In a Digital age where practical sets, props and even costumes (see Green Lantern) are inevitably becoming redundant, the demand for ephemera of the old school grows more intense. As repeatedly highlighted on this blog, surviving examples of production material (otherwise destined for the skip) from your favourite Movie have steadily emerged as unique and very expensive collectables in an increasingly competitive market.
One of the original vendors allowing you a chance to own a piece of Cinema history is Christies, where their ‘Film & Entertainment’ auctions give access to some unprecedented material long thought lost. Indeed, their glossy, full-colour catalogues became collectables in their own right with their lavish descriptions and accompanying photographs. In these pages you could find everything from Charlie Chaplin’s Bowler Hat & Cane from ‘The Great Dictator’ to a Stormtrooper Helmet from the original ‘Star Wars’. Unsurprisingly, the Superman film series has also been well-represented over the last fifteen years with lots including everything from original costumes to signed photographs, often exceeding their high estimates.
Conversely, the digital age has also ushered in worldwide availability with the emergence of websites accommodating bidding from where you sit or better still ordering your coveted prop online without the competition. The greatest and most successful example of this has to be The Propstore Of London, whose staggering inventory provides both your average collector and your high-end archivist with most anything they may covet. Indeed there has never been a better time to invest and preserve your most precious movie memories, but at a price.
From the top; two-page article from Collectables magazine (click on the images for readable versions) chronicling the emergence of Super-props as Super-investment, a Christies catalogue with Superman on the cover (one of the lots inside including an FX flying model of Superman from Superman IV with an estimate of £800-£1200) and an ad for an upcoming auction featuring a Superman plaster model in flying pose…