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Wednesday, 7 March, 2001, 12:04 GMT
Braveheart sword raises 116,000
Liam Neeson
Actor Liam Neeson organized the sale for Unicef Ireland
A five-foot sword used by Mel Gibson in the movie Braveheart was sold for $170,000 (116,000) at a charity auction of Hollywood memorabilia on Tuesday.

The sword, one of a set used by Gibson when he played Scottish warrior William Wallace in the film, was the top lot of the auction organised by Liam Neeson to benefit Unicef.

"I've never been in this sort of situation before," said Neeson. "But I'm told this is very, very high for an auction of this type."

The project is called Movie Action for Children and the proceeds will be used to provide drugs to prevent mother-to-foetus transmissions of Aids in Africa.

Wedding dress
Julia Roberts tulle wedding gown from Runaway Bride
Neeson said tension had been high during the auction, adding: "It's hard to sit through all of this without you getting a knot in your stomach."

He said he and others spent more than a year placing thousands of calls and sending letters to Hollywood stars seeking donated items from their films.

"We cannot take for granted the health of our children," said Neeson, who was helped by his actress wife Natasha Richardson.

A total of 15 lots donated by stars and studios made $406,850 (277,900), and another 77 items are still up for sale.

Star Wars light sabre
The Star Wars light sabre raised 36,890
The light sabre Neeson used when he played Qui-Gon Jinn in the star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace was bought for $54,000 (36,890).

One of Julia Roberts' wedding dresses from the film Runaway Bride went for $16,000 (10,930).

And a dress worn by Catherine Zeta Jones, playing opposite Antonia Banderas, in the Mask of Zorro went for $1,000 (683).

The online sale also features dresses from Friends stars Courteney Cox Arquette and Jennifer Anniston, a pair of Rocky's signed boxing gloves from Sylvester Stallone and a racing jacket donated by Paul Newman.

Photograph of Audrey Hepburn
The Faberge framed picture of Audrey Hepburn up for auction
Other highlights of the auction included a Faberge -framed Cecil Beaton photograph of the late Audrey Hepburn, which sat on her piano and was donated by her son.

A deck-chair from the film Titanic made $7000 (4,782).

Neeson said he planned to bid for some of the memorabilia offered in an online auction which is going on alongside the New York sale.

See also:

13 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Neeson auctions Jedi lightsabre
13 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Neeson auction rallies Hollywood stars
20 Jul 99 | UK
Hero's Hollywood make-over
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