The then-child star's bespectacled character desperately wanted an "official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time" in the film, prompting parents and teachers alike to warn him, "You'll shoot your life out!"

One of the guns used in the film will now become a permanent addition to the A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland.

Founder and owner Brian Jones says, "This has been the holy grail for us - the actual BB gun used by Ralphie in the movie. This is an item we've hoped to find for a long time."

Jones and his partners paid $10,000 (£6,670) for the gun after learning production asset manager Gary Meck was selling it on a film collectibles website.

Of the six identical guns made for the film, Billingsley snagged one as a keepsake, another was archived, and the rest went to Meck and his production team.