In 2006 a mysterious Oscar appeared on ebay (pictured above) the seller
claimed this Oscar was Karl Malden's 1951 best supporting actor Oscar.
Los Angeles Times - Tom O'Neil
While it was re-assuring to discover that the prize Malden earned as best
supporting actor of 1951 for "A Streetcar Named Desire" was in his
posssession, that meant a statuette for sale on EBAY was a fabulous fake.
Auction item 150042448494 not only looked persuasively time-worn and
tarnished, but it had the correct serial number: 626. Shocked Academy
lawyers (affectionately called the "Oscar police" by fellow staffers)
immediately went into cop mode to shut down the auction.
A truck driver in Niles, Illinois, had posted the fake Malden Oscar for
auction on Wednesday for $30,000, but when he got no immediate takers,
dropped the starting bid price to $18,000 on Thursday afternoon, just two
hours before EBAY yanked the listing upon receiving a complaint from the
Identifying himself only as "Matt," the attempted seller told The Envelope
that the award was "100 percent authentic," claiming that he found it in a
garbage dumpster outside a Chicago office building in 1979.
"I was just a kid taking the trash out of this building one day when I looked
into the dumpster and found this Oscar broken in two pieces, cracked at the
ankles," he said. "I had it appraised and they told me it would cost $5,000 to
$6,000 to put it back together and make it all shiny again as if it was new. I
don't have that kind of money so I just stuck it back together using poxy
"Matt" has not attempted to contact Malden since 1979, believing that he
now is the rightful owner of the statuette.
"Hey, anybody who throws an Oscar out is saying he doesn't want it," Matt
said. "If it's in the trash, it's not his anymore. It belongs to me. I've had it
for 27 years and now it's time I passed it on to someone else."
"Matt" pointed out that the company that manufactures the Oscar
statuette, R.S. Owens, is based in Chicago, thus implying: perhaps Malden's
statuette got broken, the manufacturer gave him a new replacement and
then threw out the old one in the trash.
"If so, then the statuette Karl has would have a newer serial number,"
notes academy spokesman John Pavlik, "but it appears as if they both have
the same number. We have no record that Karl's statuette was replaced.
Besides, Owens didn't start making the Oscars until 1982. Before then they
were made by Dodge Trophy in Los Angeles."
The academy is investigating the matter. As 2011 I have not seen any
information as to the disposition of this case.
Karl Malden Fake Oscar
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Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Copyright 2008 HollywooGoldenGuy.com
Several years ago the 1944 Best Director Oscar won by Leo McCarey was to be sold by Mastro Auctions. The opening bid was set at $25,000, but
the Oscar statue was expected to fetch over $100,000. There was only one problem...it was counterfeit.
Mastro Auctions was not entirely at fault though. They contacted the Academy for authentication after the current owner brought it to them for
sale. A problem arose when McCarey's daughter Mary claimed to have all three of his Oscars in her possession.
The Academy found the statue was actually made up of two mismatched parts. The base was authentic, but the original plate was removed and
replaced with a newer plate. The top weighed a pound more than real statues do. This was considered a high quality counterfeit by the Academy
and they plan to launch an investigation. I have not seen any printed follow up to this case.