Archive for the ‘Collecting’ Category

Be Careful

April 19, 2012

Kerry Haggard of Commerce, Georgia was sentenced recently to 6 ½ years in prison for selling fake movie posters as the real thing. He had a New York City printing company make copies of movie posters, such as The Mummy, Frankenstein, Murders in the Rue Morgue and others, he then sold them on Internet auction sites as  authentic movie posters. His scheme was eventually discovered and he was charged and sentenced. Still, many people were fooled by these posters and lost a good deal of money because of Haggard. So, I figured now would be a good time to post some tips to keep in mind if a movie poster purchase is in your future. Yes, I’ve written about this before, still it is a good idea to know what to look out for, so that you won’t be fooled.

Know What You Are Buying
Do as much research as you can on the poster you want to purchase. Google images of the poster and search for information about the movie in question. Sometimes the actors pictured or other features in the poster can increase or decrease the value. If you going to buy a movie poster from a movie that was made before 1980, you need to learn what the dominate sizes were, how many versions of the poster were used during the film’s initial release, whether the poster was rolled or folded, if it has a National Screen Service (NSS) number and so on. There are two websites that I want to mention that can help a collector learn about movie posters, one is Movie Poster Grading Company (http://www.mpgrading.com) and the other is the Learn About Movie Posters website(http://www.learnaboutmovieposters.com/).

The Movie Poster Grading Company was established so that movie posters can be authenticated with a tamper proof tag that lists identifying aspects of the poster such as the title, size, grading, history and other information. This website has a list of known fake movie posters. So, it is a good idea to check out this site before you buy a movie poster. The Learn About Movie Posters website has information about poster sizes, publicity photos and stills from movies, as well as information about preservation of the movie memorabilia and the different kinds of movie posters used in different countries. The more you know about movie posters, the less likely you are to be fooled by a fake.

Ask Questions Of The Seller
A reputable seller, whether online or bricks and mortar welcomes any and all questions, even the dumb ones. If you aren’t getting any answers, you don’t like the answers you are getting or you have a feeling that something isn’t right, don’t deal with the seller.

If A Deal Fell Through, Don’t Feel Bad
If for whatever reason, you weren’t able to get a particular movie poster and you still have your money, don’t feel too bad. If you couldn’t come to an agreement on price or other features, then it was for the best that you didn’t make that purchase. That isn’t to say that the other party was out to cheat you. Still, when making a purchase of an item like a movie poster, things should feel right. If they don’t, shake hands and walk away. Somehow you’ll get the movie poster of dreams. You just need to be patient and educated.

If Something Is Too Good…
Yes, it is cliché, yet true. If you find a Bride of Frankenstein movie poster at a flea market, more likely than not, it is a fake. If someone offers to sell you a Casablanca movie poster for $99.99, more likely than not, it is a fake. While technology helped someone like Haggard to produce a fake movie poster, educating yourself can go a long way in preventing you from being fooled by those who sell fakes.

Of course, my advice remains to not to purchase a movie poster for investment purposes, rather to purchase it for your own personal enjoyment. You can’t go wrong when you buy something that you like.

NOTE: I am not endorsing any company that authenticates movie posters, nor am I endorsing any website that has information about movie posters.  The websites and companies mentioned in this blog entry were listed for informational purposes only.

Sources:
http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=247420

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-11/frankensteins-fraudster-sentenced-to-6-dot-5-years-in-prison

http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20120412/NEWS/120419957/1008/sports?Title=-A-look-at-movie-posters

Movie Poster Grading Company http://www.mpgrading.com

Learn About Movie Posters http://www.learnaboutmovieposters.com/

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Metropolis for Sale

March 22, 2012

Would you believe that a German 3 sheet of Metropolis, the classic 1927 silent sci-fi film by director Fritz Lang is up for auction? Yes, it is true. It is being sold at Movie Poster Exchange.Com. You can click on the website name to go to the page where the poster is being sold. How much is it being sold for? Would you believe $850,000?

Darn, these things always have to go on sale before the Powerball hits $75 million. Kidding aside, I know, this entry seems more than a bit ironic considering last week’s entry dealt with not falling for the hype that surrounds the news of pop culture items being auctioned off for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The Metropolis auction shows another side of the issue. Namely, if you are going to buy a pop culture or movie related item with the hopes it will appreciate in value, you need to get something with a track record of increasing auction and sale prices.

Metropolis is a good example of this.  The last time a Metropolis poster when up for auction was 2005 and it sold for $690,000.  Before the 2005 auction, a Metropolis poster sold on eBay for $200,000. As you can see, Metropolis prices have gone up each time it sold. Yet, before you run off to buy a Metropolis movie poster, there are three important things you should know:

1)    These were original theatrical posters that were sold. Meaning that these were posters that hung in movie theaters and survived all these years.

2)    Metropolis is a very rare movie poster. There are only 4 known to exist.

3)    Don’t expect to find an original Metropolis movie poster at a flea market or in an older relative’s closet.

While Metropolis has a history of increasing sale prices, the only person who got this poster for a steal was the theater employee in 1927 who decided to take the poster home, instead of throwing it out, after the movie’s initial run. Think about, if a movie poster sells for $690,000 in 2005, wouldn’t it make sense that it would sell for more than that in 2012.  Yet, as great as it is that Metropolis has appreciated in value, it is important to note that movie posters that sell for six figures and up are out of reach of the average person.

“Well what about the movie posters from today’s films?” You must be asking. “They are available at a reasonable price. Won’t they sell for big bucks 20 years from now?” That’s hard to say. Case in point, the film Citizen Kane is considered one of the gems of American cinema and it is listed at number one on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 Movies list. When it was released in 1941, it bombed. Now imagine you are a teenage movie theater usher in 1941. The manager tells you to get rid of the movie poster for Citizen Kane because its run is over. You throw it out without thinking twice about it. Fast forward to 2006, a one-sheet movie poster (27 x 41 inches) for Citizen Kane sold at auction for $60,000. Who would have guessed in 1941 that a film that bombed would be so revered and its poster so valuable? The answer is few to none. So, don’t go picking up movie posters for Cowboys and Aliens thinking it will become the Citizen Kane of the 21st Century.

Still, if you like Cowboys and Aliens and get a movie poster from the film, don’t let the idea that you may not be able to trade it in for a mansion and a yacht take away from your enjoyment of the poster. After all, space and the American West are both frontiers, so it was only a matter of time before someone put them together. Too bad it didn’t do well in theaters. Also, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig are kind of cool looking. (But not as cool as Matt Damon!)

Sources:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/metropolis-poster-record-leonardo-dicaprio-298114

http://movieposterexchange.com/buy.php?mode=key_search&keyword=metropolis

http://www.afi.com/100Years/movies10.aspx

Heritage Magazine Fall 2008 “Remember When…1941” Pg. 8

Don’t Fall for the Hype

March 15, 2012

Recently, a comic book collection was sold at auction by Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Tx for $3.5 million. The collection was discovered by Michael Rorrer of Virginia. He was cleaning out his great aunt’s home when he found a collection of comic books from the 1930’s and 1940’s in a basement closet. Those comic books included:

  • Action Comics No. 1 from 1938, which features the debut of Superman. It sold for $299,000.  (Yes, the Holy Grail of comic books. Many experts feel that there are only 100 Action Comics No. 1 still in existence out of the 200,000 that were printed.)
  • Detective Comics No. 27 from 1939, which features the debut of Batman. It sold for $523,000.
  • Captain America No. 2 from 1941, which features a frightened Hitler on the cover. It sold for $114,000.

Before you start volunteering to clean out the homes of older relatives, it is important to note how lucky Rorrer is. Comic books from that era were throwaway items. They were printed on newsprint, so they were subject to wear and tear. They were also shared among friends, thrown out by Moms and collected as a part of wartime paper drives. Yet, the comic books in this collection survived all these years in good condition—good enough to get the prices in the hundreds of thousands range.

In addition, there are many comic books that aren’t that valuable. Yes, this collection featured Action Comics No. 1 and Detective Comics No. 27 two of the most valuable comic books out there.  What if the comic book collection contained Richie Rich or Casper The Friendly Ghost comics? One website sells Richie Rich comic books from the 1960’s for between $1.25 to $20.00. As for Casper, another website states that issue #60 from September 1952 sells for between $150.00 and $200.00. You can’t make enough money to quit your job by selling old Richie Rich or Casper comic books.

Which leads to this, it is great that Rorrer found the old comic books in his great aunt’s home, most of us won’t be that fortunate. Not every old item has value. Also, there are a lot reproductions out there. Taking Superman as an example, in 1974 DC Comics published an oversized exact reproduction of Action Comics No. 1. As you can guess, that comic book isn’t as worth as much as the original.

So, be happy for Rorrer that he found the comic books and made as much money as he did from them. Yet, don’t start seeing dollar signs when an old relative asks for your help clearing out stuff when he or she decides to move to a smaller home.

Sources:
http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/unplugged/childhood-comic-collection-expected-fetch-2m-200923607.html

http://www.nostalgiazone.com/doc/collector_titles/RICHIE_RICH.html

http://www.antiqueweb.com/articles/comicbooks.html

Now I’ve Seen Everything (Up To This Point)

February 23, 2012

As always, the Internet has proved to be a great source for my blog. So, will I write about an upcoming auction of a Little Caesar movie poster that will take place in Texas during the month of March, 2012? (There are only two posters from this film known to exist and this is one of them.)

No.

Will I write about an auction that took place on February 9-11, 2012 that included The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 comic book from 1963. The comic book was rated as an 8.5 (10 is the considered best) and sold for $23,400.00

No.

So, what will I write about? Hair, namely celebrity hair. Believe it or not, I learned that that Paul Frasier Collectibles in England is selling strands of hair from celebrities such as Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, even Justin Bieber, just to name a few. Most of the strands sell for £49.95 ($78.69 USD), yet one strand sells for £149.95  ($236.24 USD) and a collection of hair, not just a few strands, sells for £35,000 ($55,142.51 USD).

Wow, some people will buy anything and more power to Paul Fraser for making a profit out of the hair. The thing is, what is someone going to do with a strand of hair? Clone the celebrity once it is possible to create a human being hair or tissue samples? Put it in a display case to astound friends and confuse enemies? I can see the point of buying a piece of clothing or jewelry that a celebrity owned, even a movie prop. They are things that are either pleasing to the eye or artfully rendered and, in the case of clothes and jewelry, they can be worn. You can’t wear a strand of hair.

Also, what about the case of celebrities that didn’t have children and any parents and siblings have since died. How can it be proven that the hair is really theirs? Do you call up relatives and a say “Excuse me, we have a strand of hair that may be from your cousin, Marilyn Monroe. Can you please give us a DNA sample, so that we can prove that the hair is really hers?” Personally, if there was a famous person in my family and his or her hair were to be auctioned off, I would charge for having to give a DNA sample. How much would I charge? Whatever the going price for the hair is, that is how much my DNA is worth.

I must say that having a strand of hair from a celebrity, especially a dead one, is creepy. No matter how tastefully the hair is displayed, it still came from a human being. It’s like displaying a skull or a jar with an eyeball floating in formaldehyde. As wonderful as the human body is, and it is, the body looks better and is less creepy when the parts aren’t disassembled and scattered hither and thither.

Then there’s the question of how the hair was acquired in the first place? In the case of Justin Bieber, it was acquired when he cut it on The Ellen Show. How did people get a hold of the hair of Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe? Did a maid save some strands after Taylor or Monroe washed their hair? Did a beautician put a collection in a jar after a cut and styling session? Elvis’ barber did something like that and his collection of The King’s hair sold at auction for $33,657 in April 2003.

I guess this is just a case of there are people in the world with more dollars than sense. Yes, a person is entitled to spend his or her money as he or she sees fit and if that person wants a strand of Elizabeth Taylor, and can afford it, then fine, spend your money on Liz’s hair.  Yet, all the money in the world doesn’t take away the creep factor.

Sources:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/‘Little-Caesar’-movie-poster-–-‘holy-grail’-of-gangster-films-–-auctions-in-Texas/9781.page?catid=78

http://www.morphyauctions.com/auctions/article?id=195

http://morphyauctions.auctionflex.com/showlot.ap?co=31120&weid=21297&weiid=7787056&archive=n&keyword=Spider&lso=lotnumasc&pagenum=1&lang=En

http://store.paulfrasercollectibles.com/famous-hair-s/1830.htm

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter

MastroNet Inc., Americana Premier Catalog Auction, Lots 1-670. #583 “Enormous Quantiy of Hair From the Head of the “King” – Elvis – Saved by His Personal Barber”, pages 206-207. April 23, 2003.

http://www.kovels.com/201008258031/News-News-News/elvis-presley-hair-a-bargain.html

 

 

Most Pretty Items Have Little Value

December 1, 2011

Now that the holiday season is upon us and people are looking for gifts to buy for friends and family, I thought I would again write about the worth (or lack thereof) of many collectibles and what makes a collectible actually worth something. As much as I enjoy programs like the Antiques Roadshow and reading about toys that have become collectors’ items, not every toy or figurine will appreciate in value. That message seems to get lost in the glow of someone learning that their dumpster dived item is worth six figures.

Figurines
If you are of a certain age, you will remember seeing Hummel, Precious Moments and other porcelain figurines for sale in gift shops and department stores. Hummels are figurines based on the drawing of German nun, Maria Innocentia Hummel and Precious Moments started as greeting cards drawn by American artist, Sam Butcher and later the line expanded to porcelain figurines. Lots of people bought both Hummels and Precious Moments in their heyday of the 1960’s and 1970’s with the hopes they would appreciate in value. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to Easy Street. Once the original owners of these items died, tastes changed, their children were stuck with these things that no one else wanted. Taking Hummels as an example, Louis Kahn of Bakerstowne Collectibles, an appraisal and consignment service located in West Hempstead, N.Y, states that most of them sell for $50 or less. At those prices, you can’t exactly trade in a Hummel for a mansion and a yacht.

Collector Plates and Thomas Kinkade Paintings
Yes, those items advertised in the Sunday magazines of countless newspapers across the country where for just three payment of $29.99 you can own a collectors’ plate featuring a scene from a Norman Rockwell illustration or an illuminated Thomas Kinkade painting. Again, the trouble with these items is that so many of them were made that the supply is greater than the demand. So, if you come across a collection of collector plates or Thomas Kinkade paintings and decide not buy them, don’t feel bad. You came out ahead of those who bought these things with the expectation of a return on investment.

The Other Side
“Wait a minute.” You must be saying now. “There have to be some collectibles that have appreciated in value or else there wouldn’t be things like Hummels and collectors plates.” Yes, there are collectibles that have appreciated in value, the one thing that they have in common is rarity. For example, when Kenner’s Star Wars action figures first came to market, the Luke Skywalker, Obi-Won and Darth Vader figures had a telescoping light sabers built in. Well the mechanism didn’t work all the time, so Kenner redid the line and took out the mechanism. Since so few of them hit the market, the action figures with the  telescoping light saber are now worth between $6,000 and $7,000. (Why do I have a feeling that there will be a run on Star Wars action figures with the telescoping light saber feature?) Of course, the notion of rarity leading to increased value makes sense. If diamonds were available as a prize in  cereal boxes, would they be worth so much? The same goes for collectibles. As pretty and well made as some of the collectibles mentioned are, that doesn’t mean that they will be worth lots of money 20 or 30 years later.

So, let this be a warning to be careful which doo-dads to buy. Better yet, don’t buy them in the first place. Just stick your money in the bank. Money in the bank will grow via compound interest*. The only thing many collectibles will accrue is dust.

*Compound interest is where interest in earned on the initial amount invested, also known as the principal, and on the interest, as well. For example, if you invest $100 for 3 years at 5 percent compound interest, at the end of 3 years you would have:

$100 (1 + 0.05)3 = $115.76

So, your investment would have earned $15.76 in interest in 3 years time.

Sources:
http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/113722/worthless-collectibles-street;_ylt=ArznWSSbLtYR5SvZ2bklXZE40tIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBzZDJsbjltBHBvcwM0BHNlYwNhcnRpY2xlRmluYWwEc2xrAzE-

http://www.preciousmoments.com/content.cfm/precious_moments_history_timeline

http://games.yahoo.com/photos/most-valuable-action-figures-1319569716-slideshow/most-valuable-action-figures-photo-1319574722.html

http://math.about.com/od/formulas/a/compound.htm

Don’t Blame Mom That You’re Not A Millionaire

October 13, 2011

A recent story in USA Today dealt with how people are turning to collectibles and antiques as investment vehicles. Since the stock market tanked in 2008 and has yet to fully recover, many people taking their money and buying old comic books, movie posters and similar items in the hope that they will get a better ROI* than their 401K**.

Of course, what sets a collectible apart is that it is an actual thing that people can hold in their hand or hang on their wall and admire. After all, when was the last time you looked at your quarterly statements and thought “What a thing of beauty all those numbers are.” Yet, the trouble with articles like the one in USA Today is that it encourages people to go out and buy lots of stuff in the hopes it will be “worth lots of money someday.” Yes, there are items for sale at thrift stores, flea markets and on eBay that are being sold for a faction of their true value. Conversely, there are items that are only worth what someone paid for them in 1998 and it’s not even close enough to make a person quit his or her job and live a life of ease. With all this stuff floating around, how can a person tell what’s valuable and what’s not.

Educating yourself before buying anything helps. No one wants to learn the hard way that the original that they paid $$$$ for is a fake worth $. Read books. Go online and find out the going price for the item in question. Terapeak.com is a website where a person can learn how much an item sells for on eBay. If the item a person wants to buy is more expensive than a Beanie Baby or Power Ranger action figure, it helps to buy from an established auction house. The appraisers at the auction house did their due diligence, so a person can rest easy knowing that the item he or she wants to buy is the real thing.

It also helps to realize that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. The Internet makes it very easy for fly by night types to fly by and take your money. So, it is a good idea for a person not to suspend his or her skepticism just because a good deal comes along. Of course, despite what experts will say, my advice remains to purchase a movie poster or other item of pop culture for enjoyment purposes, not for investment purposes. In addition to all the fakes being sold as the real thing, there’s the problem of no one knowing which item from 2011 will be worth lots of money and which item won’t be worth much.

As for all the comic books your Mom threw out that turned out to be worth lots of money, don’t get mad at her. If you had taken better care of them and not left them lying around on the floor in your room, she would not have thrown them out. In time, you could have sold them for a pretty penny (and dollar too) and ended up living a life of ease. Okay not really, I was just exaggerating. Still, if you take care of your comic books or other doo-dads, you will get more enjoyment out of them and that’s something even a recession can’t take away.

Note: The mention of Terapeak.com was done for informational purposes. It was not an endorsement of the service.

*ROI—Return on investment. For example if you buy a stock at $10 a share and you later sell it for $15 a share, your ROI was $5 a share.

**401K—This is a defined contribution plan set up by companies in the U.S. in place of a pension where an employee can have a portion of his or her pay set aside for retirement before taxes are taken out. Sometimes companies can match the employee’s contribution dollar for dollar. What makes the 401K attractive is that if an employee goes to another company, he or she can bring the 401K to the new company and he or she loses nothing. Pensions don’t have that portability. (/www.investorwords.com/11/401k_plan.html)

Sources:
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/waggon/story/2011-09-01/Gold-in-the-attic-Furniture-coins-and-hellip-Ninja-Turtles/50224150/1

Hunter, Lisa. “Author Q & A Internet has Broadened the Art and Collectibles Market for the Better” Heritage Magazine, Spring 2008, pg 68-69

A DeLorean and Loads of 3.75 Inch Action Figures, Just To Name A Few

October 6, 2011

Paul Fraser of Paul Fraser Collectibles recently wrote on his website about two auctions of movie memorabilia. One auction is for one of Deloreans used in the Back to the Future films. (Seven cars were used in the films and of those only three are still around.) While an auction estimate for the car has been set for $400,000-600,000, it will most likely to hit the low end of the estimate. In November 2010 a DeLorean replica sold for only $112,920. A portion of the proceeds from this auction will go to Parkinson’s Disease charities.

The other auction Paul Fraser wrote about will take place on eBay and the items being auctioned off are Star Wars memorabilia from all six films. These items range from screen used items like Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter from the 1977 Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope to loads of Star Wars 3.75 inch action figures, and other pieces of Star Wars memorabilia. All the proceeds from this auction will go to Stand Up To Cancer for its work in cutting edge cancer research.

Still, the question remains what is it about movie memorabilia that causes people to flock to auctions, flea markets and eBay? While I could wax poetic about childhood and teen memories that many of these items helped to create and I did in my entry of November 5, 2009 titled Flea Market Finds and Miscellaneous Discoveries. There’s more to this phenomena, such as the “Looky at the new toy that I got.” factor that hasn’t been explored. There are loads of people out there who would love nothing more than to own something that is related to their favorite movie and brag about it. The most famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) of memorabilia collectors are Star Wars and Star Trek fans.  I entered the words “Star Wars” and “Star Trek”  in  eBay’s search box and it came up with 300,929 results for Star Wars and 120,920 results for Star Trek. Yes, there a lot of action figures, models and other do-dads out there just waiting to be bought by fanboys and girls. Which of course, leads to the Bill Gates factor as in “Be nice to the nerd, because that person could be your boss one day.” Many movie memorabilia items sell for four figures and up. Nerds, while they aren’t known for their winsome personalities, are known to have a singular focus on something. It is this singular focus that leads to them starting their own businesses and they end up doing very well financially.  So, when they get large amounts of discretionary income, what do you think they will spend it on? If you answered movie memorabilia, you are right.

So, the next time you scoff at someone spending thousands of dollars for a car or model used in a movie, consider this:  For all you know, it could have been that kid you knew growing up who wore the pocket protector and thick glasses and is now a multi-billionare who just happens to be your boss.

Sources:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/Video-of-the-Week-Marty-McFly’s-DeLorean-could-arrive-at-auction-in-the-near-future/8185.page?catid=78

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/News/MEMORABILIA/’A-Force-for-good’…-eBay-prepares-massive-charity-Star-Wars-auction/8157.page?catid=78

Yes, Its Art

April 28, 2011

An article in April 15th The Standard of Hong Kong lead to this blog entry. I’m sure many of you have heard of the late 19th century French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. How many of you know that Toulouse-Lautrec got his start by painting advertising posters for the famous Parisian nightclub Moulin Rouge?  Many of you know of  the mid 20th Century American artist Andy Warhol and his portraits of famous actors and those Campbell’s soup cans, yet how many know that Warhol got his start as a commercial artist in the 1950’s and his works appeared in Glamour Magazine and in ads for Schiaparelli gloves?

What’s the point of this little art history lesson, you ask?  Simple, it’s that art isn’t just the stuff in museums. It is even in advertisements, such as those for a nightclub from 19th century France all the way to a movie poster from 21st century America. While the object of both kinds of advertisements is to get the viewer to part with his or her money, they  had to be visually appealing enough to make the viewer want to part with his or her money.

Which leads to another aspect of advertisements, namely they have a job to do. The most beautiful advertisement in the world doesn’t always lead to sales. For example, the first ad designed by David Ogilvy, the founder of the Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Agency and the author of Confessions of an Advertising Man and Ogilvy on Advertising was a flop. What was so bad about it? It was an ad for a cooking stove and he put in a picture of the Edouard Manet painting Luncheon on the Grass. Underneath the picture was copy about how new things shock people. Only towards the end of the copy was the cooking stove mentioned. What does a painting and shocking people have to with a cooking stove? Nothing and it was only after the ad ran did Ogilvy realize that fact. Well, so much for being creative.

The article in The Standard stated that advertisements are accidental art and I disagree. It took a talented artist to create these items, be it a poster for a nightclub or a movie poster. They had bring together both art and business to create something that makes money and that’s no accident. When it works, the client and artist are very happy. When it doesn’t, as in the case of Ogilvy’s Luncheon on the Grass ad, the artist either ends up with something that has the client scratching his or her head or the artist ends up unemployed.

Shock, entice, or befuddle, a good ad, like the good piece of art that it is, is never boring.

Sources:
http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=12&art_id=110171&sid=32037230&con_type=3&d_str=20110415&fc=7

http://www.warhol.org/ArtCollections.aspx?id=1673

http://www.warhol.org/ArtCollections.aspx?id=1758

Ogilvy, David. Ogilvy on Advertising,  First Vintage Books, March 1985, pg. 25

Most Often Its Insignificant Yesterday and Today

April 7, 2011

An article in the Paul Fraser Collectibles website mentions how a dress made by Charlotte Todd sold for £78,000 or over $124,000. Who is Charlotte Todd, you ask? She is a friend of Kate Middleton, the fiancé of Prince William. Todd made this dress that Kate wore for a university fashion show and sold it at auction.

Well, it’s nice that the dress pulled in that kind of money. Yet, there’s more. An episode of the Antiques Roadshow featured someone with a Tiffany tea screen from the 1900’s. The appraiser on the show wasn’t sure if was a real Tiffany or a fake. If it was a real Tiffany, it would be worth $15,000 to $20,000. If it was a fake, it would only be worth $1,000.  Well, the owner contacted a Tiffany expert and it was proven to be a real Tiffany.

Thankfully for those two, their items proved to be worth something. The trouble comes when people hear about these stories and it encourages them to buy things in the hopes that “…it will be worth something one day.” There’s a lot of stuff (i.e. junk) being sold at flea markets, garage sales, thrift shops and the like. Just because something is old doesn’t necessarily mean it is “worth” something, as in enough money for me to quit my job and move to Florida.

If you are going to buy something with the hopes of it appreciating in value keep these things in mind:

Educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about the item you want to purchase. Find out the difference between a real and a fake/reproduction, what the signs of wear and age are and what the true going prices are.

If something is too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of fakes and fly-by-night sellers of collectibles. So, ask questions. If you don’t like the answers or aren’t getting any, don’t deal with the person.

My advice remains not to buy a collectible for investment value, rather to buy for enjoyment value.

Something to think about the next time you are browsing at a flea market.

Source:
http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/section.asp?catid=179&docid=6354

http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter/#from=GBP;to=USD;amt=78000

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/fts/dallas_200802A43.html

Where Have All the Memorabilia Shops Gone?

March 24, 2011

An article in the March 5 Los Angeles Times talks about Larry Edmunds Bookshop. This is a combination bookstore specializing in movie books and movie memorabilia shop located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. While pop culture is big business, the majority of the business is online and shops like Larry Edmunds are one of the few independent brick and mortar outposts in a sea of dot coms.

As you can expect, that got me thinking. While there is nothing wrong with buying a movie poster or other item online, there is something to be said for going to a memorabilia shop, looking around at the store, perusing the poster and photo files and finding an item that you always wanted and now have the opportunity to buy or finding an item that you didn’t know existed but like it enough to buy on the spot

In addition to being great places to spend an afternoon, the memorabilia shops have launched careers. The current owner of the Larry Edmunds Bookshop, Jeff Mantor, worked at the store for 16 years before buying it from the previous owners, husband and wife Milt and Git Luboviski in 1996. Movie historian and author Leonard Maltin, got his start by visiting memorabilia shops in the New York City area in the 1960’s and buying movie stills and publicity photos for between 25 and 50 cents. While selling childhood doo-dads on Internet auction sites got me started in selling movie posters, I enjoyed going to a collectibles and antique shop in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia and going through a photo album filled with vintage advertisements promoting products ranging from Spam™  to cigarettes (one such ad featured a picture of a doctor recommending Lucky Strikes cigarettes). That store is now gone and a bicycle shop is in its place and I’m willing to bet that the memorabilia shops that Maltin went to are gone as well, so that just leaves the Larry Edmunds Bookshop.

As great as the Internet is in locating and being a conduit for buying memorabilia and everything else, it’s doesn’t replace holding something in your hand and looking at it, in person. When you see something like an old movie poster or an old publicity photo in person, it is almost like going back in time when movies were the mass media and the place where our hopes and dreams where projected along with the images on the screen. The memorabilia shops aren’t just places of commerce, they are places that help to preserve a part of American pop culture. So the next time you happen upon a memorabilia shop, go inside and buy something. Not only will you be helping stores like Larry Edmunds Bookshop stay in business, you will also be keeping the awe in the memorabilia buying experience.

Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/books/la-et-movie-books-20110305,0,4762396.story

Cantu, Hector. “Hollywood Charms” Heritage Magazine Summer 2008, pgs. 46-51