Up for auction in RI: A 1942 Oscar award

A rare 1942 Oscar award statuette is going on the auction block in East Greenwich.

At the 15th Academy Awards, the movie "Mrs. Miniver" won for best picture of 1942, starring Greer Garson who also won for best actress.

One of the other Oscars handed out that night went to Joseph C. Wright for color art direction of the film "My Gal Sal".

"He worked on over 100 motion pictures including 'Porgy and Bess' and 'Oklahoma,'" said Nanci Thompson of Briarbrook Auctions.

An extended family member from Cranston inherited the statue.

While he was having a sterling silver flatware set appraised for auction, Thompson noticed something on the table toward the far end of the room.

"I said to them, 'My Gosh, is that what I think it is?' and they said, 'Yes'. And I said, 'Could I see it a little more closely?'" she said.

Starting in 1950, Oscar winners were required to sign contracts saying if they ever wanted to sell their statuettes, they would have to first offer to sell them back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for $1.

"It is believed that there have only been possibly up to 200 Oscars that have ever changed hands at auction. Steven Spielberg has bought a few Oscars, pre-1950 Oscars, which are the only ones that are legally able to be sold. And he as actually donated them back to the Academy," Thompson said.

The Oscar has a little bit of wear and tear mostly on the backside.

The Orson Welles statuette for "Citizen Kane" fetched $1.8 million at auction. Thompson said this Oscar could go for tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The auction is at 5 p.m. Monday at the Varnum Street Armory in East Greenwich.