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The Vault

Forest J Ackerman Estate Auction – Own a Piece of Horror Movie History

Over at NBC.com’s LA Around Town, Alysia Gray Painter points out that the estate of the late Forest J Ackerman – who assembled probably the world’s greatest collection of sci-fi movie memorabilia – is going on auction today and tomorrow at Profiles in History. There is a lot of stuff up for grabs: 1,174 lots of 50 items each, not all of it sci-fi related (there are lots of glamor photos, like shots of Raquel Welch from FATHOM).

I do want to raise one little objection about a piece of mis-information that Painter gleaned from an LA Times article about the auction: the claim that a ring worn by Bela Lugosi in DRACULA (1931) is up for auction. The ring up for auction (seen at top) is a crested ring, but the one Lugosi wore in DRACULA was a simple, smooth piece of onyx. Lon Chaney Jr firs wore a crested ring in 1943’s SON OF DRACULA. A similar but slightly different ring was worn by John Carradine, who played the Count a year or two later in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and HOUSE OF DRACULA. That ring – or more likely a copy of it, as the studio prop department no doubt made duplicates – was passed on to Lugosi when he returned to his most famous role in 1948’s ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. Lugosi apparently kept the ring and gave it to Ackerman, who had copies made, one of which he gave to Christopher Lee, who wore it in his appearances as as the Count beginning with DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE.

So, technically, it is the “Lugosi Dracula Ring” in the sense that the actor did wear it while playing the Count, but it was actually designed for Carradine.