Chess pieces from Bergman film sell for $143,000

Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:40am EDT
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The chess pieces used in Swedish director Ingmar Bergman's 1957 movie "The Seventh Seal" were sold at auction for 1 million Swedish crowns ($143,300) on Monday, said auction house Bukowski's.

It said 337 items belonging to Bergman, who died in 2007 at the age of 89, were auctioned in Stockholm for a total of 18 million crowns -- about ten times the starting price.

The items included film prizes and awards, a bedside table with notes in Bergman's handwriting and a desk at which he wrote many of his scripts.

In "The Seventh Seal," a crusader played by Max von Sydow delayed his demise by challenging Death, played by Bengt Ekerot, to a game of chess.

The chess pieces were sold for more than 50 times the estimate despite lacking the white king, which was damaged when the film was made.

"This exceeds all expectations," said Carl Barkman, head curator at Bukowski's, which arranged the auction.

There was high interest in the auction. About 8,000 people came to see the items and Bukowski's webpage had visitors from more than 100 countries in the days up to the auction.

"This is above all a testimony to how great he still is and how proud we should be of our Ingmar Bergman," said Barkman.

U.S. director Woody Allen has called Bergman "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera."   Continued...