November 21, 2014 / 10:34 PM / 4 years ago

James Cagney's 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' Oscar fails to sell

The 1942 Oscar for Best Actor given to James Cagney for his role as the patriot showman George M. Cohen in the musical "Yankee Doodle Dandy", shown here in New York on September 26, 2000, is among items from the actor's estate to be auctioned in New York on September 27. PM/ME - RTR8P4D

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - James Cagney’s best actor Oscar statuette for the 1942 musical film “Yankee Doodle Dandy” went unsold at auction in Los Angeles, in a rare offering of film’s top award.

Auction house Nate D. Sanders said on Friday they were attempting to secure a private sale of the gold statuette, which is currently owned by a private collector.

Bidding in the Thursday night auction started at $800,000 and the auction house had said they believed bidding could surpass $1 million.

There were no bids on the trophy.

It is rare for an Oscar statuette to go up for sale as the Academy Awards’ organizer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, began making winners since 1951 agree to offer the prize back to the Academy for $1 before selling it.

Cagney, who died in 1986 at age 86, was one of the most enduring performers of Hollywood’s golden era having starred in films like 1949’s “White Heat” and 1938’s “Angels with Dirty Faces.” He was nominated for three Academy Awards.

The Academy has in the past gone to court to stop some sales of Oscar statuettes.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and James Dalgleish

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