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James Dean, Greta Garbo Among 250 Rare Hollywood Signed Photos Set for Auction

Photography By
D.W. Griffith
(left to right): Cecil B. DeMille, D.W. Griffith, and Mack Sennett pose together, circa 1910s (Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

 

It makes sense that someone who’s been successful in the arts would covet its history. Broadway producer Tom Gregory has amassed a sizable collection of rare Hollywood memorabilia throughout the years, and he’s offered up a giant portion of it—250 signed photos from the Silent Film Era to the Golden Age of Hollywood—to RR Auction in Boston.

With 70 percent of silent films destroyed, Gregory’s signed photos from that era hold a particularly important place in Hollywood history. The gem of the lot is a signed photograph of director D.W. Griffith (center in the above photo), who among other early classics, produced the highly racist (but revolutionary, nonetheless) epic Birth of a Nation. (His signature is on the lower end, with a pre-auction estimate of just $1,500.)

Maybe the best-known names come out of the Golden Age section of the autograph lot. Signed photos include Greta Garbo, James Dean, Wizard of Oz cast members, and even famed horror stars Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. (See a number of them below.)

“Tom Gregory has amassed a collection that can accurately be deemed world class,” said Robert Livingston, executive Vice President at RR Auction, in a press release.

The auction goes live on Dec. 8 and runs through Dec. 15. RealClearLife has curated a list of our seven favorites below, along with their pre-auction estimates (i.e. likely what you’ll have to bid on the photos in real time to eventually win them). At the bottom, watch Gregory expound on his collection.

Hollywood Signed Photos Auction
Trailblazing silent film director D.W. Griffith’s signature – pre-auction estimate: $1,500+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)
Hollywood Signed Photos Collection
Billie Burke, who portrayed Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ – pre-auction estimate: $6,000+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)
Hollywood Signed Photos Collection
Marilyn Monroe, signed publicity still from ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,’ 1953 – pre-auction estimate: $10,000+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)
Hollywood Signed Photos Auction
George Reeves, posing as Superman – pre-auction estimate: $3,000+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)
Hollywood Signed Photos Auction
Greta Garbo inscribed this photo to Eva von Berne, an Austrian actress who was being bred to be the next Garbo, circa 1927 – pre-auction estimate: $15,000+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)
Hollywood Signed Photos Auction
James Dean poses in this semi-glossy from the set of 1955’s ‘East of Eden,’ his first major role – pre-auction estimate: $15,000+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)
Hollywood Signed Photos Auction
Boris Karloff, as Frankenstein’s monster – pre-auction estimate: $6,000+ (Courtesy of RR Auction)