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More than 1,500 ‘Mad Men’ props up for auction

From next week, fans can buy more than 1,500 authenticated props from the hit television show “Mad Men” from June 1 to June 15, via an online auction that is drawing interest in the United States, Europe, Australia and South America.

The hugely popular US television program ended for good last year with Draper in the lotus position on a cliff dreaming up one of America’s most celebrated Coca Cola ads, but the online auction offers the avid a little slice of history.

The lots — with items used by beloved Man Men characters known for their advertising prowess, serial infidelities and drunken excesses — go on sale in an online auction curated by the show’s property manager, Ellen Freund.

“If you’ve got a good story a show’s going to be successful,” Freund told AFP. “We touched a period in history that people still feel close to,” she said explaining the runaway success of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series.


mad4 There was a previous “Mad Men” auction last August but this is the first curated by someone from the show. “This one is going to be actually more exciting. I got to pull things that I knew were special,” said Freund.

All the lots have an identifiable connection to at least one of the characters. ScreenBid, which is organizing the auction, said each comes with a certificate of authenticity.

There’s the banker box in which Peggy Olson, cigarette dangling from her lips, carried her most prized possessions out of the office in the final episode.

There are the yellow and green sheets on which Don romped with wife Megan and a friend in season seven; the ring he gave first wife Betty and the 1964 Chrysler Imperial that he drove to visit the real Don Draper’s wife in California.


– Wild ’60s –

Hundreds of the lots come from exhibitions last year at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York and Palm Springs’ Modernism Week.

The auction house has declined to value any of the items: A spokeswoman said prices would be largely up to fans.

Freund said she would receive a script eight days before filming and a budget of $12,000 per episode to shop for hundreds of props.

They all had to be “authentically vintage” and in pristine condition — no small task. Freund would trawl eBay and other online shopping sites. Some came from her mother or friends of her parents, or crew members.

She is particularly proud of a cream and orange lamp from Ted Chaough’s office that was also in 1961 movie “The Parent Trap” — a nice touch, given it was filmed in the same era that “Mad Men” sought to recreate.

Wine and cocktail glasses are another favorite. “It just got wild in the late 60s and I think it’s so exciting,” she said.


Financial limitations, while a constraint, were usually manageable.

“While it was a tight budget it was usually enough,” she said “until you had giant party scenes and awards banquets, and I would do all the food, the dishware and the programs,” Freund said.

The auction house is leaving open the possibility of additional sales in the future.

Some items were sourced from abroad, such as a briefcase from France used by Megan’s father, although she said shipping could sometimes be a problem when working to such a narrow schedule.

“The set decorator would have to source entire rooms and restaurants, draperies and furniture,” said Freund, “and that is why there are three warehouses filled with fantastic items.”





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