Some thoughts on collecting movie and tv props and wardrobe (Part 1)…..by me

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Recently a few things have come to light that I thought warranted my personal views being known.

Why? Well because supposedly I’m a “knowledgeable and well liked person and people like what I have to say”. That’s not my own paint brush I’m using…..that’s a quote (and I didn’t pay him off either).

Several things will be addressed here and they are my views. You may or may not agree…personally I don’t care but at least it may give you a little more insight on my mindset and also some of the issues one can have being a more “public” figure in any hobby. This may or may not result in you too wishing to out yourself and your collection to the masses….but something tells me it will have the opposite effect and explains a little of why some of the larger and more extravagant collections remain hidden from public view.

So first up as nice as people are, theirs very little thanks in being a news conduit. You get a lot of requests for help, some more nicely asked than others, and mostly just here negatives about “why didn’t you cover this?” First up I am a totally non for profit page so I don’t collect advertising revenues or expect it. I advertise then what I choose. If its in direct conflict with an auction I’m interested in or something I expect to bid on I am loathe to advertise it. This should neither come as a surprise….or offend anyone. If I charged people for that service of informing them…sure….I get that. At heart I am a collector thus I choose to collect over being a total news service.

I already hear the cries of conflict of interest but really. If you think that more the fool you.

Secondly in the past I have allied myself with several organizations and given them a lot of support with advertising, spreading the word and being a general cheerleader. This goes back to being asked nicely (1) and (2) believing in the organization or product. This has generally been disappointing to me. For every quality investment in my time like Screenused.com, I’ve had disappointments with “Premiereprops” very slow shipping years ago, which admittedly seems to have been fixed by the much faster turnaround times of the last six months to “RRauctions” basically taking the ball and running for two auctions then dumping the baby with the bathwater and ending their prop/wardrobe sales. To this I must unfortunately add VIP auctions (clarifying here by adding that I’m disappointed) to the mix simply because of the issue of selling items on ebay to non paying bidders in a quantity which I would say is extreme compared to other auction sites resulting in a general lack of trust from buyers who don’t know if they are being bid up by legitimate paying customers. (Again clarifying that I realize VIP isn’t doing this on purpose but their business is being influenced by outside forces and potentially ruining it for their rest of us)

Its sad because as I remarked to several people a quality auction company is what the whole market seems to be searching for when it comes time to sell their items…indeed auctions are becoming the accepted form of buying props and costumes. People want that little piece of paper and the auction catalog stating the item is authentic….sadly having still not realized that the prop is the end result of collecting and not a fancy hologram.

It would seem that there are plenty of auctions out there right now but the problem is a larger amount of fraudulent items entering the market thru some of these venues. Long time readers will know that Profiles had issues with how they worded items in the “Lost auction” but I’m talking about out and out wrongly identified stuff and worse, complete fabrications.

So now your going to ask me who are these charlatans…who are these thieves and they should be outed and mounted on the wall. Well guess what. That’s not my job either. As much as I want to save you all money out their with all the best of intentions, the bigger these companies are the more likely you will be sued for involving yourself in their business and rocking the boat. It doesn’t however mean it does not go unnoticed…or unrecorded.

I do find it incredibly frustrating because people on ebay buying these supposed celebrity worn bras, and underwear for hundreds of dollars deserve what they have coming to them. Its sheer stupidity backed up by an untarnished ebay record of perfect transactions from the seller. But proof of this is supposedly so hard to come by these sellers get off the hook. All I remember is in my first 15 years of collecting I maybe saw 2-3 pairs of so called celebrity underwear ever….and now the market is flooded with the equivalent of baseball bats signed by the 1990’s con artists. Yet, not a single comment I could find online about people realizing this is a problem? Does everybody out there REALLY believe all this stuff is hitting the market is real. Looking at peoples feedback on ebay it sure does look that way even though its a subset of the increasing problem outlined below.

http://www.originalprop.com/blog/2008/05/28/auction-depot-la-auction-shop-usa-global-antiques-the-lord-of-the-rings-and-big-lots/

http://www.originalprop.com/blog/2008/07/22/los-angeles-times-feature-on-global-antiques/

This of course isn’t the end of the rope. Now a new and clever method of selling items has started…..and getting more prevalent of going to the local charity store and buying clothing, antiques and nick nacks and placing them into auctions where they sell as background props from movies like “Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter” and “Game of thrones” or whatever else the clever seller can think up. Result? Their $5.00 investment sells for $50-100-even $200. The auctioneer of course takes their word for it and another piece of poorly authenticated garbage floods the market only to reappear years later. It is a travesty because talking to the Prop master on any of these productions would result in them laughing at you for even considering they would have used that item on their set.

Part 2 we look at the prices of props and the market that favors new movies and then drops it like a hot microphone.

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