Movie memorabilia has become a hot ticket for super fans with money to burn. The last few years have seen all manner of props and costumes go for exorbitant prices, with recent examples including Darth Vader’s helmet from The Empire Strikes Back going for $898,000, the Ruby Slippers from Wizard of Oz being sold for $2 million, the Maltese Falcon for $4 million, and James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger for $6.4 million.
Now one of the most iconic props in horror cinema history is going under the hammer — Jack Torrance’s axe from The Shining. Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece is among the scariest films in history, thanks to Torrance’s homicidal rampage, especially towards the end of the film where Jack Nicholson bursts his head through a smashed bathroom door and yells “Here’s Johnny!” at his terrified family.
The auction is being held by Gotta Have Rock and Roll, with the axe currently estimated to go for “at least” $100,000. Compared to some of the props listed above that is an absolute bargain, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see this far exceed the sales estimate. If you’ve got deep pockets the axe is said to still be in very good condition and comes in a shadow box frame showing it in action in the movie itself.
In 2020, Vanity Fair put out a video about the history of these prop axes. Soon after the movie wrapped a crew member in England purchased one for just $10, intending to use it to chop wood at his house. It sat in his tool shed until 2005, at which point he realized that it was worth a substantial amount of money. It was then sold to the ‘Prop Store of London’ for several thousand pounds, has bounced between a few collectors, and is now on its way to a new home.
Here’s hoping a cinema museum gets the winning bid, as this would be a fine centerpiece in an exhibition on the history of horror.
Bidding opens on April 20.