By ROD MCGUIRK, Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The torso armor Russell Crowe wore for his Oscar-winning role in "Gladiator" eclipsed expectations at a Sydney auction on Saturday, selling for 125,000 Australian dollars ($96,000).
Sotheby's Australia had estimated the stunt cuirass worn in the 2000 blockbuster would fetch between AU$20,000 and AU$30,000. But much of the movie memorabilia auctioned by the Australia-based New Zealander as part of his divorce settlement exceeded expectations.
A replica Roman chariot from the same movie in which Crowe played the general-turned-gladiator Maximus, thought to be worth up to AU$10,000, was sold for AU$65,000.
A leather boxer's protector, worn by Crowe when he played heavyweight champion James J. Braddock in the 2005 movie "Cinderella Man," estimated to bring between AU$500 and AU$600, sold for AU$7,000 after intense bidding.
Sotheby's was closer to the mark in valuing the maroon Doc Martens boots Crowe wore as the skinhead Hando in the 1992 movie "Romper Stomper." The pair sold for AU$10,000, while Sotheby's anticipated between AU$10,000 and AU$15,000.
The auction, titled "The Art of Divorce," took place on the actor's 54th birthday and the anniversary of his wedding to singer Danielle Spencer in 2003.
A cheerful Crowe made an appearance after singer Alisa Nasteski sang Happy Birthday and the crowd gave him three cheers immediately before Lot 31, a violin by Leandro Bislach, sold for AU$135,000. The violin, used by Crowe when he played Captain Jack Aubrey in the 2003 movie "Master and Commander," was the most expensive sale in the early part of the night and was likely to bring the highest price of the auction.
The winning bid was at the high end of expectations of between AU$110,000 and AU$140,000.
"G'day folks, how're you doing?" Crowe told the crowd. "Are you having a little bit of fun? It's exciting, isn't it? So it's been a lot of fun putting it together for you."
Before the auction started, Sotheby's predicted the 227 eclectic lots, covering movies, guitars, paintings, jewelry, watches and sporting memorabilia, would bring between AU$2.6 million and AU$3.7 million.