Posts Tagged ‘1931’

Dracula’s Cape & Other Ephemera

November 10, 2011

There was a news item on the Internet regarding the decision of the Bela Lugosi family to auction off the cape he wore in the 1931 movie Dracula. Lugosi left the cape to his wife with the instructions that it be given to their son, Bela Lugosi, Jr. The cape will be auctioned by Profiles in History of Calabasas Hills, CA, along with other Lugosi items from December 15 to 17. The cape is expected to sell for $2 million.

Another item dealing with Hollywood ephemera is a Marilyn Monroe dress, specifically the white subway dress she wore in the film The Seven Year Itch. The dress sold at auction in June for $4.6 million. This dress was part of a collection of movie costumes that actress Debbie Reynolds collected during the course of her career in the hopes that they can be part of a museum of Hollywood history. Since the museum is still in the planning stages and it was becoming difficult for Reynolds to keep these costumes, the decision was made to sell the items at a series of auctions. The next auction from the Reynolds collection will take place on December 3 and again Profiles in History will be running the auction.

At the risk of sounding like a crank,  I feel these two items are grossly overpriced. Yes, Dracula was Lugosi’s signature role and yes, the white dress is the iconic image from The Seven Year Itch, yet I don’t feel that they are truly worth the prices quoted. While many items in the Debbie Reynolds’ auction sold for more than what was expected, there were other items that sold for more ‘reasonable’ prices. For example, Laurel and Hardy’s suits sold for $19,000 and Claudette Colbert’s gold-lame dress from the 1930s Cleopatra sold for only $49,000.  (Heck, I could almost afford those items.) The only explanation for the high prices for the Lugosi and Monroe items is that there are those who want these items so badly and price is not an object. It must be good to have THAT MUCH money.

In addition, these items belong in a museum dedicated to filmmaking. While plans were announced recently to have such a museum in a 300,000 square foot building in Los Angeles, things are still on the drawing board and no open date has been scheduled. This lead to Reynolds’ decision to sell the items. While the new owners were contacted regarding loaning the items for future exhibits, it would be good if the Academy would snap up items from the next Reynolds’ auction. Reynolds invested her time, money and energy to purchase and preserve these items for posterity, so it would be a fitting tribute to her efforts that the powers that be at the Academy would grab a film worn custom or two before some billionaire collector does. After all, they are going to need stuff for the museum and they can’t expect all the billionaire collectors to be willing to loan out a every villain’s or starlet’s costume, no matter how many prestige points it earns them.

Note: Any mention of auction houses or dealers of collectibles are mentioned for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken as an endorsement.

Sources:
http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=678662&silentchk=1&wa=wsignin1.0

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-19/entertainment/hollywood.auction_1_monroe-dress-bids-auction?_s=PM:SHOWBIZ

http://www.profilesinhistory.com/press-releases/debbie-reynolds-collection-part-2-auction-press-release

ROI From Hollywood Collectibles

September 29, 2010

Recently, I read on Moviematics.com that movie posters, particularly classic movie posters, can be good investments. I also read on Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com that said if a certain item is mentioned in or associated with a successful movie, the value of said item goes up.

Those articles got me thinking. After all, I’ve stated many times on this blog that I don’t recommend people buy movie posters or movie collectibles as investment vehicles, because no one knows which movies will become classics and which ones will be duds. So, I read the articles and found that the authors made good points about collecting with an eye towards return on investment.  Regarding movie posters, Moviematics.com mentions:

Rarity
Take the 1931 classic horror film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. There are only three original movie posters from that film in existence.  One of those posters recently sold on an online auction for over $300,000.  If there more than three Dracula posters, they wouldn’t command those kinds of prices.

The Movie Itself
Classic movies, like Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz have seen movie posters, props and costumes sell very well at auction.  Flops, like Krull* wouldn’t do very well in an auction.

Who Starred in the Movie
Movie posters featuring the likes Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, do well for two reasons. One, they are all dead, which is related to rarity. Two, they starred in classic films, which is related to the movie itself.

What about items associated with a movie?  What’s so great about them? Well according to Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com:

Valuable Before More Valuable After
Items associated with the H.M.S. Titanic were valuable before the film Titanic was released in 1997.  Subsequently, they went up in value after the film’s theatrical release.

Possible To Plan Ahead
A film about Margaret Thatcher is going to be made and reports state that none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent? Call…) is on board as the Iron Lady. That should renew interest in Thatcher’s political career and England in the 1980’s. Also, there will be two more Harry Potter movies scheduled for release and that should increase the value of things related to Harry Potter movies and series author J.K. Rowling.

My advice remains not to buy a movie poster or other collectible for investment value. Still, it never hurts to research what you plan to buy. After all, knowledge is power.

When it comes to investing, there are other investments vehicles out there and if you are interested in one of them, don’t ask me. Instead, consult a financial advisor as to which one is right for you.
Sources:

http://www.moviematics.com/2010/08/17/classic-movie-posters-a-great-investment/4004/

http://www.paulfrasercollectibles.com/section.asp?catid=73&docid=3826

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085811/


* Krull, released in 1983, is a movie about a world that is about to be invaded by aliens, and a prince and princess marry in order to unite their world and fight the enemy. The princess is kidnapped and prince goes on quest to find her. The film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Liam Neeson (yes that Liam Neeson)