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LONDON — Orson Welles’ personal draft script for Citizen Kane is up for sale — from the collection of an American almost as wealthy as the movie’s monstrous newspaper mogul, though considerably more private.
Sotheby’s auction house said Thursday it is offering the typed script, covered in the director’s amendments and marked “Mr. Welles’ working copy” on the front page.
The script, which has an estimated price of $25,000 to $33,000, is part of a sale of more than a thousand items owned by the late Stanley Seeger, an affluent collector of everything from Old Masters and contemporary art to historical oddities.
Other lots to be offered Wednesday and Thursday in London include eight 100-million-year-old dinosaur eggs, an armchair once owned by Winston Churchill, and gangster Al Capone’s silver-plated cocktail shaker, a gift from his underlings engraved “To a Regular Guy, from the Boys.”
Citizen Kane, released in 1941, has frequently been voted one of the best films ever made. It depicts the rise and fall of an ambitious tycoon modeled on the real figure of U.S. publisher William Randolph Hearst.
The script being sold — one of only two known surviving copies belonging to Welles — bears the movie’s earlier title, American. It was changed, in part, to distance the fictional Charles Foster Kane from Hearst.
Proceeds from the sale will go to the Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies at Princeton University, of which he was benefactor.