Movie memorabilia a soaring market

Some 8mm Charlie Chaplin films
Some 8mm Charlie Chaplin films
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This week our antiques expert Allan Blackburn takes a look at movie memorabilia.

Film memorabilia consists of anything related to cinema that one can collect for either financial or sentimental reasons.

Collectables include original autographs, film props, costumes, theatre posters and film scripts.

We have lots of posters, photos and accessories on many different Hollywood movie stars in the centre, but it is very rare indeed that we get something like this.

What makes them even more desirable to collectors is the fact that they feature Charlie Chaplin, surely the world’s most recognised film star. As you would expect, the status or fame of the actor or actress affects the value of what you collect.

Just about anything ever touched by celebrated film stars, eventually becomes collectable. Programmes, tickets or even napkins can all be valuable, especially if the artist signs them. For example a cheque signed by Marilyn Monroe in 1961, for $44.00 is now worth £1,800.

The clothing and accessories worn by stars both past & present are also in demand by collectors.

This is especially true if a particular item is closely identified with a particular celebrity or film.

The iconic white halterneck dress Marilyn wore as she stood over a subway vent in “The Seven Year Itch”, has been voted the most iconic movie dress of all time, and is believed to be worth £1.5 million. In second place is Audrey Hepburn’s little black Givenchy dress worn in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which sold at Christie’s in 2007 for a record £410,000. Clothing worn by actors is likely to be worth more if it has not been washed!

It’s not just clothes and toys which fetch high prices when collecting movie memorabilia. Prices for film posters have risen dramatically over the past 20 years. Values depend not only on the film itself but also on the artist who designed the poster.

But collecting movie memorabilia is a booming business and there are some people who will work hard to part you from your money - beware of fakes and reproductions!