From an Oversized Bag to Faux Sausages: ‘Succession’ Props Fetch High Prices

25 days ago
From an Oversized Bag to Faux Sausages: ‘Succession’ Props Fetch High Prices

 

The voluminous Burberry tote is one of the most famous props used on “Succession,” the famed HBO saga of the Roy family dynasty, and it sold at auction Saturday for $18,750.

The online auction on behalf of HBO at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, brought in a total of $627,825 for 236 lots. The results showed not only that people loved the show, says Heritage spokesperson Robert Wilonsky, but also that meaningful objects, and not the show’s high-end “stealth” fashion, clicked most with bidders.

In the not-so-distant future, imagine someone strolling down the street with a ridiculously spacious bag, splurged on at a price that matches its size.

However, despite the notoriety surrounding the bag after Matthew Macfadyen’s Tom Wambsgans mercilessly mocked it, it turns out that it wasn’t the most expensive item sold from the set of the captivating drama.

Those pink index cards held Roman Roy’s heartfelt eulogy notes for his father’s funeral – a speech that sadly never left his hands. Starting with the poignant words, “My father Logan Roy was a great man,” these four cards symbolize Roman’s missed opportunity to honor his father in his own words. However, they have found a new purpose in the hands of a buyer who invested $25,000 for them, likely intending to give them the display they deserve.

“At the end of the day, it was key moments of the show that resonated with fans,” he says.

Props often take a back seat to costumes. After all, there’s no award for “best props” at awards shows, like there is for costumes, notes “Succession” prop master Monica Jacobs, who joined the show after the pilot episode. But prop departments go to extreme lengths to secure just the right item — even if it only appears for a few seconds. Jacobs shared the origin stories of some of the show’s most iconic props.

DRIED SCORPIONS IN THE OVEN

Why did Tom give wife Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) a paperweight of a dried scorpion encased in resin? Who knows? It certainly illustrated the turbulence of their marriage — and also caused a few turbulent hours in Jacobs’ kitchen at home.

“It turns out you can buy (dead) scorpions pretty easily,” she says, “but they’re small. Getting them large enough was not easy.”

Once she had a bunch — duplicates are always needed — she had to soak them to loosen up the glue so that she could reposition them for maximum effect. She stabilized them with wire and slow-baked them for hours on low heat until they were dry enough to be encased. All for a brief appearance. And maybe a spot on someone’s desk: a duplicate sold for a cool (and baked) $10,000.

MOURNFUL WORDS

Roman’s sad, pink notecards with that eulogy never spoken were not the only scribbled words that went for a fortune. On the day Logan died on his private plane, Shiv was the one who spoke to the waiting press.

“You’ll understand I won’t be taking questions,” she said, in part, “but my brothers and I just want to say Logan Roy built a great American family company…”

The words were written in block letters in Snook’s own handwriting. She did the first card and then, for duplicates, her writing was recreated. Likewise, Culkin’s handwriting inspired his pink notecards, Jacobs says. As for Jeremy Strong, who played Kendall, he often preferred to write every copy himself. Shiv’s speech card went for $17,500.

THAT … BAG

Let’s just say Bridget, the date of Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun) at Logan’s birthday party, made an unfortunate accessory choice. Tom, in his worst “human-grease-stain” way, imagined aloud what could be in the “ludicrously capacious” tote: “Flat shoes for the subway? Her lunch pail? … You could take it camping. You could slide it across the floor after a bank job.”

Jacobs explains that finding the perfect bag to match the script was a collaboration between the props and wardrobe departments

“Everybody brought in a version,” she says. “We had to decide, how big IS this bag, actually?” Also — it needed to be just the right level of high-end, “not enough for the Roy world, but still higher end than I am,” she quips. Ultimately, costume designer Michelle Matland “had the vision,” Jacobs says.

The winning bidder also got an embroidered Sandro dress.

When the Roys appear on the cover of New York magazine, you might think it’s just a matter of slapping together a few pages in the art studio. But no.

It begins with a real issue of the magazine, to get the weight and the size exactly right. Then, not just the cover but inner pages are created too, and carefully incorporated.

“It’s a very delicate process” to make the magazine look authentic, Jacobs says. “We’re very picky about how we do it.”

The cover sold for $10,000.

SOME OF THOSE SAUSAGES WERE REAL

Remember that horrific game, or hazing ritual, that Logan inflicted on his poor executives, forcing them to grunt like pigs and beg for sausages? Some sausages were real, as needed, and some fake. (A group of prop sausages went for $5,250.)

But mostly, food — at weddings, or other gatherings — was not only real but intricate, evocative of the locale, and fun to create, says Jacobs.

“Every cheese board has to be a little different than the last time we did a cheese board,” she says. “We got very creative.”

Ever wonder what serves for cocaine on set? A set of vials containing a white powder went for $2,000. Jacobs and her colleagues had to use substance that looked real and was also … snortable.

In this case it was a naturally occurring sugar, inositol. At other times, lactose powder was used — “as long as the person could tolerate lactose.”

SAME WITH THE CREDIT CARDS

Three lots of Roy family credit cards were auctioned, but they won’t be accepted at your local supermarket. The cards were crafted by a graphic designer, then sent for printing at a special shop in New York, on either plastic or metal.

“The plastic ones are are actually much more durable as props,” says Jacobs. “But,” she adds, “with ‘Succession’ characters it made sense for most of them to be metal.”

Indeed. Kendall’s cards — two American Express Platinums, two Mastercards and one driver’s license — went for $10,000.

 


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