“Rambo” costume worn by Sylvester Stallone arrives from Heritage auctions 

  
So I really had to commit pen to paper (digitally) to commend Heritage auctions again for the completion of my order to buy the Rambo costume Sly wore in part 4 of his second most beloved franchise after “Rocky”

You may remember the concern I had about the shirt not matching other color variations in the catalog pictures. Well don’t worry…in person the shirt matches all the others perfectly.

  
First up everything came in a garment bag, the zipper adorned with Stallone auction tag. A coa endorsed by Sylvester hoping we enjoy the item, the placards from the exhibition with a picture of the item from the film and invoices…all perfectly packed and shipped for $30 in a few days.  

As I suspected the sand colored shirt indeed had #1 written inside as did the trousers. The under shirt was the correct color despite the auction catalog having some color correction….and no slice marks unlike the ones sold in the last half of the sale where they were converted to have squibs fired through them. 

Best of all the blue shirt that ended up in the lot was marked with a cotton sewn “R” right in the neck. Boy was that cool to see. R for Rambo.   

What a tremendous experience. Thank you Heritage and Allison in the sales department for facilitating this. To think that this shirt below went for $4,000 by itself….well I’m happy as a Mr Stallone headed for Oscar glory!

 

“Rambo”:  Stallone’s screen worn hero outfit from Sly’s personnel collecton.

  
Buying smart. That should be the main headline of this write up.

I’ve already described how the Heritage auction for Sly Stallone had some amazing hidden pieces amongst the expensive obvious lots but this piece above was always on my top three shortlist. Just how good it was I wouldn’t know until I received pictures from the auctioneer.

The lot specifically stated it had an extra blue shirt with it and of course knowing the pictures and film this was not the shirt seen in any way with this outfit. Of course it was an error and confirmed after reviewing these pictures from the auctioneer.


  It’s actually this shirt that sold for $2000 in the sale by itself! That is the blue shirt worn in the first half of the film.

 
What was very nice in that picture from Heritage also was the shot inside the shirt which wasn’t available in the catalog, showing a rather large “#1” revealing that beige shirt was the hero shirt worn in the film. 

 

So there you go. Obviously I was ecstatic to be able to win these and very grateful that Heritage was able to offer me as the under bidder the piece…doubly so for the great deal!

Interestingly the fate of said biege shirt is never revealed in the film. A case of there it is and then disappears! Why? Well the behind the scenes below reveals all.

  

REVIEW: Heritage auctions Sylvester Stallone auction 

http://youtu.be/oxiSzPM7uNA

So the event is a few days past and here is my review of what I saw having sat through 80% of the live 2 day event and caught up on Sunday’s internet only sale.
  

First up you will know that I loved the auction catalog that single handedly pulled me into bidding on several items and made me write that it was the single best example of its type ever. I absolutely still think that BUT ther were several examples that aided and frustrated me where a lot was listed with extra items and they were not pictured. On reflection that was a minor but annoying issue.

This did of course contribute to finding some really great deal lots where it was missed by others, or not sometimes. As much as I tried my quest to get a nice piece of Stallone history was frustrated time and again. 

So obviously going to the HA.Com website can easily pull you up a list of prices realized, something that you can find yourself but I wanted to give my thoughts on the event and key pieces that I wanted to bid on or stood out.

Stallone himself came out to start the event off and I thought this was fantastic and shot my hopes to pieces all in one go. By having him there I think it altered the prices a good 20% or more. For charity great…but for my pocketbook bad.

Prices were incredible really across the board for this sale. That comes from several long time collectors and dealers who most if not all of the time were blown out of the water bidding wise the same as me. Too high? Not if you intend to covert the piece and keep it but if you intended to resell then I think you may have some problems. I certainly think having a one time sale with over 4500 bidders and wall to wall advertising had a big impact on prices which may never be realized again.

Did I dislike anything? Well yes. 

Several times I found the extended time given to bidders online or in the room made me lose out on winning the item. Sometimes people paid an extra $100. Sometimes the price doubled all for the sake of bringing the hammer down very slowly. 

A number of times the item was reopened for bidders online. I’m sure this didn’t please a number of people especially who for seconds had the winning bid only to have it pulled out of their grasp.
Strangely enough there were 3 occasions when people started getting rowdy in the room and had small altercations with the two auctioneers present usually because the lot had been closed and their bid hadn’t been taken because they had decided too late to bid. Personally I was on the side of the auctioneer BUT having seen them reopen lots for people online not doing it for people in the room must have been annoying to those people seated in LA. It was the argumentative approach I had an issue with to some extent as we viewers a home had to listen to verbal sparring for about a minute.

So what were my 3 items I liked? 

Well I did a lot of matching items before I decided to bid. I was under the assumption that Stallone would keep his hero pieces and I was exactly right a number of times.

  This piece from Rocky 6 was of interest to  me and after viewing the film it screen matched precisely on the seams, buttons and wear to the picture below. Seek the 4mb version of this picture below and you will see the match.

 
Ultimately selling for $4500 I thought that was a bit rich for my blood.

  
Next up this piece from Rambo which was a bear to screen match. I’d say almost impossible on screen. Even the tshirt seemingly brown at one point seemed to change to grey towards the end.

My initial plan was to buy the headwear, arrows and costume for display but when the arrows & quiver sold for $3000 that went out the window sadly. 

 
In the end runner up again! Sure it’s a simplistic costume but I loved it for that and that it was worn for roughly half the action of the film. 

So what else did I like but avoided due to price? Well I loved the Dredd costume but $30,000 without shirt or trousers was crazy. Another $6,000 for the shirt. I adored the Copland outfit but to make it complete about $10,000. Escape to victory was a favorite as a kid and that Ex-Planet Hollywood display went for around 10k to with the goalie shirt and ball which I’m not sure how many caught was a film used ball signed by the cast and crew including director John Huston on the front.

My final and most disappointing loss was the “prototype” knife from Rambo 4. Only it wasn’t. It was the hero closeup piece from the extended edition where Rambo burns the enemy boat and throws his Second movie knife away in an act of rejecting violence. It matched 90% and only because some of the paint had come off the black blade after filming. I hoped to snag this for $1000 but it sold for $5000. I’m sure I went quite high at the end.

  
This one really hurt after all the effort I put into it. Unfortunately and I saw this a lot during the sale of one item sold for X the second item sold for around the same price. No deals…almost exclusively. I believe because 2 Rambo knives identical in style to this sold for $10,000 so I guess the bidders assumed x2 $5000 makes 10k. No idea if anyone  else matched it, most people claimed not to I spoke to but there you go.

  
It’s not a great pic above but that’s the moment before when he throws it and it lands….beautiful piece although admittedly the prop was rough compared to the hero closeup pieces which surprised me as it received a full on shot.

So there you go. A wonderful event spoiled by deeper pockets than my own. What do you do.  

Congrats to the winners. I know many of us are waiting in the wings to rebuy these pieces down the road when the heats off the prices. I’m pretty sure we will see some of them down the road…just like John Rambo.

  

Hero vs production made: Part 1 “Creed Gloves”

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I think I may have made myself a bit too much work this Christmas week having set my self the goal of writing up a review of the “Stallone auction” at Heritage I found myself in no small part because of it entering the murky waters of production made vs stunt vs hero conversation that so many other sites have found themselves drawn into over the years.

Certainly as long as I can recall it has been a huge issue, especially with companies like Premiere props (although I personally think that with the costume tags visible much of the time in their sales its not those tags I fault, but the words spoken that infer that everything is hero even though it may not be) an Jason Debord over at the Original Prop Blog has done several great articles delineating the difference in his eyes. There is a good example here for you. Jason’s opinion in short is written below:

My own viewpoint is this – everything in this auction is “original” (An

artifact from a film or television production that was 1) made by the

production or acquired by the production, 2) during the production, and

3) used or intended to be used during the production. All three of these

criteria must be met in order for a piece to be considered “Original”.).

It is a big issue of course and its REALLY big when people have been spending the kind of money I have been watching at auction recently so in order to really look at this issue I’ve chosen one item, and auction just to peak a little more in depth at the issue with some of the things that I’ve been talking to others about and their feelings on the subject.

Now what SHOULD be fueling the prices in these two auctions im going to use as examples, The Heritage Stallone auction and Vip’s eBay Creed sale, is that obviously (a) everything is production made but with the use of tags and (b) the knowledge that supposedly Sylvester Stallone kept one of everything for himself specifically that he used for his character so going with that information its been eye opening to see if this was correct or not.

Now I don’t want to gut the contents of my Stallone Heritage article so I will leave my findings out for that article due later this week but for now here are some of the interesting observations I have made with the VIP “Creed” sale. Obviously this is all based on my observations and some guesswork (although after 25 years I tend to guess correct a lot) but I hope you find it interesting none the less.

My first finding is simply this. If you use a screenmatch as the gold standard of buying the best prop or wardrobe because you know it was actually used Heritages sale was pretty dead on. Many of the items I was personally interested in DID match. With key props this was particularly easy but with VIP its been a little more of a mixed bag.

Here is a great example. The main gloves used by Adonis in his middle of the film fight sometimes referred to as The steadycam duel in which the continuous fight plays out for about 2.5 minutes with no doubles or stuntmen.

pa5

Now my purpose here isn’t to rubbish in any way what VIP is offering. Its merely to back up my suggestion which is that most of the time the HERO prop or wardrobe might not ever make it to auction. Certainly with Stallone’s costume I was told by a very knowledgeable friend that Sly keeps all his hero stuff, a point proven by not only the Stallone auction but also this wardrobe tag, one of many in VIP’s sale which clearly states he kept certain pieces. As you can see this tag clearly states the shoes are doubles that remain with the outfit, that certain pieces missing from the sale are with other outfits and that in the case of the coat Sly kept the original blue field jacket and VIP sold the double jacket which for some mysterious reason was in black.

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This hat offered up the same week also had some great information in that (a) the piece was a double and (b) according to Baron hats the maker was a test piece that was never used on screen and is clearly made of a different material than the one seen.

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So personally to me it has very little value at that point and yet still sold fro $1500. Did it touch Stallones head. Probably. Is it in the film.

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Doubtful. Did the auction state it was worn by Stallone. No….just Rocky. And that is my friends the way it should be. Perfectly written. Interrupted by the bidder as worn? Probably but that leap of faith is on them.

So back to my main exhibit these boxing gloves. So the ones offered by VIP clearly are used but upon examination they don’t match the screencaps, which being 4000MP are more than adequate for a match.

gloves3

gloves4

For the purposes of matching I always like to go for the easiest visible marks. In the case of these you can argue the pen mark was made after filming, but personally I don’t buy that. Looking at both pictures below the PA SAC has a dot after the A in PA. which doesn’t show up in both screen caps here. Even the shape of the words is wrong. I should add that I also checked for obvious deformations in the rubber surface of the glove that also didn’t match on the photos I had or video I could find from the fight.

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Now obviously this could be from one day of filming so perhaps the next day used different handwriting etc. but you have to go with the evidence you can find, at least till the blu ray comes out….but the conversation and point I make I hope is clear. Not every prop will ever have the smoking gun of proof on screen BUT when you have it shouldn’t that prop carry a substantial premium compared to others. Right now with this auction it seems everything is at a premium.

Having spoken though to several people recently about both auctions it would seem very few people are putting the time into matching the items they are buying, and willing to spend what they will to get it.

I will be revisiting this glove topic issue in the future when the Blu ray comes out because I want to show the difference between verifying an item with the material available now vs when that comes out. I think it will make more sense then but for now I wanted to get my thoughts down specifically on the issue. On the issue of the Stallone items if the ones in the sale are the “extras” do people want that because they believe the number 1 hero will never be available? Are they content to own most of the costume but never get the all important blue jacket that seems to go with most of the shirt/trousers in the sale?

stallone 1

Sure looks that way.

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As I get older the importance of production used has become more of a concern for me, but certainly now more than ever the issue of “is that the one” which has weighed heavy on some peoples minds seems more important than ever, even if its just 3 seconds of screen time. For some….it seems a non issue.

Both is fine. BUT I still feel rightly or wrongly the used item should have the premium attached. Perhaps that is coming in the future as more and more people certainly seem to be collecting less and buying more expensive items.