Movie Props: From Screen to Auction Block
When moviegoers leave the theater, most will never imagine the journey of their favorite props, costumes, and collectibles from the big screen to the auction block. From Star Wars light sabers to Spiderman’s mask, it’s fascinating to explore the history and value of movie props through the lens of movie memorabilia auctions. In this article, we will take a look at the journey of movie props from on-screen stars to prized auction items.
1. The Rise of Movie Prop Collecting
Movie prop collecting has been on the rise in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. For fans of both classic and modern films alike, the physical trophies of these stories can be truly priceless. For years people have been collecting signed headshots, autographs, and inkworks, but recently props have become increasingly desirable and attainable. Here’s a look at some of the most popular choices among diehard movie fans.
- Clothing: What better way to show your love for a movie than with its wardrobe? Collectors often go after the iconic outfits that have made their mark in history – such as Indiana Jones’s fedora and khaki get-up, or Ripley’s Nostromo jumpsuit from Alien.
- Weapons: Famous movie guns are among the most sought-after props on the market. It’s not uncommon to see lightsabers, swords, and even blasters from Star Wars pop up at auction.
- Sets: Even set pieces can be a valuable collector’s item, from pieces of chairs and door frames to entire sections of buildings or landscapes. These props can be mesmerizing in their ability to bring entire scenes to life, and serious fans can build immersive replicas from them.
It’s worth noting that prospective prop collectors should be sure to make sure that a piece comes with the relevant evidence to prove its authenticity. Paper trails, certificates, and other documentation can make the difference between the real deal and a convincing replica.
The world of movie collecting is an ever-growing one, and props are often the highlight of the show. With more and more films getting the big – and small – screen treatments, it’s likely that this hobby is here to stay.
2. Famous Film Props We Wish We Had
- Han Solo’s Blaster: From Han Solo’s infamous blaster in the original Star Wars trilogy, to the controversial modern day remake of the classic films, this iconic prop stands as a symbol of the legendary Han Solo and his loyalty to the Rebellion. This rare blaster was auctioned off in 2017 for over $200,000, setting an all-time record for props from the Star Wars franchise.
- The Maltese Falcon: Humphrey Bogart’s iconic prop from the classic 1941 film The Maltese Falcon was recently uncovered and sold in an auction for over $4 million. This iconic item has been an object of fascination for movie fans and prop aficionados alike, with its iconic falcon design made from real gold and silver. It has achieved a nearly mythical status since its release as a testament to the beloved Bogart and his indelible characters.
- Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers: Judy Garland’s iconic slippers from The Wizard of Oz were recently sold for over $2 million, making them the most expensive movie prop of all time. The shoes are credited with making Garland a worldwide star and are still iconic to this day. Fans of the classic film will be able to remember fondly the ruby red glimmer that brought Dorothy from Kansas to Oz.
- The True Cross from The Scorpion King: As far as movie props go, this is one of the rarest. The Scorpion King’s true cross, used by The Rock in the hit film, was recently sold at auction for over half a million dollars. As the centerpiece of this iconic action movie, this is one iconic item that any collector would be thrilled to own!
- The DeLorean from Back to the Future: This timeless classic of a movie vehicle has been beloved for decades. This iconic movie prop was recently sold for over one million dollars at auction. The DeLorean has immortalized Michael J. Fox in this iconic time machine, and is remembered fondly as a symbol of teenage dreams fulfilled.
3. Purchasing Movie Props from Auctions
Movie props used in the film industry come from all sorts of unique sources. Rare and vintage artifacts, museum archives, and specialized props and set decorations help filmmakers bring their stories to life and offer verisimilitude to their audiences. But finding these pieces can be a daunting task for those wanting to construct their own art studio or reenact scenes from their favorite films.
Fortunately, many of the props used in the film industry can be found through easily accessible auctions. By shopping around for auctions fairly close to you, you can find the resources you need in a timely manner.
You can find movie props at a variety of auctions, such as art auctions, estate auctions, and regional theatre auctions. By being diligent and thorough in your searching, you will be able to find rare and even vintage movie props. When attending an auction, it is important to know the limitations of the auction (if the auction is in-person only, how much you are willing to bid, and how you plan on transporting any pieces you win).
At art auctions, it is important to research the pieces thoroughly in order to ensure that they are original or at least old. To determine if an item is original, you should look for features such as patina, condition of wood, aged metal, old paint, and any labels or engravings. By researching the initial cost or usage price, the estimated market value, and any restoration work needed you can make an educated buying decision. Knowing these factors will also help you decide which items you can bid for and which ones you should pass over in the auction.
Estate auctions are a great resource for obtaining vintage or unique movie props. Many times these sales have a variety of old props and rare items ranging from movie costumes to prop guns and specialty items. These auctions also have tools and materials to help you create your own studio set or prop shop.
Finally, theatres can be sources of unique props. Theatres sell off sets and props once they no longer need them or when they need to make room for new items. At these auctions you may be able to find a great bargain on movie props that may have once been featured in big-budget productions.
In summary, by being diligent in your search and researching the materials, you can find the perfect prop for your studio or prop box at a variety of auctions. Movie props can bring back memories from the movies you love and add a whimsical touch to your home or studio. So start your search now and find some great movie props at the auction block.
4. What to Look Out For When Buying
When shopping for movie props, it’s important to look out for a few things:
- Authenticity: Check for signs of authenticity, such as certificates of authenticity, maker’s marks, or other evidence that the prop or item is genuine. Genuine movie props often come with some form of verification.
- Condition: Movie props often come in poor condition due to being transported, stored, and handled during production. Check for signs of wear and tear, as well as any repairs that may be necessary.
- Price: Movie props may be expensive, so be sure to shop around for the best price. Everyday items may be less expensive, while rare and unique props may cost more. Consider the historical or monetary value of a prop before making a purchase.
- Bid Wisely: Be sure to bid wisely when purchasing props at an auction. It may be easy to get caught up in the bidding frenzy and spend more than you had planned on an item. Know your limits and set a budget beforehand.
- Research: It’s always important to do your research before making any purchase. Look up the item you are interested in and familiarize yourself with current prices or the estimated value. This can help you make a more informed decision.
Be sure to also check the seller’s return policy and warranty information before making a purchase. Take the time to inspect the item carefully before making a final decision. Buying movie props can be a great way to invest in the arts and promote film history, but make sure to take all of the necessary steps to ensure that you are getting a genuine item.
5. Tips for Caring for Movie Props
When it comes to taking care of movie props, collectors often turn to the experts who have already had experience with categorizing, transporting, and storing acquisitions. Here are some tips to help you ensure your movie props are safely and securely looked after.
- Choose the right crate: Packing your movie prop in a heavy duty, long-lasting plastic crate can protect it from dust, moisture and damage. Use bubble wrap and other cushioning materials to protect delicate items.
- Regular cleaning: Rubbing dirt and dust off your props with a dry, lint-free cloth, can go a long way in retaining their aesthetic appeal. For excessively dirty props, consider using a mild cleaning agent to clean away stubborn stains and residue.
- Maintain the surface finish: Props with metal or plastic surfaces may require periodic polishing or application of a sealant to protect them from rust, discoloration, and premature wear.
- Moisture security: Hot and humid environments can harm your movie props, so do the best you can to keep them in a dry location. A dehumidifier can be useful in these cases.
- Storage: When storing movie props, it is important to keep them away from direct sunlight and sources of heat. Keep the props in cool, dark, and dry areas, and be sure to regularly inspect them for any signs of damage or corrosion.
Investing in movies props can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it is important to remember that these are delicate items that require a lot of care and attention. Following the guidelines outlined here can help you get the most out of your movie prop collection.
Movie props have come a long way since their closeups on the silver screen. Whether they’re held in the illustrious private collections of Hollywood elite or sold on the auction block to fans, movie props have become a source of nostalgia and reverence. It’s just one way we can appreciate the magic of the movies.