“The Current state of play”….where are we in 2012 with the collecting of movie props and wardrobe…..

Isn’t that some question to ask? Well it is… but several interesting forum posts have made me want to answer that question with my personal viewpoint.

1: Lots of new peeps.

The Line for the Propstore booth

Yep. We have a great influx of new blood brought in by the likes of the LOST auction, Propworx’s efforts with Jay and Silent Bob and Stargate and the continuing move of the economy to put money into anything that isn’t housing. Unfortunately this also makes it easier for the people who want to take advantage of those who really are dipping there toes into a large pool of snapping turtles. Sure there are good dealers out there but most want you to pay more for an item than you will ever reasonably get back to it.

2: Lots of dealers….lots of stuff.

Too be honest….too much stuff. Back in the 1990’s when I first started this used to be a very closed playing field, not many players on the either side and the rules usually balanced in your favor. Unfortunately over the years this has slid far to much towards the side of those who sell than buy. Take a look at any dealers website…there is a lot of stuff on there that hasn’t sold for years. Is it too expensive…or just not interesting? Back in the 1990’s very little stuff stuck around for a long time. If it was sci-fi it would be scooped up in an instant. That’s because from a production you might only ever see one or two pieces. Now…..Premiereprops and the likes of New Line Cinema (now defunct but paved the way) and several independent sellers buy and sell entire productions, including the stuff that never made it on screen, or deleted scenes.

At first this seems good for the hobby….more stuff …. more choice…..but what really happened is the perceived value of props has gone down because there is so much stuff….and this is bad, especially when it comes to resell it.

3: Why can’t I sell this thing?

Well thats a good question. You have been told its worth X and all you are offered is Y or maybe offered nothing at all. The problem is that you either paid too much for it in the first place or like the smell of spring in downtown New York it’s gone in an instance….your window of opportunity that is.

Take the Lost auction. At its fever-point people were buying the items with no regard to resale…they were just caught up in what the pro’s call “auction fever”. This particular ailment causes people to sell there own grandma for something they just have to have. Sad but true. This happened at the Debbie Reynolds auction (shown fairly clearly when the next sale kind of flopped) causing even catalogue buyers to pay up to $450 for what Profiles had mailed to most bidders for free.

Its now with a collectible, like the movie business, been proved that a films at its peak for publicity when it comes out in theatres or on dvd….and this also seems to be the case with props. Of course a “good” death will increase the value of someones clothing but generally the rule applies to the above. As time goes by so does the perception of an item as new things come into view to purchase from the latest and greatest movie or TV show. This certainly happened with “Phantom Menace” Star Wars toys and also is happening all across the collectibles field.

It seems the words ring true of some very senior and respected collectors. Collect what you like, and collect from movies that are well loved and respected…ie “Trek”, “Star Wars” and come to think of it anything ever made by Lucas, Spielberg, Cameron and that beared bloke from New Zealand. Anything other than that…..run for the hills (joke!)

4: I’m an expert….let me ask this other guy!

Yes of course they are real...the box said "Official" Batman costume! luvly Jubblie!

Yes of course they are real...the box said "Official" Batman costume! luvly Jubblie!

23 years I’ve plodded thru this field. Read auction catalogues, traipsed thru costume stores, spent hours on the phone, dealed and wheeled and seen them come….and go….and yet we now enter the information super highway age where anyone can read a wiki, look up a quote or become an expert. WRONG!

This is one of the most damaging things in our hobby. The instant expert. Where as I very much respect those who ask questions and want to better themselves, the field of play has become inundated with these people giving bad advice, making up stuff at random and giving some of the worst interviews known to man. Yes…Im talking about anyman who would say such ludicrous things as “Props go up in value and never come down”, all the way thru to Oprah trying to pick up priceless wardrobe with her hands and prance around the stage with it. We have all seen cringe worthy stuff like this on morning tv…the only problem is with the World Wide Web it lives on for eternity.

When you say something on a forum especially if your established people believe you. Thus its kind of important that what you say is factual…and truthful. Nuff said.

This of course doesn’t apply to my April 1st posts…..

Part 2 tomorrow!


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