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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Sure looks that way.
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.