Hollywood History Up for Sale Inside Dallas' Heritage Auctions

'This is one of the reasons I came here -- for stuff like this,' says Robert Wilonsky, the former columnist for The Dallas Morning News turned communications director for Heritage Auctions

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Inside a nondescript office building off Airport Freeway sits a small room containing some of the most iconic pieces of movie and TV history.

Robert Wilonsky, the former city columnist for The Dallas Morning News and now communications director for Heritage Auctions, gave NBC 5 a sneak peek of the items now up for grabs.

Heritage Auctions Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Signature Auction

“We’re surrounded in this very room by some of the greatest moments from Hollywood history,” Wilonsky said.

The company's latest auction includes hundreds of entertainment items ranging from Elton John’s Steinway touring piano to a lightsaber used by Mark Hamill in "Return of the Jedi."

“This is really the most all-star auction that Heritage has ever had,” Wilonsky said. “This is one of the reasons I came here -- for stuff like this.”

Highlights from the collection include costumes from iconic movies including Judy Garland’s romper worn during the first weeks of filming "The Wizard of Oz" and dresses worn by Marilyn Monroe in "Bus Stop" and "The Seven Year Itch."

The auction also includes some of Monroe’s personal belongings, including a self-portrait.

“If you notice it’s signed Marilyn Monroe Miller during her short marriage to playwright Arthur Miller,” Wilonsky said. “It was auctioned off by Lawrence Oliver at an auction in England. If you look at it, you can tell what it is. It’s how she saw herself and it’s been prominently displayed in the home of every collector who’s owned it and there’s only been two.”

Robert Wilonsky points to a jacket worn by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.
NBC 5 News
Robert Wilonsky points to a jacket worn by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.

Wilonsky is most excited about the items belonging to comedian Groucho Marx. His iconic glasses start with an opening bid of $20,000.

According to Heritage Auctions, the entertainment collection is set to draw more than $5 million.

The company relocated from the Design District to a larger space off Airport Freeway last year and offers auctions in more than 40 categories.

“It’s really wonderful because every day is different here,” said Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President. “To the larger, worldwide collecting community we’re probably better well known than we are in our own backyard.”

It’s expected the unique items will draw bidders from all over the world interested in owning a piece of pop culture.

“It’s memories and it speaks to you,” Wilonsky said. “It touches your heart. It’s just really special stuff.”

Bidding has begun on Heritage Auctions' website and the live auction begins at 1 p.m. July 16 through July 18.

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