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Friday, March 25, 2011

Plaster Oscar pulled From eBay at request of Academy

Plaster Oscar removed from ebay March 24, 2011
A plaster Oscar listed on eBay was recently removed by the owner at the request of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.  The plaster Oscar was claimed to be from the war years when Oscars were made from plaster for three years due to metal shortages.  After the war the recipients had the option to exchange their plaster one for metal, at which time the Academy destroyed the plaster statuette.  There are only two "known" to exist still today.  The term "known" really means plaster statuettes the Academy recognizes as genuine plaster Oscars from the era.  The Academy is known for bringing claim of infringement of copyright on any Oscar related memorabilia item they cannot independently verify having a hand in sanctioning.  Which roughly translates into, if they are not sure what it is you have than it is an unauthorized item.  Further the seller of any item flagged by the Academy will be asked to surrender the item to the Academy via their general legal counsel Quinn Emanuel.  Academy Assistant General Counsel Scott Miller has boasted in interviews that he keeps a collection of seized Oscars in his office.

This is not to say the Oscar listed on eBay was in anyway illegitimate, however records of an item such as a plaster Oscar were not kept.  Nor were the plaster Oscars marked in any way to identify them as such.  This seems to be one major problem with unusual Oscar memorabilia.  The Academy seems to lack records and or an unwillingness to provide any relevant data towards perpetuating the sale of memorabilia.

Below is the original listing description:

This item came from the estate of an entertainment producer.  The Academy Award is made of plaster (which was done during the WWII years); the base is wood, and there is no nameplate on the statuette.  As you can see, there is some splitting to the plaster, but I have been told that this can easily repaired by a restoration expert.

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