A spokesman for the Tony organization said this was the first time he could recall that Broadway's highest honor had been offered for sale. However, the Tony Alexis Smith won for Follies went for $1,500 on ebay in 2002, according to bidder Douglas Berger, who missed purchasing the item by $25.
The auction, which began on Nov. 4 at 4:32 PM, asks a starting bid of $1,500. With the sale set to conclude on Nov. 14, the Tony had yet to receive a single offer as of midday Tuesday. By noon on Wednesday, however, eight bids had driven the price up to $2,505.
Mike Beeferman, whose Manhattan-based company www.tspauctions.com is selling the medallion, told Playbill On-Line he is auctioning off the Tony for a client who wishes to remain anonymous.
The entry is accompanied by the following description: "This is a Guaranteed Authentic piece from a recently acquired collection of theatrical memorabilia that was collected over the last 50 years.
"This is the ACTUAL TONY award (or Antoinette Perry Award which is the official name) presented to Shirley Booth for her distinguished performance in Come Back, Little Sheba for the 1949-1950 season. This is not a replication! She would later win the Academy Award for her performance in the movie version that also starred Burt Lancaster. "This VINTAGE piece is SOLID SILVER and an a amazing collectible. It was given as a gift to a close personal friend, and we are now offering it here on eBay for auction. The medallion originally came in a felt lined, lidded box when it was awarded to Booth. But she discarded the box and kept the award on her desk, usually sitting on top of a pile of scripts and letters!"
Booth won three Tony Awards, for Goodbye, My Fancy in 1949, Come Back, Little Sheba in 1950 and The Time of the Cuckoo in 1953. She died in 1992.
In 1993, "The Best Years of Our Lives" Academy Award winner Harold Russell auctioned off one of two Oscars he won, fetching $125,000. The Academy tried, but failed, to prevent the sale.