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Bergman auction prices soar past estimates

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Bergman auction prices soar past estimates
07:42 CEST+02:00
Collectors and Ingmar Bergman fans proved willing to pay far more than expected for a range of the legendary filmmaker's personal items auctioned off in Stockholm on Monday.

A total of 339 objects from Bergman's home on the remote Baltic island of Fårö were for sale, in line with his wishes to avoid disputes within his large family -- he had nine children by six women -- over his belongings.

"I'm surprised because of the prices! I couldn't dream of that!" auctioneer Tom Österman told AFP during a break from the auction that was set to go on into the night.

"Now we really see how big Bergman is."

He described as "fantastic" the price paid for a wooden model of a theatre that had an estimate of 15,000 kronor ($2,150), but went for 1,025,000 kronor ($147,000).

A photograph of Bergman alongside composer Igor Stravinsky with an estimate of 2,000 kronor went for 27,000 kronor.

Potential buyers bid by telephone, email, Internet with shouts from within the auctioneers' salesroom for items ranging from the mundane to fantastic.

"Many are just curious, they will maybe make a bid, but they're more here to see," said Österman.

A poster for the film "Fanny and Alexander" with a reserve of 4,000 kronor went for 22,000 kronor. A sculptured head covered in gold leaf with an estimate of 4,000 kronor went for 62,000.

A set of plaster and wooden chess pieces thought to be the same set used in Bergman's 1957 classic "The Seventh Seal" sold for 1 million kronor.

Even seemingly ordinary items fetched eye-catching prices. A rather dated and ordinary hi-fi stereo system sold for 98,000 kronor, nearly 100 times higher than the starting bid range of 1,000-1,500 kronor.

And a paper jumping jack doll in the shape of a red devil, given to Bergman by his grandson, sold for 29,000 kronor.

A lithograph by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch of Swedish author August Strindberg -- a source of inspiration for Bergman -- went for 540,000 kronor.

"It's a good price," said Österman. "On the international market, it's worth 240-250,000 kronor."

Bergman died on July 30, 2007, at the age of 89 after directing more than 40 films during a career that spanned the second-half of the 20th century.

His Fårö home is already up for auction at Christie's.

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