Oscar-winner Russell Crowe has raked in more than NZ$3.9 million after selling a range of artwork, jewellery and movie props at his 'divorce auction' in Sydney.

The actor, whose sell-off coincided with his 54th birthday, made a surprise appearance at the event on Saturday night to see some of his fondest possessions go under the hammer.

"Not a bad hourly rate for a 5 hour shift," Crowe tweeted, adding there was a "bunch of stuff" he didn't really want to sell coming home.

More than 85 per cent of the 226 items on offer were sold, including a violin used in the 2003 film Master and Commander which went for NZ$143,000.

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Many of the items far exceeded the expectations of auction house Sotheby's Australia, including costumes and props from the 2000 movie Gladiator.

Chief executive Gary Singer said items linked to the film were the most popular.
"People just went mad. It was Crowe mania," Sotheby's Australia chief executive Gary Singer told the Seven Network on Sunday.

A buyer parted with NZ$132,000 for the stunt cuirass worn by Crowe when his character Maximus died, while a replica Roman chariot went for NZ$67,000.

Another bidder paid NZ$74,000 for a prop aluminium sword and spare blade, while Crowe's crew pass from the Gladiator set sold for more than 10 times its starting estimated price.

Costumes from the 2012's Les Miserables, in which Crowe played Javert, fetched up to NZ$16,900.

Eye-watering amounts were shelled out for artwork - including NZ$380,000 for a 1960 Charles Blackman - but other items were far less orthodox.

One bidder stumped up NZ$7300 for the leather jockstrap Crowe wore in Cinderella Man (2005) and two life-sized prop horses from Gladiator went for NZ$5800.

Mr Singer said a handful of items were still available, namely a Grammy won by Johnny Cash and others in 1986 and a 2008 custom South Sydney Rabbitohs chopper motorcycle.
A bunch of cricket memorabilia is also still for sale.

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"We have sold over 85 per cent of items, so there are probably 30 odd items left to sell today and tomorrow," he said.

All bids attracted a commission of 22 per cent.

The auction followed Crowe's divorce from Danielle Spencer.