Iconic Sopranos booth auctioned for $82,600

TV memorabilia that sold for up to hundreds of thousands

The Sopranos is certainly not the only show that has sold off memorabilia to high bidders. Classic TV memorabilia has long drawn high-paying collectors, and in 2023, the bar used in the beloved sitcom Cheers sold at a Dallas auction for $675,000 (£529,773). Other items from classic shows were auctioned off at the event, too, including Batman and Robin’s costumes that were worn by Adam West and Burt Ward in the 1960s series – these went for a staggering $615,000 (£482,683). And Johnny Carson’s set, where he hosted the Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992 sold for $275,000 (£215,866). 

But newer shows – those that ran in the 1990s and 2000s, many alongside the Sopranos – have also sold memorabilia to high bidders. Scripts from two 1998 episodes of Friends set in the UK were rescued from a bin and sold for £22,000. Breaking Bad began in 2008 shortly after the Sopranos concluded, and fans of the drug-dealer drama recall the significance of Walter White’s Leaves of Grass book, which led to his lies being uncovered; in 2013, the year of the show’s finale, that invaluable piece of TV memorabilia sold for $65,500 (£51,418) on the auction site ScreenBid. Even Walter White’s underwear – which he’s seen wearing in one memorable scene –  managed to secure a bid of $10,000 (£7,850)

Livingston says that, no matter the item, fans, and especially collectors, “want to have items and artefacts that their Hollywood heroes touched. It’s a thrilling, tactile experience for them to own something from a set.”

Angela Andaloro, a culture critic and TV writer for People Magazine who interviews some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, agrees. She says that, while few shows will ever be quite as memorable as The Sopranos, owning an item from a series you adored “can make you feel like you’re part of something special as a fan”.

“That’s especially the case for shows that are no longer on the air, with iconic actors that are no longer living. It’s like a little bit of lightning in a bottle,” she says. “It still holds the spark of the talent that brought it to life.”

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