ACADEMY AWARD® One of the most recognizable
Hollywood icons is a little fellow named Oscar. For decades,
these statuettes have been the Holy Grails of writers, directors,
actors, producers, and technicians, a symbol of the ultimate
achievement in their field. Approximately 50 awards are
hand-crafted each year by R. S. Owens Company of Chicago,
and as of the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony, over 2,744
Oscars have been awarded. Despite the sheer number that have
been produced and handed out, only a few have circulated
amongst collectors of Hollywood memorabilia, for a very simple
reason: since 1950, a requirement has existed that stipulates
that neither Academy Award winners nor their heirs may sell
the statuettes without first offering to sell them back to the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the sum of $1.
(If a winner refuses to sign said agreement, the Academy keeps
the statuette.)

This particular Academy First Award for Best Black and White
Art Direction was one of two presented to legendary art director
Richard Day on March 4, 1943, at the 15th ceremony. (He was
also honored that night with an award for Best Art Direction --
Interior Decoration, Color for My Gal Sal.) They were his 12th
and 13th nominations -- in a lifetime total of 20 -- and fourth
and fifth wins. The immensely talented Day had previously been
awarded the Oscar for Dark Angel, Dodsworth, and How Green
Was My Valley, and would win again in 1952 for A Streetcar
Named Desire and in 1954 for On the Waterfront. Because it
was awarded prior to 1950.

Richard Day's film career began in 1918 when director Erich
von Stroheim hired him as a set decorator. His work so
impressed von Stroheim that the director kept Day as a set
decorator, then an art director, and costume designer on many
of his productions. Day left von Stroheim and struck out on his
own in the '30s. He soon gained a reputation as one of the most
imaginative art directors in the business, and he worked often
for the major studios on their top-drawer productions. Day won
seven Oscars for art direction and set design.

This Oscar is one of the few Academy Awards to be exempted
from the Academy's no-sale rule, and is one of the last Oscars
awarded that is still able to be resold.  Sold in June 2009 for

Made of gold-plated britannium on a black metal base, the
statuette stands 13.5, weighs 8.5 lbs., and depicts an Art
Deco-style knight figure holding a crusaders sword standing
upon a reel of film, a design recognized worldwide.
Academy Award of Merit
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Richard Day with Ingrid Bergman