Sunday, January 11, 2009

Daryle Lambert: Collectibles from days gone by

Thanks to Flicker

I don't know about you but here in Chicago you are limited on what you are going to do today. There is twelve inches of snow on the ground and it is colder than the look that my wife gives me when I am wrong. Fifty years ago on a cold Sunday afternoon many would turn to the movie theater but today with all the movies on television and pay-per-view, why go out in the cold? Yes, we are becoming stay at home couch potatoes!

The reason that I have decided to discuss movies and items associated with them today is that many of the collectibles of past years will soon only be a memory. With every passing day, the movie industry is changing the way it operates. Stars now are instant sensations and they don't have to go through many years as understudies like stars of the past. This means that few stars today will have a long history in the industry so the items associated with these instant stars won't last long. Who wouldn't like to have a signed picture of Humphrey Bogart or Greta Garbo. I can only dream of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin sending me their photograph with a personal message on it. Most of the stars today are just pretty faces with a little talent that hasn't been honed over many years like the stars of the past.

Why is this important you may ask? The reason it is important as far as collectibles are concerned is that the instant stars usually never establishes an identity or a following that will be there for years. To be remembered, it takes time and a audience that follows the star's career and can associate themselves with the person. Autographs, costumes, lobby cards and posters from the great movies of the past can sell today for unbelievable money. In fact, I remember the story of the person that bought the old movie house and found the walls had been filled with old posters of the movies shown at the theater. The article said that the owner would never have to work another day in his life. I love stories like that because it may be my time next, wouldn't that be fantastic?

Lets look at a few examples from Kovel's price guide. Charlton Heston's costume from Ben Hur could easily fetch $10,000, while a dress owned by Marilyn Monroe would begin at $15,000. Clothes worn by Elvis and the Beatles would start at $100,000 and go up from there, now those are some fancy rags. Kovel's usually lists items that could possibly be found by the average dealer, however, they seldom list the really expensive items that bring huge bucks at auction. These aren't out of the possibility of being found by you and you read every day where someone does hit the jackpot by discovering something that is mind boggling.

Almost everyone is acquainted with the values of movie posters but just in case, look at these prices. Creature from the Black Lagoon was produced in 1954 and its poster is listed at $7,000 but I believe that at the right auction it could bring many times that amount. The same could also be said of a poster from the movie Dangerous with Betty Davis from 1936 listed near $10,000 but I think I would be tempted buy it up to $20,000. There are many more examples where posters bring $100,000 or more but what I am getting at is that movie memorabilia is eagerly sought after by the collector so be sure to keep these items on your radar screen.

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