Columbo News / Memorabilia

Columbo’s raincoat and shoes up for auction – again

Columbo cigar Mayhem 2

Take your Columbo cosplay efforts to a whole new level on 13th June!

Few TV wardrobe items are as iconic as the Columbo raincoat. And if you’ve ever longed to wrap yourself up in the wonder garment as you enjoy an episode of the greatest detective show of all time, now’s your chance, as the coat goes under the hammer at Bonhams in New York on Wednesday 13 June 2018.

If you’re reading this and experiencing a sense of deja vu, that’s perfectly understandable. You see, the revered mac, along with Columbo’s beat-up leather high-top shoes, failed to sell at an auction in November 2017 – after having been expected to fetch anywhere between $80-120,000! You can read my original post on that here.

“I’m just hoping they go to a good, deserving home where they will be treasured for the pop culture gems they truly are.”

That was then, this is now. As part of Bonhams’ TCM Presents… A Celebration of Robert Osborne auction, the coat-and-shoes combo is once more up for grabs to the highest bidder. There will be 402 lots under the hammer as part of the auction, with Lot No. 217 the one of most pressing interest to Columbo fans.

You can read the particulars of Lot 217 right here, but in a nutshell the legendary mac is described as ‘a tan long-sleeved raincoat with 3 large buttons down the front, 2 side pockets, and cuffed sleeves, well worn, with patches, small tears, discoloration, and light staining present’.

Auction shoesThe shoes, meanwhile, are unglamorously written up as being ‘a pair of brown leather high-top shoes with brown laces, size unknown, each with a cork shoe liner.’ It does note, however, that they were made by ‘Shoemaker to the Stars’ Di Fabrizio. Who knew when Columbo walked them into the pool in Most Crucial Game that they were in fact haute couture?

The estimated sale price has dropped considerably to between $30-50,000. Not a cheap investment, then, but compared to what was being asked for just 7 months ago, and considering the priceless nature of the items themselves, someone’s potentially in the running to snaffle an ALMIGHTY BARGAIN!

Columbo wet shoes Most Crucial Game

The water marks from The Most Crucial Game are likely still visible!

Like most Columbo fans, I’m not a contender to take ownership of these splendid items. But, and again like most Columbo fans, I am just hoping they go to a good, deserving home where they will be treasured for the pop culture gems they truly are.

Interestingly there’s at least one other Columbo item up for grabs – a portrait of Janet Leigh, created for the episode Forgotten Lady from Season 5. Read more about that here. The original work was created by Jaroslav Gebr, an artist of some renown who created a number of works for the show – including the iconic Columbo portrait from 1989’s Murder: A Self Portrait.

I’ll report back on final sales prices in mid-June, assuming there are buyers. If not, well, then who knows what the future holds for the famous raincoat? We must try not to worry, though. As Columbo himself put it in 1973’s Candidate for Crime: “There’s still a lot of wear in this fella.”

Coat aside, what are the Columbo props you’d most like to own? Fire a comment below!

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“I’ve had this coat for 50 years…” “Oh you poor man…”

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32 thoughts on “Columbo’s raincoat and shoes up for auction – again

  1. Pingback: The false exit

    • I’d agree that the Smithsonian is the ideal place for Columbo’s iconic gear. But if not there, then at least the Museum for TV or the Hollywood Museum. Maybe some fan wealthy enough to splurge will purchase the items, donate them to the Smithsonian, and then take a tax write-off.

    • There was a longstanding but unfounded rumor that the coat was in the Smithsonian. Peter Falk’s comment on that was always “Well, if the closet in my upstairs bedroom is the Smithsonian, then yeah, it’s in the Smithsonian.”

  2. Although Columbo’s iconic raincoat and shoes were frequently used in various humorous interactions with other characters in the series, there is one memorable scene in “By Dawn’s Early Light” in which there is also a serious component in the dialogue referring to Columbo’s gear, where Parick McGoohan’s character says the following:

    Col. Rumford: We have similar jobs in a way. I wear a uniform, you wear a . . . I suppose you could call that a uniform. . . I used to tell my cadets, you know, all the time sometimes it’s harder to be a slob than to be neat and tidy and clean. It’s the wars, you see, the wars of nations. When that stops, hang up the uniform. I’ll hang up my uniform.
    I’ll go and take care of my backyard. I got some roses. White roses. And I suppose that when people stop abusing each other you’ll hang up your uniform.

  3. The first thing that comes to my mind is Ms. Staton’s red dress she wears during her party! I’m currently looking for a red dress and this one would surely do – in all aspects except the price, I suppose…

      • not to put the dress down, but when i look at screen shots of the episode, it isn’t as wonderful, still by still, as it is in motion. (like much of life, I must say). In re-thinking what I’d like, in terms of props….I’ve always loved the wistful (and criminal) Lily La Sanka of “Murder By the Book” (even her name is wonderful!) portrayed by gone-too-soon Barbara Colby. (that was a case for our Lt: Colby and her boyfriend were shot in Venice, CA, returning from acting class. No robbery, no provocation. Case never solved). Would love to have Lily’s dressy-dress from her dinner with the lethal Mr. Cassidy. You KNOW that dress was never in Lily’s closet. No, it must’ve been purchased specially for her trip to LA to blackmail Jack. (btw, for years I mistook Lily’s actress for Allyce Beasley of Moonlighting fame)

        • Hi Catherine, I just have to tell you how in love I have been with your father! I’m 54 and remember watching him as I grew up. I almost gasped the first time I saw reruns of Columbo! My heart sank when I realized that I couldn’t write to tell him that he was my favorite actor of all time…I was too late. But I am so thankful for any movie I see him in. Please tell them to never stop showing Columbo. I know you must miss your father so very much.

        • I know we’ve exchanged some Twitter messages before but if you’re ever interested in talking about the work of the Foundation for the blog please let me know. I think a lot of people would be very interested in hearing more.

  4. The raincoat’s complete description should include: “in the pockets are egg shell remnants, broken pencil stubs, a book of matches, and a pair of gray suede gloves.”

    • Such treasures would surely double its selling price, too! These auctioneers just aren’t pressing the right descriptive buttons for Columbo fans.

  5. My first post here – and I’d like to have the original copy of the book on real estate that the projectionist was reading in ‘Double Exposure’ – with the super Robert Culp playing double murderer. I’m a book cover designer and Columbo aficionado of course. Also, ‘By Dawn’s Early Light’ was on (UK) TV today. A favourite of mine, and I hope others.

  6. Very interesting. Thank you for sharing these details. I would love having Mrs. Melville’s portrait. And some of the James Farris and Ken Franklin promotional photos on the wall in Jim’s office. And some Mrs. Melville books!

  7. I was at that 2017 auction at Bonhams in Los Angeles and saw those items up close and personal. Unfortunately I was just able to window shop! Saw Robby the robot too! I’ll post pics on your Twitter account when your link to this current blog post appears. 😀

  8. wow, I love that portrait…..In terms of what prop I’d love…..I’d adore to have Mr. C’s portrait. Other than that, and from a non-collecting pov, my eye always goes to a picture in “Suitable for Framing”. It’s flowers and I just love it. Not because it’s Columbo. Just because I love it…..


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