How to Start Collecting Movie Memorabilia

article by ron bowen

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Wednesday, Aug 04

If you’re a movie buff and you’d like to start collecting movie memorabilia, one thing is certain you will never run out of items to collect. Memorabilia related to movies includes everything from posters to statues and costumes to props, to name a few, but before you start collecting, it’s best to have a plan first. This way, you’ll be able to stay organized and know exactly what you’re searching for at all times. All of this is much easier than you think, and it’s best if you start, as they say, at the very beginning.

Determine What Your Budget Will Be

Unfortunately, nearly all of us have to stick to a budget, and before you rush out and start buying all types of movie items, you should sit down and determine what your budget is going to be. To be honest, movie memorabilia can be very expensive, so planning out your budget is crucial. If you at least have an idea of how much you’re going to spend each month, it will go a long way in helping you to not overspend or go completely overboard. Does that mean you’ll never spend more than you’d planned? Of course not, but it does mean the likelihood of overspending is greatly reduced.Movie Film_Image by Gerd Altmann

Before you spend even one penny on your memorabilia, it’s best to do some research on what each item will cost. Don’t buy movie memorabilia on impulse. You’ll want to research the items ahead of time so you can learn what’s a fair price and what isn’t. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find out what similar items sold for in the past. Once you do that, you’ll know what constitutes a fair price and you’ll even have a little room to haggle with the seller in certain situations.

While collecting movie memorabilia isn’t inexpensive, you can do your part to pay a fair price for the items you find by knowing ahead of time what they’re worth. You should also learn ways to make it less expensive; for instance, finding props and other items related to a particular movie is usually less expensive and easier when you look for them immediately after the movie is released. Tips like this can save you a lot of money and can even help you get these items for practically nothing, which means you won’t have to break the bank to get the memorabilia you love.

Find the Right Sellers

When you’re collecting movie memorabilia, one of the first things you’ll learn is that there are always people out there who want to scam you. But while it can be tricky to find a legitimate seller, it’s much easier if you do your due diligence and research the reputation of these companies, which is now easy to do thanks to the Internet. You can always start with companies such as eBay and by going to the websites of various movie studios, which often have information on this type of collecting and can therefore help you get started.ET_Image by Mikes-Photography

The companies that sell authentic memorabilia will go out of their way to prove that the pieces are legit. Most of them will provide some type of certificate that proves the authenticity of the item, and this usually includes how many pieces are in the collection and other information that proves the company is on the up-and-up. One of the things you can do is contact the seller with any questions you have. The way the seller responds can tell you a lot about that person or company’s honesty and reputation. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable about the seller, they are likely not legitimate.

If you do decide to haggle about the price, don’t push too far. You want the seller to know you’re a legitimate and interested buyer, and they may think you’re the dishonest one and may even decide not to deal with you in the future if you’re overly pushy. Always treat sellers the same way you wish to be treated, which usually means in a very professional way. It’s alright to ask questions and haggle a little; just don’t overdo it or you could ruin the entire transaction.

Decide How/Where to Store Your Collection

Before you bring home your first piece of movie memorabilia, you should have already decided how and where to store your collectibles. Collectors have used display cases, shadow boxes, and many other items to store their collectible items. Another important tip is to know what the item is made of and learn how to best protect it so that it will last. If you buy some sort of toy or small statue, it might be best if you leave it in its original box. Research the items to determine how to best care for them so they’ll stay in excellent condition for many years to come.Harry Potter_Image by tookapic

You can also get very creative when it comes to where you store these items. You can build shelves just for the collectibles and make it as fancy as you like. Do some research on websites such as Pinterest to get some ideas. You’ll likely be very surprised by what is out there. The important thing is to make the storage space your own, even if all you do is make something out of items you bought at a hobby store. If you put your thinking cap on, you can think up some very unique ways to store your collectibles.

Props Don’t Have to Be Expensive

When you’re interested in finding props for your collection, a few things should be kept in mind. First of all, while some of these props are original and an item they only made one of, the studio usually makes numerous copies of other props. For instance, if you’ve ever seen a movie that showed a scene where a gun was dropped or kicked out of someone’s hand, that “gun” was very likely a rubber stun gun. These types of replicas are always much less expensive than items that were only made once. If you’re interested in the “guns” used in a movie, for example, these and the ones used by extras in the film will always be less expensive than the one used by the main character.Batmobile_Image by geri cleveland

A “hero” prop, that is, a prop used by the main character in the movie, can be very expensive, especially if the film was a huge success. When you add this to the fact that there are simply more replicas used in a film than there are hero props, it can explain why the replicas might be your best bet if you’re interested in collecting props for a certain movie. You should also keep in mind that most movies use dozens of props in the making of a film, so don’t get caught up on trying to find just one certain prop but ignoring all the other props used on the set. A prop is a prop, and if it’s coming from your favorite movie, you should be happy to have it in your collection.

What Should You Collect?

While many collectors will search for any item that was used in their favorite movie, others concentrate on a particular type of collectible and collect that one item for all types of movies. Either of these options can provide you with some amazing and exciting collectibles in the end, and if you’re not sure which item you’d like to start with, here are a few suggestions:



Film posters

Film props

Glass slides

Industry magazines and publications

Press books and press kits


Promotional materials and items

Scripts or storyboards

Still photos

Just how valuable are these items? Let’s take a look at some of the real-life movie items that were sold at auctions and how much they cost the buyer. A pair of the ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz sold in 2000 for $666,000. In 2014, the piano played by the character of Sam in Casablanca sold for $2.9 million. Even the suit worn by John Travolta in the movie Saturday Night Fever sold for a whopping $145,500 in June of 1995.

Does this mean you’ll have to pay these types of prices if you start collecting movie memorabilia? Not unless the items mentioned here are the type of items you’re looking for. Still, the point is you can find just about anything you’re interested in when you want to start collecting memorabilia from your favorite movies, and you might be surprised at how many items are out there waiting to be purchased.


Collecting movie memorabilia is a lot of fun, and once you plan ahead of time how you’re going to do it, you’ll find even more options available to you when it comes to finding the items and how to show them off to your friends. The most important thing you can do is keep learning about this amazing hobby because this is the best way to increase the odds of finding the absolute best items in the end.




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