James Cagney's Medal of Freedom was the surprise of the night Wednesday, bringing $45,000 at an auction of the screen legend's estate.
Valued between $1,000 and $1,500, the medal granted in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan far exceeded the expectations of auctioneers at Doyle New York. Manhattan appraiser and coin specialist Anthony Terranova bought the medal to keep.
"I like Cagney's stuff," Terranova said. "He is Americana."
The Oscar that Cagney won for his most popular role, as George M. Cohan in 1942's "Yankee Doodle Dandy," brought $170,000, less than the $300,000 it was expected to draw. Money from the sale of the Oscar went to the James and Frances Cagney Foundation, which serves the blind.
Other items auctioned Wednesday included: Frances Cagney's engagement ring ($30,000), Cagney's 1961 Bentley automobile ($56,000), his writings ($1,000) and nine movie scripts ($1,200).
Cagney died in 1986, leaving a $5.8 million estate.