About ThePropStop

With 22 years in the movie prop and costume world "ThePropStop" was set up to share my knowledge, love and passion for the world of movie memorabilia. We look forward to your continued to taking the ride with you, our readers.

New readers………….look here.

Hey new readers. With the Superman Vs. Batman story below we expect a lot of you to be joining us today.

That’s cool. Take a load off. Visit some of the 600 articles here about collecting props and wardrobe from movies and TV over the last few years.

This site is pretty much put together by me, written by me, thought of and obscurely talked about.

So…if you like the above….props, wardrobe, technical behind the scenes stuff and models please regard us as your new home for some pretty cool info. Bottom line is most websites want to sell you something. We don’t. We just want to share our love of movie memorabilia.

For that check us out here from time to time, or join facebook using the popup (or click below) where basically this site has moved to for daily updates, a cool photo archive and lots of stuff in the next two months being talked about from The Pacific Rim and Propstore October auction, Profiles in history Expendables sale and much much more. I promise you that both old and new collectors will see things that will both be exciting and informative!

We really do want you.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Propstop/349553925073294

P.S. You will also be entered into our race for 1000 competition….so like us and possibly win one of two props up for grabs!!!

Batman Vs Superman prop newspaper article from production

(Websites and journalists…PLEASE do not copy and steal my pictures. They are watermarked for that reason. I am happy if you want to use the text, or link back to this site, but stealing the pictures ISN’T appreciated). I will not publish the other pieces I have if this is done.

This was given to me, apparently thrown away from production, and since nothing I can see here seems too spoilery I thought I would publish it.

batman1

Copyright thepropstop Do not reproduce without  permission

 

 

It is an article on the city of Metropolis by Lois lane, and references an event in the city. The article across the page is also about Metropolis.

Copyright thepropstop Do not reproduce without permission

                 Copyright thepropstop
  Do not reproduce without permission

 

The Propstop’s 2014 state of the prop union address (Part 2: Dealers)

First up apologies. I am after all writing this on my free time which hasn’t been as much as I would have liked this week. Thanks for all the emails though pushing me to finish it.

So last time we dealt with a little background on the formative years. Since the early 1990’s in England Propmasters David Oliver (Then the Twilight Zone) was one of the foremost authority’s in props, along with Jason Joiner (especially Star Wars) and Tim Lawes (later to join Prop store of London). There were a few other collectors but most of the transactions were in person in comic stores or thru the pages of Model and collectors mart/Starburst magazines classifieds, or directly with studio personnel. Forbidden Planet in London, a well thought of comic shop was also were a few props could be found. I distinctly remember walking in their about 1991 and seeing Ash’s head from “Alien” starring at me from the glass case, although for the life of me I can’t remember now what it cost. Alien War in London in the early 1990’s also had a great display of props from the second and third films and Planet Hollywood was the Mecca where after Christies or Bonham’s we would go to eat the crispy chicken and Oreo deserts!

Prop store of course has gone on to now pretty much dominate the landscape. Its really funny to me that after all the years of coa’s in the 1990’s being a non issue that now I’m pretty much asked out of the gate if I sell something does it come with a Prop store COA. Whilst I would venture that Prop store does an excellent job, and has one of the, if not the best guarantees of authenticity in the business a piece of paper isn’t the be all and end all of items. In fact as I’m reminded by members of the MPF, the item should speak for itself, the letter should back that up and be a link to its history and past…and in fact a lot of items on eBay aren’t worth the piece of paper that is with them. This applies to several companies too who list solely what’s on the wardrobe tag and don’t do any attempt to make sure that it matches with the costume. This has happened fairly regularly at Premiere props, and sometimes it comes out in ones favor as per my Arnold Schwarzenegger sheriff costume from the “Last Stand” you can check out last we wrote about, that was sold as a stunt but had hero markings, and sometimes it can be a problem where a stunt is sold as a hero…..most people I’m sure not wanting to be on the end of that problem.

Picture courtesy of moviepropcollectors.com

So….does Prop store not deliver in certain areas. Well comments from interviews I have done with a smattering of buyers in the community are universally happy with most of the service. Top call outs go to Stephen, Brandon, Tim, Dan, Sian and others in the team. Shipping seems generally good although some people have complained about international fees etc., but I see that as just the part of the cost of doing business with government taxes involved.

When it comes to selling them items I had two comments stand out from my phone questionnaire.

“I was a disappointed that Prop store said they were looking for items to buy on their site but when I approached them they didn’t want to make an offer on any of my stuff.”

and

“I received an offer from them but it was very low compared to what I had seen them sell for originally on their site.”

Now of course I’m not suggesting any dealer has to take any item offered by anyone but when I started digging into this further, and mixing it with some things I had discovered with the market these last few years it has become apparent that its much easier to buy something today, than it is to sell it tomorrow….and really hard in most cases with mid to low end pieces to get your original investment back if you paid too much. Of course anyone buying from a dealer typically has this problem as of course their is a tendency from any dealer or private seller to want the very most for an item they can get for it and it is also compounded when buying from auction houses where the bid can have anywhere up to 29% extra added plus shipping, taxes et al.

This fault can’t be laid exclusively at Prop stores doorstep. Obviously most people want to buy when the film is hot….that’s usually the day and weeks of early release and then months later when the BLU/DVD come out. After that the heat starts to wane, unless the film becomes a cult, or personnel movie to the guy wanting the item. We see this pretty much with every VIP auction sale where items go very high at first then taper off, and the secondary market takes a bit of a beating on their items down the road.

Premier props tends to also have a similar model to VIP in that they get the rights to the whole production, except VIP doesn’t do monthly auctions with icollector/liveauctioneers, and they don’t sell direct. Premiere drops the ball unlike VIP with timing. I have seen items sit for years on Amazon, and ebay and turn up for sale mixed in with other movie sales where originally if they had been sold when the film was “hot” they would have gone for many times the amount. Now, as a buyer I like this but one has to pay a lot of attention. Nearly 3 years after being released a Ms Carmody costume came up last year from “The Mist” and sold for $50.

Example of Ms Carmody from THE MIST sold by PP

Years before similar pieces not as complete sold for $500-600. It doesn’t really benefit the studio, the collector or PP but I have seen this happen over and over. Speaking to Dan Levin he has promised their computerized system should solve most of these issues but I still think rather than try to sell the same item week to week over and over and nobody bid they should dump like items in boxes (they did this last year and seemed to work on ebay) and move the junk out and get some of the good items on Premiere props.com and sell them now. My two cents.

Other comments about Premiere Props included from those questioned:

“I wish they would stop selling items from thrift stores in their sales marked as Lord of the Rings background items. With no provenance I looked at the film and couldn’t see them anywhere”

“I waited four months for shipping and had to hound them weekly”

“Twelve hour sales are ridiculous. I have to watch an auction for 3 hours and only 60 items have gone by and have to wait until 11pm at night to bid on one item”

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Screenused.com has also done seriously good work in the selling and authentication department. With a clean and easy to navigate sight there business has shifted more to online auctions, pretty much dictated I think by consigners not wanting to wait 8 months for payment plans to be completed, when they can have all the money upfront in a week and only pay a 15% commission. To Screenused’s credit this is about the best deal as a seller in the business but it has resulted in the website being actively checked daily by nearly every one of our respondents to now every 2-3 days. This is actually in line with my personnel thinking that its sad because now so much more effort has been put into the auctions its kind of ruined the other side of it as quality pieces just don’t show up on the site hardly anymore.

Desi and Jeff are people I love to work with and I do give them a thumbs way up, and I’m sure they know this is the direction that the site has taken, but I am a little concerned that sales have declined as more and more competition ahs entered the arena, and with Propstore now doing auctions, along with RRauction.com, and Propdomain things are getting a little busy out their, especially in September/October this year with the VUE auction, Enders game and Pacific Rim sales and a huge auction from Profiles along with others. Personally….I don’t see them all hitting the highs of yesteryear based on sales so far this year which seem fairly weak.

So what’s the number 1 thing that has effected the community. Check out these quotes….

“Sorry brother can’t afford that right now”

“I’m committed to a payment plan”

“Its easier to buy and pay later”

Is this the death of the hobby?

Of course not. Its however a serious poke in the eye when analyzed. Of course without hard numbers its to some degree guesswork but looking into peoples habits in the questionnaire 75% of people were on a payment plan for 1 or more items, and 50% for three or more. I think that’s actually quite a shock to me, as someone who doesn’t believe in them and tries not to ever get someone on them upfront.

Taking that $8000 prop down to “3 easy payments” to quote has done a number of things to the hobby. One its made things easier to purchase, increased prices able to ask, and taken the ability to sell items quickly up to $500 off the general table as people are already committed to a payment on something they don’t already own until its paid off. This is why items on the forum sales boards tend to be unsold as they have already been seen by the community once, and woah behold you if you ask for more than it sold for originally. It also means that quick deals of the past are off the table…although Paypal has been a significant form of payment in the prop community that at one time was pretty much all cash and check.

Well there are some of my thoughts about dealers in 2014. In Part 3 of this series we will examine the interesting new way that the studios have found to liquidate their assets and look closer at some of the events where that has happened in the last 10 years. See you then.

The Propstop’s 2014 state of the prop union address (Part 1)

state-of-the-union

You might not like what you read below….but hell its just my opinion. This year celebrates my 26th year viewing the prop business from inside and outside the curtain so lets have some home truths and some speculation all wrapped up with a neat bow!

Are you described below? No way am I calling anybody out, and if you do think its you its probably an amalgam of different you’s. Lets face it…collectors are all one giant force of nature. But seriously….its not you.

First up.

“In the beginning…..there was life!”

Little over dramatic I agree but propcollectors did exist before 1988 (the world according to me). One of the most important sales ever was in 1970 at the MGM studio backlot auction. Some great pictures here of that. This event pretty much set the standard over the years and certainly helped dictate prices for a while, in a vacuum where virtually none had been recorded or publicly known before.

MGMAuctionCatalog2

In fact almost every auction catalog since this one has had items from this sale which stretched multiple days and saw items from “Wizard of Oz” and “The Time Machine” sold off.

Convention auctions would still be a mainstay of collectors during this time right thru today, except without the hoards of people today there might be only 2 or 3 people in the room interested in bidding the items up. At “Doctor Who” conventions in the late 1980’s it would typically be myself and Andrew Beech, one of the members of the Doctor Who appreciation society locked in mortal combat for the likes of the Tom Baker era TARDIS Perspex time rotor, or a Dalek gun. Unfortunately he was a proven and slightly older lawyer in London, and I was a College boy working in a newspaper in Suffolk, so it wasn’t exactly the hardest competition to beat, but I did score my own victorys small as they were. “Red Dwarf” also proved a good spot to find props and wardrobe when “Dimension Jump” started up and various pieces from the production crew were donated to the charity sale.

Then in the 1990’s Planet Hollywood started buying for its auctions from Christies, Bonhams, Phillips and Sothebys in the UK and in the USA from Profiles, and Cambden house auctions as well as other outlets. This caused inevitable battles in the auction rooms as collectors suddenly had to outbid an almost unlimited wallet. Some auctions I attended resulted in nearly 100% sell thru to Planet H…a bit of a bloodbath until 1995 when it slowed down somewhat as the Restaurants were filled quickly, and the studios started to sell direct to them.

Then in 1997 eBay started up. Very slowly at first but as time went by more and more props showed up. I remember distinctly in ’97 a Rocketeer costume sans jetpack with its original Disney crate showing up and selling pretty reasonably. Without internet at the time it was hard to bid until I hooked myself up with WebTV, a television based internet system that provided a window on the world. In 1998 yahoo set up auction services against eBay that resulted in several amazing auctions that were missed by most including a “Galaxy Quest” sale, “X-men”, “Gladiator” and some charity auctions with the odd piece of wardrobe. Can you believe back then I bought a Planet of the apes Soldier costume for $800 and a Dr Evil suit for $2000. My how things have changed in 15 years.

Since 2000 more and more companies from Propstore, Screenused, The Golden Closet, VIP auctions and Propmasters have flourished, whereas others like Propworx, Reelclothes, Star Wares and many others have come and gone.

So….that brings us up to date. Where are we now.

“Dogs and cats….living together…..mass hysteria!”

We live in a world where props actually seem to come to you, rather than the old days of having to chase them down. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean quality…..but when quality usually comes with a high price tag what do you do.

Sadly the number one outlet of garbage props is currently eBay.

Mixed in with fakers, liars and deceit are a handful of outlets like Hollywood Parts (now Profiles in History), VIP auctions, who are amongst our best providers amid a deluge of items that were probably sold by those very companies and are now offered for four times the original price, “celebrity underwear sellers” who are the new “most autographs are fake” on eBay these last few years, out and out fakers like those seen on the Original Prop Blog selling items from thrift stores as being from “Harry Potter”, and whatever the latest and greatest film is and the occasional Gem.

This year these include items from Director Joe Johnson who sold, or attempted to sell a Jumanji Board on eBay that we currently think is in Profiles this September. He is the tip of the iceberg as good quality item do come up now and then, it just takes a lot of patience and hard work to find them.

Who is the number 2 outlet? Well currently any company that excepts items without doing research is highly suspect. Premiere props do on their key pieces but the lesser, smaller pieces aren’t getting the full attention they deserve. This has come back to bite them in the news recently with the Michael Jackson photo fiasco as can be read here. Being told one thing….is one thing. Several of the smaller auction companies are currently falling into that trap and not using the expert advice of those out their who do know better, in favour of getting more items into their auction.

Doing the research to make sure its correct. That’s what separates the men from the boys, or just dealing direct as below.

So back to the big companies. Propstore….Screenused…..VIP…….Profiles…..Whats going on with them.
Read up on that tomorrow in Part 2.

Screenused.com July 12th Summer auction results

As I posted on facebook earlier half way thru the event prices seemed to be down so lets analyze the sales results. Here are the top items to sell

First up selling for $14,000 here is the Star Trek: TMP spacesuit. Whilst missing several components its use by Commander Terrell in Star Trek 2 was of more interest to me and other fans I suspect.

The second highest item for $12,000 was this crumbling Yoda hand. Personally I wouldn’t have bought it for any money myself but a small war developed on this piece.

Im sure the following item surprised Desi and Jeff which was the Click remote selling for a huge $11,000. For “Click”, an Adam Sandler movie prop??? Don’t get me wrong…I love light up props but I think Im not the only one thinking someone overpaid for this.

http://www.icollector.com/Click-Light-Up-Remote-Control-Adam-Sandler_i19999831

Surprising no one this Sankara stone from “Indy 2″ hit $11,000 too.

This dress from “Edward Scissorhands” I expected to go between $5k-10k. I just thought it was a beautiful and iconic piece. Not surprised then when it sold for $7,000.

Data. Star Trek. $5500. Done deal all day every day.

So no big surprises then. Well a nice Klingon for only $2700 was a surprise. The Breaking bad stuff did ok too. What is REALLY surprising and really a bit of a shock is of the nine pages on Icollector, everything after the first page sold under $550 or didn’t sell at all. In fact that’s 5 full pages of stuff that was overpriced or no one had any interest in. Looking thru the stuff there’s quite a bit of trek that was overpriced, but generally the items are fairly lackluster save for the $65,000 Superman costume.

So. Why did this happen. Well the timing of the announcement of the Propstore auction certainly hurt. So did the generally high reserves. Yes, the item does sell if the reserve is met…i.e.. the opening bid. But it doesn’t help if people don’t want to jump in at that price and stifles the auction.

The market is also very stifled right now. People paying high prices on items within the last 2-3 years ARE having a tough time getting their original investment back….the number of people on payment plans doesn’t help either. Will this change? Im not entirely sure…..certainly speaking for myself If I can’t turn over pieces and reinvest the money it sure doesn’t make me want to pay a high price in the first place. A conversation I have had with many sellers. It also doesn’t help that generally people have less money month to month to play with because of the ubiquitous payment plans offered.

So there you have it. Again…a solid offering put together from Screenused, BUT I would ask them to remember that the site is being neglected in a way that many of the old school customers missed. Knowing that items from this auction are going to be uploaded for the next month doesn’t always make me want to click at 2-3 am like in the old days at seeing the newest items.