For movie fans, a prop or costume from their favorite film is a memento that they can hold dear to their hearts. While many people can get their hands on a cheap replica of the prop, some are in search of the real deal and would love to add a piece of movie history to their home. Fortunately, they can do that with an online or live props auction.
Major movie studios like Disney, Warner Brothers, and Paramount have warehouses full of props that are used during filming. These props are stored, reused, or even taken home as souvenirs by employees. But it was only in the 1970s that movie studios started to realize that these items might actually be worth something. And so began the movie props auction craze.
Most props are created in multiples for practical reasons, but the rare and one-of-a-kind props tend to have hefty price tags. This is particularly true for the most iconic props that have become a symbol of their respective films. For example, the lightsaber from the 1977 film Star Wars sold at auction for $450,000. Likewise, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz became an instantly recognizable symbol for the film and continue to fascinate movie-goers to this day.
Despite their hefty price tags, some props find new life in other movies. For example, Uma Thurman’s Japanese Kill Bill sword was also used in Sin City and the same police spinner was re-used in Back to the Future II and Blade Runner. The same can be said for many costumes and weapons, with the severed head from Se7en re-used in Contagion and Gwyneth Paltrow’s body armor re-used for both the Firefly TV series and the Planet of the Apes movies.
An online or live props auction is an exhilarating and thrilling experience that is akin to gambling. As bids rise, the excitement level increases and so does the tension between the bidding parties. However, it is important to be well-prepared before attending a props auction.
In addition to having a good understanding of the market and knowing what types of items you are interested in, it is also important to have a budget and stick to it. This is especially important for those who are in the middle of a bidding war with another bidder. If you are unsure about how much you want to spend, talk to an auction house or other collectors in your area for advice.
In addition to online or live props auctions, some film studios offer guided tours of their prop warehouses and backlots for a fee. These tours are a great way to see some of the behind-the-scenes action and to maybe pick up a souvenir to take home. So, if you are an avid movie fan and would love to bring a piece of cinematic history into your home, be sure to check out an upcoming props auction. You never know, you might just end up with Han Solo’s blaster or Brad Pitt’s shield from Troy.