The actor made a surprise appearance on an eventful night at Sotheby’s Australia’s Sydney auction.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on April 9, 2018

“G’day folks, how are ya doing?”

In the annals of Russell Crowe’s storied career, this may not rank as his most memorable dialogue.

It was among his most surprising lines, however, spoken as he appeared from behind a curtain during a Sotheby’s Australia auction of his possessions in Sydney on Saturday night.

The auction comes on the back of the actor finalising his divorce to actress and singer Danielle Spencer.

Crowe’s decision to make an unannounced appearance was just one of many surprises on a night of drama at Sotheby’s Australia Sydney headquarters. Sotheby’s CEO Gary Singer had previously told Channel Nine they did not expect Crowe to attend.

Many items sold for far above their estimated price. A prop sword and spare blade used in Gladiator, for instance, was listed at A$3–4,000. It eventually went for A$85,400. The Roman chariot replica from the same film raised A$79,300, well above its expected price of A$10,000. The stunt cuirass worn by Crowe as Maximus was another popular item, raising A$152,000.

During his appearance at the auction, the raffish Crowe appeared in high spirits. “It’s been a lot of fun putting (the auction) together for you,” he told the assembled crowd.

He then introduced concert violinist Bridget O’Donnell, to play two pieces on a Leandro Bisiach violin that was part of the lot. Shortly after, the violin sold for A$164,700.

Crowe suggested the purchaser could play art patron, lending the instrument to O’Donnell to play in concert halls around the world.

Australian film memorabilia staying at home

Film buffs and historians will be pleased to hear that two key pieces of memorabilia from Crowe’s career will be preserved for all Australians to enjoy.

National Museum of Australia senior curator Daniel Oakman confirmed the museum had won bidding on two items it had placed on its wish list.

These were the leather coat and Moleskin trousers Crowe wore in classic 1993 drama The Silver Brumby and the Doc Marten boots he wore in incendiary 1992 film Romper Stomper. They were purchased for A$2,440 and A$12,200 respectively.

National Museum of Australia director Dr Matthew Trinca told AAP: “These objects highlight the success and depth of the national film industry and allow us to explore and celebrate that story, on behalf of all Australians.”

Oakman described the bidding on the night as “absolutely bonkers”.

“Not a bad hourly rate”

Crowe’s enviable collection of Australian art also sold well on the night. Arthur Boyd’s Riverbank with Reflections and Cockatoos sold for A$170,800.

Brett Whiteley’s 1974 work Moreton Bay Fig and Palms also comfortably exceeded pre-auction estimates, going for A$231,800.

Another unusual item that went under the hammer was a mounted Mosasaur skull. Auction notes reveal Crowe had acquired the fossil of the extinct reptile from fellow Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

Crowe had acquired the fossil of the extinct reptile from fellow Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio.

In the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, many of the cricket items in the lot attracted noticeably less interest.

Sachin Tendulkar’s – game worn and signed – one day international shirt was a relative bargain at A$3,172. Many other cricket items sold in their expected price range or were turned in.

A bat used by Martin Crowe to score his final Test century went to a fitting home. It was successfully acquired by the New Zealand Cricket Museum after a community crowdfunding campaign.

Overall, the auction netted some A$3.7 million for Crowe, who is finalising his divorce from actress and singer Danielle Spencer.

“Not a bad hourly rate for a five-hour shift,” Crowe quipped yesterday.

Note: all prices include buyer’s premium