The auction house PR description for this item reads "Prior to his death in 1956, Bela Lugo gave the cape to his wife of 20 years, Lillian Lugo, and the mother of Bela Jr., telling her that it was the cape from the film and to keep the cape for his son.
Upon Lugo's death in 1956, the family decided that he should be buried in his Dracula costume.
Given Bela Lugo’s wish that his son should have the cape, the family dressed the body in a lighter weight veron of the cape he used when making personal appearances.
Lillian retained the original 1931 cape and left it, along with her other possesons, to Bela Jr. upon her death in 1981.
It has remained in his posseson continuously.
Without question, this is the greatest ngle horror garment in cinema history. The auction pre-sale estimate is $1,500,000 - $2,000,000."
Several people have challenged the veracity of the cape's provenance and its description in the auction catalog.
First of all, Lugo appeared in capes in a few of his films and many, many times during his stage performances of "Dracula," so it is presumed that there was, after all, more than one cape associated with Bela, and Universal retained the original cape.
Near the end of his days, he was known to possess only 2 capes -- a summer weight and a winter weight -- for his theatrical appearances; neither were from Universal, which retained the original capes. He was buried in the summer weight cape, in his full dress suit and wearing the Dracula medallion.
This decion was made by Lugo's widow Hope, not Lillian (Bela Jr.'s mother).
Hope, his third wife, gave the winter weight cape to Bela's loyal teenage friend and helper Richard Sheffield, as Bela Jr. had at that time not shown any interest in his father's career.
After Bela Jr. settled his father's estate with Hope, Mr. Sheffield returned the cape to Hope, who gave it to Bela Jr.Mr. Sheffield advised the auction house to more carefully examine the authenticity of the garment.
They responded to another inquiry that the cape had a label from Universal Studios sewn into it
along with Bela Jr.'s claim of uninterrupted posseson of the cape, was sufficient for them.
So, Lugo was buried in one cape in 1956,
his widow gave the other cape to his friend who returned it to Lillian & Bela's posseson in 1959 at which time it was known not to be the cape from the film, and now it appears a third cape has emerged which may have been the cape from the film "Dracula," but was most certainly not given by Bela to his son.
By the way, I obtained this information directly from Mr. Sheffield, as he is a regular and invaluable contributor to the Yahoo