Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks at how the film idustry has created a category of collectables...
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn… Unless, that is, you’re a savvy collector, as incredibly, it’s 80 years this week since the premier of ‘Gone with the Wind’. Starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, it’s one of the most popular and successful films of all time, great for a long winter evening.
Movie memorabilia is a really popular field of collecting that, to the envy of many, is attracting growing numbers of new and younger collectors. No longer a niche hobby, collectors have a huge range of often unique pieces: costumes, props, stills and autographs, all sprinkled with a bit of movie stardust.
It’s also a boom area; according to Sotheby’s, authentic props from old films have tripled in value over the last ten years alone. Some beyond all expectations, for example, a Star Wars helmet sold for £3,000 in 1992. Auctioned again in 2017, it fetched £216,000- a 7,000 percent increase in only 13 years!
The highest price recorded (so far!) is for the iconic white halterneck dress Marilyn Monroe wore standing over a subway vent in ‘The Seven Year Itch’. Voted the most iconic movie dress of all time, it sold in 2011 for $4.6 million.
More likely to be within budget, and great as starter gifts, are movie posters. Prices for original film posters have risen consistently and look to continue. A good tip is to seek out collectable film poster artists; this can add value as much as the film title. Older film posters are rare as they were not always preserved, and often damaged by folding (rather than rolling).
We usually have a selection of movie posters in the centre, but they go quickly. Also popular are cards featuring classic movie stars, starting at under £1. Our current range includes ‘Rhett’ himself, Clark Gable!
When considering, ask: is there any supporting documentation to verify an item’s authenticity? Iconic actors who die young or only appeared in a few films mean limited supplies and increased interest.
And, of course, signatures add value, when on the object or photograph (less so when on an accompanying piece of card; as ever, be aware of fakes, reproductions and amalgamations).
So what better excuse to snuggle in and enjoy some classic movies, in the name of ‘research’? As Scarlett herself said: “After all, tomorrow is another day!”