This is a continuation of researching past public auction house events to collect and share information about Superman costumes offered for sale historically. These are 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 began with Profiles in History and with this article (see “…Part 1“), will continue with Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Bonhams. While the Profiles in History article included fairly high resolution scans of the actual pages from the auction catalog, some of these are lower resolution and photo-only, depending on the source.
Christie’s, New York – SALE 7741: Film and Television Memorabilia including Hollywood Posters (June 28, 1995)
175. SUPERMAN, 1978
A complete costume worn by actor Christopher Reeve in the film Superman. The five piece costume consists of a blue knit leotard with red knit briefs attached, on the chest the red and yellow “S” insignia; a pair of matching blue knit tights; a red walking cape with yellow “S” insignia; a yellow belt with yellow buckle; and a pair of high red leather boots.
Click for Higher Resolution: Christie’s New York (06/28/95) – Superman Costume
Christie’s South Kensington – SALE EPH-8240: Prop, Film and Entertainment (December 10, 1998)
105. Superman IV
A four-piece Superhero outfit comprising a leotard of blue ‘silk’ stretch jersey the front appliquéd with a red and yellow S logo, with red belt loops (lacking belt), labeled Bermans & Nathans… with typescript details CHRISTOPHER REEVE, 4913 Walking, Superman IV, the shoulders with large press studs corresponding to those on the underside of the accompanying cape of scarlet wool appliquéd with a yellow and black S logo and similarly labeled; a pair of blue ‘silk stretch jersey tights similarly labeled; and a pair of red leather knee-length boots with zip fastening, each boot inscribed inside in black felt pen C4 – made for Christopher Reeve in the title role of the 1987 Cannon film Superman IV: The Quest For Peace; accompanied by a corresponding still (2)
Christie’s, New York – SALE OZ-8395: A Century of Hollywood (May 24, 2000)
166. Superman, 1978 & 1980.
A complete Superman costume comprised of a blue tunic with Super “S” logo inset at center chest, matching sky blue leggings , bright red brief-style shorts, bright red flying cape with Super “S”logo on verso and autographed within in black marker, “Christopher Reeve”, a yellow vinyl belt with matching rounded buckle and red leather knee-length boots as worn by actor Christopher Reeve in the motion pictures Superman and Superman II.
Click for Higher Resolution: Christie’s New York (05/24/00) – Superman Costume
Christie’s, New York – SALE BETTE-8525: Entertainment Memorabilia (July 19, 2001)
217. CHRISTOPHER REEVE ‘FLYING’ COSTUME FROM “SUPERMAN” Warner Bros., 1978
A complete Superman costume that Christopher Reeve wore as he portrayed the super hero. Consisting of a turquoise, red and yellow leotard with an ‘S’ logo on the chest, a red cape with the ‘S’ logo on the back, a pair of turquoise leggings, a yellow vinyl belt and a pair of red leather boots, this particular ensemble was worn for the flying sequences as evidenced by the slightly different turquoise color of the costume (it matches the ‘blue screen’ filming that simulated flying) and the harness slits in it. A handwritten notation of Nathan-Berman CR Fly” appears on the inside zipper lining of the leotard and the boots note either CR R 4 or CR L 4. A letter of authenticity stating that this costume originally came from Ilya Salkind, executive producer of “Superman,” is also included.
Estimate: $14,000-16,000 ($4,100.00 USD)
Christie’s South Kensington – SALE EPH-9771: Film and Entertainment Including The John Mollo Collection (December 16, 2003)
187. SUPERMAN, 1978
A four-piece superhero outfit comprising: a leotard of blue silk stretch-jersey, the front incorporating a red and yellow S logo, with red belt hoops and yellow plastic belt, inscribed inside the zip fastening in black ballpoint pen Nathan-Berman, CR, Fly with corresponding blue silk jersey tights; a cape of scarlet wool fastening with ties at the back and with two slits on either side for the hands, the reverse appliqued with a yellow and black S logo; and a pair of red leather knee-length boots with zip fastening to the reverse, one inscribed inside in black felt pen CR R 4 the other CR L 4 – made for Christopher Reeve in the title role of the 1978 Warner Bros. film Superman; accompanied by a reproduction of a corresponding colour still – 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm.); three documents concerning the provenance; a Danish DVD of Superman; and related material (a lot)
This costume was originally purchased from Ilya Salkind, the executive producer of Superman.
PROVENANCE: Ex-lot 217, Entertainment Memorabilia, Thursday, 19th July, 2001, Christie’s, New York
Christie’s South Kensington – Sale EPH-4912: Film and Entertainment (December 5, 2006)
146. Superman, 1978
A four-piece Superhero outfit on a life-sized customised portrait mannequin of Christopher Reeve on a custom-made stand – 78in. (198cm.) high, costume comprises: a leotard of blue silk stretch-jersey, the front with red and yellow S logo, with yellow plastic belt [made later], with Bermans & Nathans label inscribed in blue ballpoint pen C. REEVE B 16269, additionally inscribed inside along the zip fastening in black ballpoint pen CR BERMANS CC MGM INV. 78 with an additional white cloth tag inscribed CR FLY 78; with corresponding blue silk jersey tights similarly labelled; a cape of scarlet wool fastening with ties at the back, the reverse appliqued with a yellow and black S logo; and a pair of red leather knee-length boots with zip fastening to the reverse [made later] – made for Christopher Reeve in the title role of the 1978 Warner Bros. film Superman; accompanied by a document concerning the provenance (2)
This costume was made for the flying sequences in Superman. It is distinguishable from non-flying suits by the colour of the fabric used for the leotard and tights. Flying sequences were shot against a blue background requiring the costumes to be made of a slightly different shade of fabric to stand out against the background. The colour of the suit was then corrected during film editing, although the actual colour is still apparent in a small number of scenes.
The accompanying document from Ana Mungia, who worked at M.G.M. during the production of Superboy, states that this costume came originally from Ilya Salkind, executive producer of Superman and is … “believed to have been one of the costumes used in the production of Superman, which, subsequently was used as a model for Salkind’s 1988 production for M.G.M.’s Superboy.
Click for Higher Resolution: Christies South Kensington (12/05/06) – Superman Costume
Sotheby’s, UK – Sale 5552 Rock ‘n’ Roll and Film Memorabilia (September 13, 1995)
138. A CAPE USED IN THE PRODUCTION OF ‘SUPERMAN’, 1978, in red felt with yellow ‘S’ logo, blue ties and red nylon collar, collar unstitched
Sotheby’s, NY – Collector’s Carousel Dolls, Hollywood and Rock ‘n’ Roll Memorabilia (December 19, 1997)
606. Christopher Reeve, Superman’s distinctive cape from Superman, 1978, the bright red cape featuring yellow shield centering the Superman S, outlined in black thread, having two ties at neck, and padding to top area, marked in ink (was turned up) No S/6 relined 1/3/78. (6)
This cape was won in a contest held by DC comics, and comes with a letter of congratulations to the winner co-signed by the President and Editor of DC, on DC Stationary dated February 27, 1979, it states Your expertise in SUPERMAN lore (as proven by your correct answering of all the questions in our SUPERMAN trivia contest) has won for you the first prize in the SECOND SUPERMAN THE MOVIE CONTEST: the actual cape worn by actor Christopher Reeve in his portrayal of the MAN OF STEEL, also included in the lot is the envelope for he above and a photocopy of the advertisement of the contest.
Click for Higher Resolution: Sotheby’s New York (12/19/97) – Superman Cape
Sotheby’s, NY – Collectors’ Carousel Dolls, Toys, Coney Island Memorabilia, Hollywood & Rock ‘n’ Roll Memorabilia (June 12, 1999)
253. Christopher Reeve’s costume from ‘Superman IV: The Quest For Peace’ 1987 the four-piece outfit comprising a long sleeved leotard of blue and red stretch jersey, the front decorated with the trademark red and yellow S logo, belt loops at top of red trunks (belt missing), four snap closures to shoulders for cape attachment, with Bermans & Nathans label with typed details CHRISTOPHER REEVE 4913 Walking SUPERMAN IV; a pair of blue stretch nylon pants with matching label; a cape of scarlet wool with padded shoulders, the back decorated with a yellow and black S logo, four snap closures to underside for attachment to body suit and similar label; and a pair of leather knee-length boots with zip fastening, both inscribed inside in black felt pen C4 25875.00 USD
Sotheby’s, NY – Planet Hollywood: Selections From The Vault (December 14, 2002)
216. CHRISTOPHER REEVE COSTUME FROM “SUPERMAN III”
Warner Bros., 1983, a long sleeved uni-tard with blue grey top with ‘S’ emblem on front and four buttons on shoulders, and a red bottom with four belt loops, back zipper closure. The costume has a typed Bermans & Nathams label inscribed Christopher Reeve Normal 18628 Superman 3 and handwritten 487. One still is included. (Heavy fading to the blue on front and small pinhole in the red at front). (2)
Angels and Bermans, London, the costumiers to the Entertainment Industry.
Costume is used in scenes where Reeve is walking, not flying.
Bonhams, Knightsbridge – SALE 15337: The Angels Star Collection of Film & TV Costumes (March 6, 2007)
Lot No: 349 Christopher Reeve from ‘Superman’, 1978
A pair of over pants and a grey three piece suit, red elasticated Superman briefs with belt loops together with suit of grey wool with fine blue pinstripe
Sold for £1,320 inclusive of Buyer’s Premium
Click for Higher Resolution: Bonhams Knightbridge (03/06/07) – Superman Shorts
ED NOTE: This Bonhams piece was added to this article 07/06/08
Bonhams, Knightsbridge – SALE 15242: Film and Rock & Roll Memorabilia (June 20, 2007)
234. A Christopher Reeve Costume from ‘Superman’, 1978
A Christopher Reeve costume from ‘Superman’, 1978, comprising: a pale blue stretch-fabric leotard with ‘S’ logo and yellow belt, shoulders with stud and Velcro fastening, with matching tights and a pair of soft red leather knee-length boots, each inscribed inside 11½, and non-original red nylon cape, the leotard and tights each with Berman & Nathans labels marked Christopher Reeves 12188 Superman
Sold for £8,400 plus any applicable tax
Click for Higher Resolution: Bonhams Knightbridge (06/20/07) – Superman Costume
ED NOTE: This Bonhams piece was added to this article 05/18/08
The next article will archive relevant auctions from miscellaneous public auctions.
Jason De Bord
Additional Related Articles: Market Watch | Superman