On December 16th, 2011, Bela Lugosi Jr. offered several of his father’s personal items through the Profiles in History auction in Beverly Hills. Without question, the most notable lot was Lugosi’s screen-worn Dracula cape.
From the “Icons of Hollywood” auction catalog:
Prior to his death in 1956, Bela Lugosi gave the cape to his wife of 20 years, Lillian Lugosi, and the mother of Bela Jr., telling her that it was the cape from the 1931 film version of Dracula. He instructed Lillian to keep the cape for Bela Jr. Upon Lugosi’s death in 1956, the family decided that he should be buried in his Dracula costume. Given Bela Lugosi’s wish that his son should have the cape used in the 1931 film, the family dressed the body in a lighter weight version of the cape he used when making personal appearances. Lillian retained the original 1931 cape and left it, along with her other possessions, to Bela Jr. upon her death in 1981. It has remained in his possession continuously since.
The starting price for the cape was $1,200,000. It did not sell. Bela Jr. offered several other items from his father’s estate, including many personal photographs. The item that received the highest bid was a Dracula Near-Mint Jumbo Lobby Card from Bela Lugosi’s own collection, which fetched $22,500.
Another interesting item was a pair of wingtip shoes worn by Bela Lugosi, which sold for $1,600.
For a meticulous listing of the auction lots and results, visit Vampire Over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain.