Movie Memorabilia Buying Guide
Not only is collecting items movie memorabilia fun, but it's also a chance to make some extra money. Classic movie memorabilia, such as the sneakers worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future , can sell for hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars. The infamous black Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's was recently auctioned off for quite a hefy price ($807,000 USD or about 510,280 EUR). Movie memorabilia doesn't have to cost you a fortune though. Collecting classic movie posters or even saving some ticket stubs to classics in the making is a great way to start out your collection for a smaller price. Below you'll find plenty of ideas for starting or developing your collection of movie memorabilia, along with some tips on pricing and authenticity. Get ready to have an awesome collection that screams "lights, camera.... action!".
What to Collect
Movie posters are fairly easy to collect. If you have the means, buy a classic movie poster. For those of us with smaller wallets, buying movie posters of really popular new releases (like a Batman: The Dark Knight poster ) is a smart investment. Store it somewhere safe (in a frame ) and wait for the price to climb over the years.
Publicity items, such as those listed below, are usually inexpensive (and often free) for new releases. Again, try to focus on collecting gear for new releases that will become classics if you want to make a huge profit.
Look for any props you can find. Most of the time, props go for the highest price, meaning don't expect to find the original ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz for a decent price. If you can get your hands on a prop from a new release, please do so. The price will only go up with time, so make sure to keep it safe!
Start collecting autographs from your favorite movie stars and directors. Autographed photos and set items are a great way to start your collection. Be careful, though: autographs are the most common movie memorabilia to fake, so make sure it is authentic.
Make Sure It's Authentic
Unlike fake designer handbags, fake movie memorabilia is nearly useless if it isn't authentic. So how do you make sure you don't get fooled by the scammers? Well, unfortunately there is always some risk involved, but there are a few basic guidelines for ensuring authenticity.
- Look for Third Party Authenticators that are trusted and have a following. Look for dealers that are a part of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club.
- Go with your gut instinct. This may sound out there, but if you have a feeling that someone can't be trusted, it's probably not completely unfounded.
- Look for people who worked on the film. They are the ones who are likely to have the actual props and probably met the actors.
- Ask for behind the scenes photos from the flick to prove that the person actually worked on the film.
- Look for their name in the credits of the film.
- Look for some signs of wear. If the prop looks perfect, it's probably a back-up prop at best.
- Damaged areas on a prop are great to use like how detectives use moles or scars. Look for the same damage signs on the prop as shown in the actual film. They should be a match! Case closed.
- Try to find a tag or a number on the prop. Studios will use this to keep track of the prop, so yours should have one.
- Ask for buyer references. If the seller is legitimate, then he shouldn't have any issues with keeping up good business practices. Be cautious with sellers who aren't willing to answer questions or try to steer you in one direction or another.
- Always get a Certificate of Authenticity stating where the seller got the item from and whether it was used on the film set or as a backup prop.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions and get as many opinions as you can on the item.
How Much Should I Spend?
Pricing is difficult with movie memorabilia. There is no set price for anything, of course, and the condition of the actor's career and reputation can cause prices to vary with time. Here are some factors that influence the price of memorabilia, along with some tips on finding a decent price.
- Age-- Usually older items will be more expensive, while newer items will be easier to find.
- Rarity-- Rare items usually cost more, of course.
- Autographs from deceased actors usually go for more money, especially if they recently passed away.
- Career-- If the actor just won an Oscar and is at the height of his or her career, expect higher prices.
- Intimacy-- A diary will usually go more than a plain autograph.
- Check out eBay before purchasing anything to figure out the standard range of prices similar items go for.