Date: 24th July 2003

Citizen Kane Oscar in 60p buy-back row

Orson Welles' Oscar for Citizen Kane, which was expected to fetch up to 250,000 at auction, has been withdrawn from sale after the Academy invoked its right to buy it back for 60p

Beatrice Welles, the director's youngest daughter, planned to sell the 1942 award at Christie's in New York on Friday.

But it was pulled when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it had first refusal on the Oscar under a rule agreed with winners.

The regulation stipulates that if Oscar recipients or their heirs ever sell a statuette, it has to be offered to the academy first for one dollar.

When the Academy learned last month that the Citizen Kane award was due to go under the hammer, its lawyers informed Ms Welles that the "Oscar is not an article of commerce" and that she was obligated to return it.

Ms Welles' lawyer said his client would sue the Academy "for interfering with her right to do with her property as she wishes".

A spokeswoman for Christie's said: "We were told the dispute would be settled before the sale date, and since that did not happen, we decided to withdraw the Oscar."

The Academy has previously invoked the buy-back rule to block a sale of a Clark Gable Oscar.

Welles won his award for the Citizen Kane screenplay he co-wrote with Herman Mankiewicz, based on the life of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The film-maker was still only 26 at the time.

He missed out on the best director award for the film, which instead went to John Ford for How Green Was My Valley.

Source: Press Release