Michael Caine selling up his Italian Job lot – personal treasure trove of movie memorabilia to be auctioned by Bonhams

Posted on 16 January 2022
By Pierce King
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Beloved actor and national treasure Sir Michael Caine is selling off his cherished collection of movie memorabilia from his films after putting his seven-bedroom Surrey mansion up for sale.

Sir Michael, 88, and his wife, former model Shakira Baksh, are ‘downsizing’, auction house Bonhams said. The lots are being auctioned by the famed London dealers, with the sale taking place on March 2.

The Oscar-winner said it would be hard to part with the hundreds of nostalgic treasures. Among them is his £12,000 gold Rolex watch and 40 works of art, including paintings by LS Lowry and Marc Chagall.

Two standout lots show original posters from two of his most famous films – Zulu and Alfie. The former is expected to sell for up to £1,500, whilst the latter could fetch £700.

Posters from Caine’s 1965 film the Ipcress File and 1971 production Get Carter are also up for grabs, whilst fans can get their hands on two pairs of Sir Michael’s iconic spectacles if they are willing to part with an expected £1,200.

Speaking in a video filmed by Bonhams for the sale, Sir Michael said of his art collection: ‘It is all nostalgia and remembrance with me.

“I didn’t collect art as some great art dealer, stuff became expensive accidentally.’

Many of the lots recount Sir Michael’s years as a single man in the 1960s, when he made films such as Alfie, Zulu and The Italian Job.

Sir Michael recounted how he was guided around the south of France by glamorous star Brigitte Bardot.

‘When I was single I was always in St Tropez,’ he said.

‘And Brigitte Bardot would show me around and everything. So it was all great. I’ve been in every one of those places.

‘In that other room there’s a set of posters on ‘journey to Paris on the train’. I was a bit reluctant to sell them. They are such a memory to me.

Artworks depicting the south of France were on display in the drawing room of his home, whilst travel posters were put up in his study.

Also for sale are director’s chairs from the films Caine starred in in the 1960s and 1970s, including Get Carter and the Ipcress File.

In the Ipcress File, Sir Michael played British spy Harry Palmer, who had been tasked with investigating the kidnappings and brainwashed reappearances of top scientists.

He is seen encountering criminals, secret agents. The 1965 film was based on Len Deighton’s novel of the same name. It received a BAFTA award for Best British film.

A poster from Sir Michael’s 1971 crime film Get Carter is also up for sale. The film also starred Britt Ekland and was based on Ted Lewis’s 1970 novel Jack’s Return Home.

Sir Michael’s character, Jack Carter, is a London gangster who returns to his home town and learns of his brother’s allegedly accidental death. After suspecting foul play, he goes on a hunt for the truth.

Sir Michael starred in 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King with Sean Connery. The above poster is adorned with the star’s signature. The film follows the paths of two rogue former soldiers, who set off in India in the 19th century in search of adventure.

A portrait of Sir Michael himself, by Lincoln Townley, is due to be sold for up to £15,000.

Sir Michael added: ‘It’s going to be quite a wrench to part with so many treasured parts of my life and career. But it’s the right time to be moving on.’

He added: ‘I hope these mementoes will give their new owners as much pleasure as they have given us.’

The most valuable lot in the auction is this painting by French-Russian early modernist artist Marc Chagall, which is tipped to sell for between £30,000 and £50,000.

Sir Michael first put his Surrey home on the market in 2019. The 12,000 sq ft property was on sale for £3.75 million.

The property boasts a barn conversion with a bar, an indoor pool, a hot tub and a two-bedroom cottage.

In the mid-1990s, he also sold his mansion in Beverly Hills, California but still owns a flat in Chelsea Harbour in west London.

He has previously talked about his Surrey mansion, appearing on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs to discuss his £120,000 cinema.

He revealed how the seats of the cinema have a ‘refrigerator in the arm with a couple of beers in it’.

Caine also said that he always tried to get the best picture possible and so would always go for the newest projector because he wanted it to be the ‘height of technical advancement’.

The actor has also spoken about the master bedroom at Keston Lodge, revealing how it comes with two ensuite bathrooms.

Caine says that having separate bathrooms is the key to a happy marriage.

He married his wife Shakira, an actress and model, in 1973.