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.

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

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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.

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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.

RRauction.com Hollywood sale June auction preview

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This months RRauction follows up from the auction held earlier this year that did exceptionally well. This event will be covering contemporary and older props and wardrobe and includes some great pieces highlighted below with some stories behind them.

First up is this stunning “Star Trek 3″ Klingon phaser pistol with coa from ThePropstore of London. This piece will probably hit 2 or 3k if im not mistaken. Its a very rare example.

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This Maltese Falcon replica is a rare example of Icons prop replicas workmanship and is one of two known to have been made. The other resides at Warner Bros. Coming with full provenance from the Manager of Icons Jim Latta this is a rare and beautiful example of a piece made for those to collect who couldn’t afford the millions of dollars to buy the original “dingus”

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This prototype Gremlin, again with Propstore COA comes from Rick Bakers personal archive. I expect it to fetch 2-3k.

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This beautiful costume from Immortals worn by John Hurt is complete and comes with original paperwork.

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and this costume from Hot Tub Time machine is a great piece for collectors of comedy and features on the original poster for the film

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For fans of GI Joe this nearly complete costume was worn by Dennis Quaid in the first film. The complete costume is custom made including the leather jacket with removable arms, and the GI JOE logo trousers with rubber upraised type.

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One of my favourite items from my own personal collection is the UNI-SOL costume worn by various actors and original headset. A very rare piece and I hope it goes to a good home.

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I also really liked the gold ring worn by Liam Neeson as Schindler in Schindlers List….a really cool prop from an important film.

Take a look at the auction which begins on line June 19th and ends on the 26th. Remember to bid early as the bidtracker software will close out at 6pm est and if you haven’t bid you will be unable to bid to extend the time like a live auction which is something that has worked very well for bidders, and thus not missing out on the item at the last second like on ebay.

Good luck!

Propdomain’s 21st auction of screenused Horror and Scifi props review

A quick roundup of some of the finishing prices with the 21st sale by David Brandons company, a self confessed one man band of purchasing and selling to the prop community.

First up the highest priced item was from Land of the Lost was the hero Sleestak costume. Sold for $4200, followed closely by the Juggernaut outfit from Xmen: The last stand for $3,000

My comment on some of this stuff would be you have to do your research. David can be wrong sometimes so doing a little bit of homeword can save you disappointment, or in most cases improve something you thought wasn’t as good. Nothing wrong with that….just be aware that usually the people selling items to him , if it is not previously marked, might not know how the item was originally used. FYI.

This riddler cane sold for a very reasonable $1600. I wouldn’t doubt seeing this in Profiles sell for $5k.

Riddler cane prop

An unused Juggernaut chest from Xmen sold for $600. That’s pretty much the most out of that you might see so impressive.

This rather cool Vanilla Sky movie facemask worn by Tom Cruise sold for $480

This pair of unused Dr Doom gloves from Fantastic Four sold for $475.00

It will be really interesting to see what one of the hero/stunt suits screenused sells for in RRauction this month!

An unused pair of Dr Doom boots sold for $360, and another pair for $288.

As usual lots of deals to be had. If you haven’t had a chance go to icollector and sign up for the next sale in a months time.

“Lost” tv show props up for auction in the RRauction.com Hollywood sale June 19-26 2014

Some quite awesome props are available from ABC’s Lost tv show this month and here is a quick look at them.

First up is one of the original Faraday journals used on the show

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Here is an example being used in the show

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The one that sold in the Profiles Lost auction sold for thousands of dollars so here is your opportunity to bid starting at $200!

The next item is a lot of items including a broken plaster Virgin Mary from season 1 and 2, golf balls and tees and drug bags used by several characters

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The Virgin Mary’s alone sold for $2000-3000 at various events so here is your chance to get a really nice one with plenty of provenance and accompanying screen used items.

Don’t forget more items from the show will be available in September at Blacksparrows Lost sale as well!

“The Walking Dead” auction of props and wardrobe slated for Saturday August 23rd 2014

This of course….was an April fool.

WORLD EXCLUSIVE!

Sources today confirmed that a brand new auction company headed by Chris Hardwick, he of Nerdist.com fame
and scheduled for their first major event with a sale of items from the set of “The Walking Dead” that on Sunday reached an astonishing 15 million people on Sunday.

“I’ve decided that being a famous talkshow, internet celebrity, tv and movie star and general nice guy isn’t enough” Chris said to us yesterday. “I’ve thought that after seeing Hershel’s head on our table on the “Talking dead” a few episodes ago that we need to give something back for the fans PLUS make some money back for the show so we can fire a few more bullets each episode. Further to that I have been asking the onset crew to keep all the pieces of make-up that were to be thrown away, bullet casings, overly bloodied wardrobe and basically anything that we could save from the production to offer up on the internet live on I.collector.com”

Hundreds of body bags will be available at the auction with prices starting at $50 each!!!!! What a steal.

Hundreds of body bags will be available at the auction with prices starting at $50 each!!!!! What a steal.

“So far some of the best things we have are actual bullets that came out of Rick’s gun that were going to be swept up and thrown away. I bet we can get major bucks for these!”.

Other items include pieces of zombie flesh (in reality rubber strips doused in red food coloring) each with their own COA saying exactly which zombie and episode these items were used in. On set makeup artist Todd G. was asked to keep meticulous records and even though working 14 hour days managed a sterling effort.

Bones and bodies....direct from the set

Bones and bodies….direct from the set

“Greg Nicotero actually kept coming back to our storage tent saying we couldn’t have these heads as they needed them for the next episode but I had him over-ruled by the armorer” Todd proudly stated. “We need those bullets firing each episode more than these burnt zombie heads.”

What else can we expect? The prison has been taken down from Season 3 and all the barbed wire kept. Was it rubber to protect the actors I asked? Speaking to John Sanders the property master he confirmed that it was but they couldn’t afford it so they used metal mostly. “It was sharp. We kept losing Zombie extras as they would poke their eyes out and nick themselves. The blood would ruin the zombie appliances so we had to make sure that they stopped walking into it with their contact lenses on by poking them with sticks out of camera.” How much would a roll of barbed wire start at? “I reckon people will buy it and paste it onto collector cards. After seeing some of those swatches of real live costumes on ebay going for hundreds I expect we will see those selling for lots!”

Real prison barb wire! Available at the auction!

Real prison barb wire! Available at the auction!

When asked why wouldn’t any major actor costumes or props like the crossbow used by Daryl be featured in the sale and costume designer Eulyn Womble had this to say. “Oh no…we need that for the next 10 seasons of the show. Our actors like to wear the same clothes week after week so we only have one of each costume. The smell really helps them keep in character.”

Well sounds to me like this is going to be an amazing sale. I for one will definitely be watching with interest!

"Shhh....don't tell anyone but I think this story is a load of bunk" says Merle

“Shhh….don’t tell anyone but I think this story is a load of bunk” says Merle