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.

Review of the Theme Park Connection auction March 2015

Wow…..Around 3 short weeks from conception to realization. How many of you out their got that?

Now whilst there were a few bumps in the road the sheer fact that an auction was pulled off in such a short amount of time with nearly 200 bidders from Spain, UK, USA, Germany, Ireland and more, some 400 items all authenticated and photographed and with detailed listings. I would think anyone would tip their hat to that.

Having run several conventions for charity in London and the UK in the early 1990’s that took some 6 months of organization so its just really cool that Brian and Paul pulled this off with their teams help.

So….how did things go.

Well surprisingly some big bidders turned out.

The Superman costume sold for $30,800 including premium which pleased the seller.

21756536_1The Abyss helmet sold for $16,500 with premium.

image(5)The Freddy Kruger mask sold for $4,400. Amazing for a stunt mask.

21795839_1My favorite piece the Bane costume sold for $3,300 and the Beaver puppet for $2750. All these prices I believe are around what they would have gotten in Premiereprops or Screenused events.

So what were some of the comments made about the sale by various people. Here are some of them:

“really impressed with what you guys pulled together in such a short time. Amazing”

“The Auction seemed go  really smoothly.. Super Congrats to you guys!”

“Congrats for the auction guys …. as Paulie said, incredible for the short time to push it up.

“I saw no issues with the bidding platform, and unlike other auctions no prices being played with…i.e. no raising up bidders artificially. Awesome.”

“Fun auction guys, I got a cool piece i can’t wait to get”

“The no audio was annoying but everything else went smooth and pretty quick which us always good. The i collector software is cool too in that it shows the bidders location so you get a rough insight into who it could be from on here!”

“Little bit too long…and a lot of unsold items…you need someone talking about the props”

So lets address these.

First up this was the VERY first event done by Theme Park Connection. It was put together very quickly. It was a learning process. I’m sure Brian would agree with that. The plus marks are that its much easier to know next time what people are looking for, and to not carry those items they are not.

The big issue though from my perspective was premiereprops having a sale the same day, pretty much splitting the audience but also this last month has had the following:

VIP Chappie auctions, VIP Hot tub auctions, Enders game 2 week auction event, Juliens spring auction, Screenused,com March auction, Bonhams LA, Blacksparrow scifi auction…and Laika a few weeks before that in February.

I think you will agree that would empty anybodies pocket book. That and its tax time.

So yeah it was too much. Im not surprised that there were more than usual unsolds BUT next time will be hopefully not surrounded by competition from EVERY angle. Talk about the Alamo!

So what else was commented on above. People have asked for a commentator or auctioneer. Its been mentioned 3-4 times so far so I know TPC is looking into that.

Slightly shorter sale. Well that equals 6.5 hours for 388 items which is 1.02 minutes per item. That’s actually very good…but the number of items is probably too many. Either that or an aim of 45 seconds per item.

Too many auctions. See above.

Couldn’t get my consignment in. Well it was very busy over there last week and things may have slipped thru the crack. Try them again and give the benefit of the doubt. Most auction houses won’t take anything 1.5 months before the sale….let alone a week before.

So there you have it. Now once the items are in peoples hands and seller paid this is closed out and on to the next. So. from my perspective so far a complete success.

I want to thank all of you out there who were positive towards the event. Being on the sides and unofficially advertising it thru social media and the forums was the very least I could do after being asked. I’m proud of what was done by everybody and even more pleased that you all pretty much responded positively to the effort.

Thank you so much for keeping the faith and to Brian and Paul for asking me to join the party with my small efforts.

Until next time…..

Why Theme Park Connections auction is a big deal…..

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….and why I’m a little perturbed at a small percentage of the community right now.

So for some time I have been looking for an auction house to look after me.

Why?

Because I have had some REALLY negative experiences. I have to be honest….Im sure you all have. Look im not going to name people here. If you want scandal its not in this area….usually….but today definitely not.

With my first experiences in the 1990’s selling in the UK it was like pulling teeth to get yourself into an auction. When you did invariably nobody showed up to bid. It was so very niche. Only in 1994 did Planet Hollywood send out its buyers and occasionally entire auctions would be bought up with a guy and a clipboard vacuuming up the stuff. Then they disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived. Slowly but surely collecting stumbled and rose from niche into the mainstream as nerds became the new heroes of society….but this was A LONG TIME COMING.

Even today my argument is that their maybe 38,000 customers on propstores facebook page but only 1500-2000 of them maybe anything more than a one time customer or entered for a competition….so invariably your always bidding against the same people. The recent Enders Game auction kind of proved this with 215 people at the beginning of the auction and barely breaking 300 bidding numbers by the end.

So returning to my problem I needed an auction house to sell my stuff. Why? Because eBay sucks. Over the years its gone from a very reliable source of selling to pretty much getting 10-20 hits on an item, if your lucky. The days of seeing 100-200 are long gone for me. Their search algorithms seem to have not worked as well for some time, favoring big companies and totally not getting my items in front of customers. Now is this a problem for big companies like VIP auctions and Premiere props. No. People will always find those sales. For the small guy though buried in 2500 other items. Well….good luck.

But…you could argue..well you just don’t have good stuff….but 95% of everything I have ever wanted to sell has sold eventually…may take 2 weeks….maybe 5 months….and not even on ebay but eventual it does. It boils down to finding the buyer, and then the price he wants to buy at. Seeing that amount is usually within 10% of my original asking…again that’s not the issue.

So my recent experiences have not been great either. One company took 4-6 months to pay on average….and that’s with something I hate to do…chasing them. When I offered to help them more…sadly nothing more came of that…even though I genuinely wanted to improve their standing in the community.

Then RRauction contacted me and although it was a promising start….one I tried to push and promote hard for them after the second sale the momentum withered and died. Im guessing not enough money in it for them.

Then I tried Bonhams. Disappointing because they put all their efforts into selling one item and the rest of the stuff was left to fend for itself.

I have to say I have been very happy with Screenused.com. They have paid quickly, done excellent with most items I have sent, and genuinely care about their customers. I had a couple of items not sell at auction that then went on their site afterwards. I have recommended them to many people BUT I just felt that their was a point where their auctions were diminishing with sell thru, and prices realized. I cannot and do not discount them at all.

I just felt that another voice in the smoke might not be a bad thing so when asked to contribute and help with the latest idea Brian at Theme Park connection had it was impossible to not want to help. His idea, make it cheaper, more convenient and better communication. In an internet connected world….why not?

So TPC’s idea was simple.

1: A flat 15% for sellers….10% for buyers.

2: To present stuff in best way possible. To have clear and not misleading descriptions.

3: To have the reserve as the opening bidding.

4: To price stuff fairly.

So basically based on that they have the cheapest commission, the descriptions are informative, well thought out and try not to overpromise, the reserve out of the box is clear, and there is cheap and more expensive stuff but at the end of the day priced to the market and what the owner wants. After all …its their stuff.

This and a lot of behind the scenes talking with members of the community to make sure that  that only production pieces made it for sale, and it wasn’t just stuff from an antique mall.

So…all this work in a few weeks…just because some people in the community wanted something a little better than what we had. That’s why when I read comments that’ seem a little spurious…well…it makes me upset. Even using comments that I made in the first place. So yes….there are items in the auction from more recently because people had to get lists of items together to sell quickly and at first it was a small seller pool. With a new venture people weren’t going to jump in at first with both feet. Yes it is a little rushed. Yes there was all that stuff with the first “hunger games” auctions going up rushed and misleading that WAS sorted out BUT since then I think they have done a great job of getting things ship shape.

They wouldn’t have been handed some of the biggest auctions yet to be announced this year…if they hadn’t.

So that’s why I am supporting Brian and Paul. Its up to you if you want to as well….but please think before you just spout stuff. Organizing an auction is ALOT of work….and now I have seen it first hand I see just how difficult, and its a worthy cause of keeping an open mind to have a new place to buy and sell stuff that is important to all. Most of the time something goes wrong it is just an accident, rather than thinking “they are out to get us!”. That’s something I have learnt over 5 years of writing “The Propstop”. An open mind and asking a question is always better than a closed one, and only expecting your own thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

A look at the best items in Theme Park Connections first Icollector.com event March 28th 2015

So with a little under the week I thought it would be a great time to go through some of the better items in the TPC auction this Saturday and go into a little more detail about them.

First up what is great about what TPC is trying to do with these sales?

In a world where other auction houses from Bonhams, Premiereprops (23%), Profiles in History (23%) etc are running
escalating amounts for the buyer having a 10% buyers premium has been unheard of for quite some time.

Also instead of taking just any old tat from antique stores and not doing the research TPC has worked with some of the longest running and newest collectors of today, but also heavily involved them with descriptions, picture taking and authentication.

TPC has worked hard on ebay with Disney to build up a sterling reputation, and have consistently met the demands of its bidders there, even though they are sometimes running 600-700 items a week on its memorabilia sales. Since selling items from Lionsgate with the first “Hunger Games” sale TPC has turned out to be a quick shipping, reliable, communicative company who after some baby steps has proven to its buyers and consignors they take props and wardrobe very seriously.

So with some 300 items currently up I asked some of the consignors for some stories, and for some information of some of their favorite pieces in the sale.

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First up is this complete Screenused flying rig Superman costume from the Bryan Singer movie. Seeing that one sold here in Profiles in History auction for $59,000 including the premium this is a steal. Due to the system TPC has in place the opening bid is the reserve, $28,000 it can be yours on a beautiful custom base.

Next up is this hero Chakram from “Xena” Warrior princess.

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Over the years I have seen these sell for huge amounts at conventions, but one sold at Profiles in History 2011 sale for $3500. At the charity events I remember one selling for $10,000 at the height of Lucy Lawless’s popularity. This is a beautiful one and framed for even greater impact.

For fans of Prop weapons, or Denzel Wahington two of his prop guns from “2 Guns” are available.

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This one comes with original propmasters photo from the production and was obtained from a stash of items from the movie found in a storage locker. This is one of the screenused pieces used by Denzel Washington and features the custom Texas grip handle seen in the film.

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Tom Hanks fans will not be disappointed with this original screenused jumper from “Castaway”. In the film Hanks (Chuck Nolan) is marooned on a desert island and crashed wearing this jumper in the ocean.

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Many props in the auction have an accompanying display or they are mounted. This is a beautiful example from
Tim Burtons “Big Eyes” of how a somewhat boring licence plate can suddenly become a beautiful present or an object to talk about in your office, or living room.

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Perhaps one of the most talked about pieces in the sale is this relic from James Cameron’s “The Abyss”, a very rare Deep Sea helmet, backpack and chestpack which has never come to sale before. This amazing piece of art is expected to sell between $15-20k but was recently discovered in a storage vault in Los Angeles, California.

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Although missing a few detail pieces it is in amazing condition and this particular piece has been unseen since 1988.

Enders Game Propstore week 1 results, who won what etc.

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So now I have the whole spreadsheet you can see the results of week ones Flash suits and gun sales.

Well as usual….Im not sure people thought with their brains. Loads of people got into bidding battles and the spreadsheet pretty much shoes that everyone who got a suit didn’t bid again. As new bidders came in….they pretty much bid up the ones who hadn’t won anything.

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so far bidder 238 has won the Salamander Petra stunt outfit for $925 (Lot 132), lot 161 an incomplete flash suit for $270 and then was the underbidder on Lot 94, 142, 152, 159, and 196. Someone give this guy a break so he can stop bidding people up!

Anyway break down the numbers yourself. The pattern is really interesting and shows the golden rule. There is no one who wins bigger at an auction than the auctioneer…especially if two people duke it out instead of being smart and letting it go…and going for the next one.

The Propstore Enders game auction: Current results & how to bid

Hmm…so this is a great auction to be able to talk about qty versus buyers and more importantly not to overpay for something.

First up Propstore has done a great job of taking pictures, making accurate descriptions, and generally laying out the auction in a clean and easy to understand way.

I must admit that I hadn’t really been on the receiving end of the “extendo-auction” as I call it. Now I see it in play its VERY annoying. Every bidder waits until the last 10 seconds and then guesses where to place it, automatically extending it 2 minutes for each bidder. Since the previous bidder will increase his bid that ALSO extends it 2 minutes…meaning four minutes lost of your life.

Now the argument can be made at least you won’t be losing something out of choice, but what I have seen so far is some of the more laughable bidding wars in recent years, especially with 1 or 2 of the suits that just went into cloud cuckoo land. Why? Because there were always more on the way…and lo and behold we got 5 more in one day.

So whats the smart move? Well frankly from this point on anybody spending more than $1000 on a suit isn’t doing themselves any favor. Lets look at the hard numbers.

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This is my own specially made up spreadsheet to help me see any bidding patterns and generally compare and contrast items.

Why are some of the areas blank? Well as Brandon at Propstore said they are having troubles with the program so unfortunately unless you bid or wishlist the item you cannot return to get finishing bids or sales amount. If you have that info on anything missing please let me know and I can correct the spreadsheet.

As you can see from Lot 42 the ASA launchie suit all hell broke out between 2 bidders at around the 3k mark and both sat their and “launched” it up to $7100. This was very silly as the current auction still has another similar costume for Ender at lot 152, and a stunt at Lot 256. Do you think the winner of the $7100 will be bidding? Not likely meaning that the second costume could come in the $2000-3000 mark, unless new blood enters the auction. Right now with 269 or so bidders seemingly registered (you can see the bid numbers on the bidding screen representing your name when you bid with a star next to it) and around 50 more suits to go…well you get the picture.

Look its not my business to tell you how to spend your money. The Propstops mission when it was set up was no advertising, and be fair and honest. But it was also set up to educate, and to help people so if this information helps you be a better bidder and get one of these at a fair price….more’s the power to you.

So…what is a fair price. Well quite a few of the suits have stunt rigging in them..some more obvious than others. Some have no helmets. Some are early test suits made and unfinished. Some have guns.

Bernard stunt suit with holes in legs

Bernard stunt suit with holes in legs

If you just want a background costume I think the prices will stabilise around $800-900. This is a fair price.

If you want a stunt main character I would argue that they aren’t worth anymore as they aren’t starworn. A main character piece will be around the $1000-1200 mark but again you have to look inside the costume. The following piece lot 152 is marked as Asa Butterfield on the heading but the actual costume pictures are marked stunt Ender Alicia. Only the helmet and yellow pad pieces are hero. So really its not really a total hero….but its not a zero either.

Since the guns are selling for around $300-400 for stunt and $800-1000 for resin pistols again this may help you decide….but if you don’t need a gun then the best way to go is not to buy a helmet separately but buy the full costume. Today a helmet alone sold for $1150….the cheapest complete costume of the day $725 with the helmet.

Buy smart readers and you will have wonderful customer service from Propstore, and you won’t be mad at spending $1500 when you could have gotten something else for a little over half that.

Your only enemy in this sale is thinking you have to get this suit…when you have plenty more behind it. Worry about overpaying on the final two days of the auction, if you were silly enough to wait that long. The minute you get into a bidding war with someone you are the one at the disadvantage. Remember I very much doubt people will be displaying one of each color in their living room. Once the bidders are out of the equation typically the law of supply and demand kicks in. As we can see today…..it definately has started so why reignite a flame proceeding downwards.

We will update this story as the auction progresses.

For more information on the helmets from the film see here: http://www.robertdraws.com/enders-game-helment

“Live & let die” Shark gun pellet & fin.



Hot on the heels of our shark fin find from Roger Moore’s first film comes this truly beautiful little prop from “live and let die”

Obtained from the shark sequence director of the production it was presented to him by Derek Meddings who both worked on the aborted scene involving an animatronic rubber shark which refused to act and looked in the words of Bill the shark expert on set “awful”. 

The original script as a pre-cursor to the same thing happening to Dr Kananga called for Roger Moore to stuff the shark bullet into the attack sharks mouth and it would swim off and explode. When the scene didn’t work, the expanding shark belly looking more funny than deadly, the “Sofa” explosion was used instead to explain the compressed co2 bullet. 



Kananga’s explosion puppet



When Meddings left the usa he gave the bullet and shark to the now owner who would keep them as momentos and a few years later used the fin on his Shark movie which he directed. 



Derek Meddings on set



Kananga as played by Yaphet Koto plays around with one of these bullets for literally his whole end scene, constantly playing with it in his fingers. It’s rather satisfying that his demise comes at his foolishness at leaving it within magnetic watch range.



This little metal work of art is so beautifully crafted on a lathe I presume. There are a couple of little tells in it which I shall keep to myself but the hole in the top is one of the more obvious ones that can be seen on the screencap.

This hole could have been decorative but I suspect in a seen when the metal bullet is magnetized off the table this is where the fishing wire was attatched IF that is how the Vfx shot was achieved.

I want to thank Ms Geffe for her fast shipping and Mr Geffe for the incredibly detailed and notorized COA which was recieved with these items.

Obviously Bond props have gone silly at the market place in recent years. In 2012 at the Christies sale the Solex from “Golden gun” went for over $90k and the shuttle from Moonraker for over $100k. I truly am very honoured to have been sold this piece considering how rare really good items from the films have been to locate.



“2 Guns” prop bonanza shows that storage auctions can be a gold mine



Not necessarily a movie I set out to see in theaters I thoroughly enjoyed it on my first viewing, after I had already purchased most of the key props from it.

Thanks to my ever vigilant brother he had seen the sale and contacted me so after talking to the seller it appears he had won it at a California storage unit sale. These sales are for storage units that remain unpaid for so the monthly dues are totaled and then the locker sold, the balance going to the owner and the storage location. In this case the entire contents of the locker housed the props from the Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg film. 

Some of my favorite items are personel to Denzel. His earing for instance shown below.



And his gold cross both played in gold.



But of course it’s his rubber gun that is a beautiful prop, and I have his gun from the beginning, middle and end.

First up his pistol from the bank heist





Next the Ruger revolver with Texas star handle.



And lastly the pistol from the end of the film shoot out.



I’ll have more props from this find in the coming weeks.