Bette's 'bottom' Oscar set to fetch $250,000

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The Independent Culture

An Oscar won in 1938 by Bette Davis is expected to fetch up to £177,000 when it is auctioned today.

This award supposedly led to the gold statuettes becoming known as Oscars – Davis is reported to have said that its bottom looked like that of her husband, the trumpeter Harmon Oscar Nelson.

The Oscar, which Davis won for playing Julie Marden in Jezebel, is expected to sell for between $150,000 (£100,000) and $250,000, at Christie's in New York.

The Davis award is the most expensive lot in a sale of music and pop memorabilia, ranging from a suit worn by Marilyn Monroe to an axe used by Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Margaret Barrett, the head of Christie's popular art department, said the Bette Davis Oscar was the auction's "main attraction".

Unlike modern versions of the award, it has a black stone base, a material used until the Second World War, after which plaster was used. Today, the bases are made from brass.

The Hollywood actress, who died in 1989, starred inOf Human Bondage, All About Eve and Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?