Valuable Star Wars collectibles

(above) Valuable Star Wars collectibles. (below) Rare 1939 Wizard of Oz poster.

Why do people collect movie memorabilia and what is it, exactly? Well, if it’s an item associated with a popular movie, it could be considered a collectible.

Classic movies like Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, and Star Trek offer action figures and other novelty items available in retail outlets for less ambitious collectors, including children. However, more determined collectors can find vintage movie memorabilia at garage sales and flea markets.

My Star Wars’ collection was huge. I remember finding my favorite action figure and recreating some of the most intense theatrical experiences I used to see on screen. The movie theater was a place I could escape to and forget all the trials of youth, if only for a couple hours.

Children today continue to seek out all the collectibles associated with their favorite movies just like they did 50 years ago. The force is strong with my movie collectibles and it may just be strong with you as well.

Some movies pique such an interest that entire collections are built around them. The films have hordes of fans eagerly seeking something new and exciting to add to a collection of vintage and more modern finds. The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars are examples of movies with an overabundance of memorabilia available on the auction block, retail shops and internet markets today.

Many movie stars themselves garner attention from enthusiastic collectors. Take a pop culture icon like Elvis, for example. Most anything vintage that bears his likeness will bring in a few extra bucks for the seller, especially originals from the 1950s and early 1960s.

Everything from a movie magazine featuring a favorite star to hair from his or her head can hold significant value. And these items don't necessarily have to be from big-name stars either.

As a fan of Boris Karloff, I would relish finding an old movie still of Frankenstein just as much as the Elvis collector would enjoy finding one of Blue Hawaii, which may not cost quite as much because of the overflow of Elvis memorabilia in the market.

Be selective when looking for movie memorabilia to add to your own collection, for it can be rather expensive. Try to focus on what you really like because no one can predict what will be of value in the future. Buy items you'll enjoy owning and displaying in your home because the most important rule in movie memorabilia collecting is to always go for quality rather than quantity. Look for items in pristine condition, since they'll hold their value.

You may not be buying for resale at the present, but the next time you or your children become interested in any movie collectibles, make sure to invest in quality merchandise as well as quality time enjoying the collectibles with loved ones.

— Contact Tom Helms with a question or an appraisal issue: or send your letter to 5525 N. 12th St., Phoenix, 85014.