Movie and Theatre Memorabilia - Autographs, Posters, Tickets and Costumes
Collecting the players autograph at the stage door was a relatively common pastime amongst avid theatre goers in the days when theatre outstripped cinema as a popular and accessible form of entertainment, which means that these, along with original or signed programmes can be relatively easy to find, and some hold their value rather better than others.
The rise of the moving picture in the 1920’s led of course to an increase in public awareness of celebrity culture, but movie memorabilia as we know it today really began to become popular during the 1970’s. In 1970, Metro Goldwin Mayer held several auctions, of memorabilia and equipment such as their huge historic collection of costumes and props, including one pair of Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers (Wizard of Oz) which sold for $15,000. More recently, in 2011, an elaborately curled prototype pair (not used in the movie) was auctioned from actress Debbie Reynolds private collection and fetched some $510,000!
Movie memorabilia is a fun, pleasant to display hobby. The most popular items are:
• Photographs / Stills – particularly well conditioned signed images
• Posters – uncreased, original run (not reprint) posters are most desirable
• Costumes – like the ruby slippers mentioned above, memorabilia when it’s a notable character costume, can fetch an awful lot, for example Audrey Hepburn’s Givenchy little black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which sold for £297,000 at Christie’s in 2006
• Props – if they were actually featured in the film, the value goes up, although you need to decide whether that life size Stormtrooper figure is really worth the investment!
• Scripts / Storyboards – not always huge in value, but an excellent collectors item for the film buff and relatively easy to find.
• Merchandise – since the rise of movie collectables as big, the production of movie merchandise has risen dramatically. Clothing, mugs, key rings, figurines, magnets; almost anything you can think of. From an investment perspective these miscellaneous items are at the bottom of the pile, but often items are fun, usable, and of no immediate value should you wish to wear / use them in every day life! Rare examples can.
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