherwise, the entire costume is in pristine condition.
This costume was originally acquired by a sub-contractor who worked as a set decorator and a special effects flying/rigging technician on the first two Superman films at Pinewood studios in London. Its ownership was later transferred to a make-up artist in Nashville, TN, whose
letter of provenance will accompany this fantastic costume.
Studio labeled throughout, this complete hero costume is, without question, the finest original Christopher Reeve Superman costume we have ever encountered. Easily one of the most recognizable costumes in Hollywood history, it is the most important complete costume from this landmark film ever brought to public auction.
$50,000 – $70,000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 27: Christopher Reeve Complete Hero Superman Costume from Superman: The Movie, Page 1 of 2
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 27: Christopher Reeve Complete Hero Superman Costume from Superman: The Movie, Page 2 of 2
Profiles in History 28 (August 2-3, 2007)
847. John Haymes Newton Superboy Costume (Viacom TV,1988-92)
Screen-worn Superboy costume consisting of a tunic with Superman “S” insignia, red briefs, and matching blue leggings as worn by John Haymes Newton in the title role. The signature red cape is also included, but was screen-worn by Gerard Christopher. Boots are not present. Comes with a signed letter of authenticity from John Haymes Newton.
$3,000 – $5,000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 28: John Haymes Newton Superboy Costume
Profiles in History 30 (December 13-14, 2007)
946. Christopher Reeve Hero Walking Cape from Superman: The Movie
(Warner Bros., 1978) Dramatic full length red cape of heavyweight cotton, lined inside at the shoulders in matching red fabric with four internal snaps at the shoulders for attachment to the main costume. The back-facing side of the cape is emblazoned with the signature “S” logo in Krypton script, which consists of a gold fabric swatch with black piping. An internal bias label is handwritten “C. Reeve Walking COL/C/I” in ink on the inside collar. Although this cape was made for Superman: The Movie, it was most likely used in Superman II as well, since both were filmed concurrently. Comes with a letter of provenance from Jeff Chandler, assistant art director on the Superboy series, stating that this cape was sent to the Superboy production offices by the Salkind Company to use as a model for the Superboy cape. Slated to be destroyed after it had served its purpose, Chandler was then given this cape by an associate producer.
$25,000 – $30,000
Click for Higher Resolution: Profiles in History 30: Christopher Reeve Hero Walking Cape from Superman: The Movie
The next article will archive relevant auctions from Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Jason De Bord
Additional Related Articles: Market Watch | Superman