Russell Crowe says he made $3.7 million in five hours on Saturday by selling off some of his personal memorabilia in a Sotheby’s Australia auction — including a leather jock strap that fetched $7,000.
The 54-year-old actor, whose birthday was also on Saturday, unloaded his sizable collection of over 200 items — including movie mementos, clothing, artwork, watches, furniture and guitars — while live-streaming the auction on his Facebook page.
Called “The Art of Divorce,” the auction marks the end of a chapter after Crowe split from Danielle Spencer, his wife of nine years. News of the couple’s separation emerged in 2012, and their divorce is nearly finalized.
“In case anyone is interested … $3.7m at the coal face and around $350k of conversations ongoing … and a bunch of stuff I didn’t really want to sell coming home … not a bad hourly rate for a 5 hour shift . Hope you are happy and busy,” Crowe tweeted Saturday.
Crowe told Good Morning Britain on Friday that the jock strap surprisingly turned out to be “one of the most popular items” leading up to the event.
“It was my jock strap when I won the heavyweight championship of the world as the character James J. Braddock in the film Cinderella Man,” he said. “I put it in the collection as a piece of whimsy and a bit of a gag. Funny enough, it’s garnered a lot of attention.”
Among the high-ticket items was the death armor worn by Crowe for his Oscar-winning performance in Gladiator, which was sold for $125,000. Other pieces from the Ridley Scott-directed movie also earned big bucks, including an aluminum prop sword and spare blade combo ($70,000), a Roman chariot replica ($65,000), a pair of black leather wrist cuffs ($32,000), a wooden training sword ($20,0000), and two life-size prop horses ($5,500 each).
Charles Blackman’s 1960 painting “The Suitor” earned $360,000, which appeared to be Crowe’s biggest ticket item.
Crowe said the most sentimental item was an 1890 Leandro Bisiach violin Crowe used in Master and Commander. Pre-auction, it was estimated to be worth between $110,000 and $140,000. It ended up selling for $150,000.
“Even though my intentions were kind of grand, the reality is I haven’t picked up this violin with any seriousness since that film ended in 2002,” Crowe told Good Morning Britain. “It just sits in my office, staring accusingly at me from across the room, gathering dust. And it shouldn’t… It should be played by somebody fabulous.”
He added: “Hopefully what will happen with this is somebody will come along and purchase this instrument as an investment. And they’ll lend it out to a musician and it will go on the next stage of its life, where it starts playing on the big concert halls of the world.”
The star first tweeted about the sale back in February, sharing a shot of the print cover of the Sotheby’s catalog that shows him dressed in a tuxedo, grinning while raising a celebratory toast to the camera.
When asked by Good Morning Britain why he wanted to name the sale “The Art of Divorce,” Crowe said he saw it as an opportunity to let go of the past.
“Getting to this point with the divorce, and no matter how amicable a split is, you’ve still got to unwind things at a deep level,” he explained.
“I’ve never been somebody who deconstructs things, I’ve always been somebody who builds things. So it was quite a big lesson in life to become somebody who can deconstruct things,” he added. “And I thought to myself, ‘While I’m in the middle of doing that, how else can I do that? How else can I apply that?’ And this is what I came up with.”
Crowe added that it took him 12 months to pull the collection together. “It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “This is almost like doing a full production … choosing the articles and how they balance with each other so there are collections within the collection. It’s been joyful.”
News broke of Crowe and Spencer’s split in October 2012, more than 20 years after the couple met playing lovers in the 1990 movie The Crossing.
The couple, who wed in April 2003, share two children: sons Charles, 13 and Tennyson, 11.
Crowe’s latest film, Boy Erased, is in post-production. He stars in the project — about the son of a Baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program — alongside fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman and Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges.