(NEXSTAR) – As far as the Academy Awards are concerned, the Oscar statuette is worth roughly the same as a small bag of Funyuns.
The 94th Academy Awards are scheduled to take place on March 27, and although the 2022 ceremony will be a bit different than those in recent years (i.e., there will be three hosts instead of none), one thing that won’t change much is the Oscar statuette itself. Cast in bronze and finished with gold plating, the award is among the most coveted in the film industry — and the Academy values it at just $1.
Of course, the Oscar itself is much more costly to produce. But in the interest in protecting each statuette as an award of merit — rather than a collector’s item to be bought and sold — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) requires that each winner agree to strict rules. One such rule prohibits the recipients or their heirs from selling or disposing of the statuette without first offering it back to the Academy for $1.
The Academy first introduced an early form of this provision in 1951, though they initially set their own buyback price at $10. The move was designed to protect each statuette from diminishing in value for future recipients, or being traded or hoarded by fans or film buffs.
Even still, at least a few people have tried selling an Oscar that had been handed down from a family member. In 2014, an Oscar won by art director Joseph Wright for the 1942 film “My Gal Sal” was consigned to an auction house by his nephew Joseph Tutalo, according to an article published by The Hollywood Reporter. The Academy sued both Tutalo and the auction house, and a judge eventually ruled in favor of the Academy, as Wright had continued to be a member of the Academy through 1951 and was therefore bound by the provision along with his nephew.
At the time, Dawn Hudson, the CEO of AMPAS, reiterated that the Academy felt the award would be “diminished by distribution… through commercial efforts rather than in recognition of creative effort,” per a statement she shared with The Hollywood Reporter.
Another case involved an Oscar won by Orson Welles in 1941 for “Citizen Kane.” In that instance, however, Welles’ heir was successful in obtaining the rights to sell his statuette after arguing that Welles never agreed to the provisions. The award eventually sold for $861,542 in 2011, Reuters reported at the time.
The actual scrap value of an Oscar, meanwhile, is estimated to be between around $400 to $650 based on calculations from WalletHub and Money.com, but that figure doesn’t take into account the years of work, dedication, or sentimental value attached to each statuette.
In any case, it’s probably worth well more than a bag of Funyuns.
The 94th Academy Awards airs March 27 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.