I collect the weird and wacky. I also love collecting pieces affiliated with or used in a movie. Movie memorabilia! To some, that gun used by Han Solo was just a plastic toy. To me, it’s collectible!

My favorite contemporary movies like Star Wars, Transformers and Universal Studios monster movies such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman offer action figures and other novelty items available in retail outlets for less ambitious collectors, including children. However, there’s a little extra boost that comes with searching for a few vintage items featuring your favorite stars and movies of the glorious past at garage sales and flea markets. 

As a kid, my Star Wars collection was huge! I remember finding my favorite action figure and recreating—usually in the bathtub or in my mom’s garden after a fresh Minnesota rainfall—some of the most intense theatrical experiences that I had seen on the screen. The movie theater was a place I could escape to and forget all the trials of youth, even if for only a couple of hours. Now, children seek out all the collectibles associated with their favorite movies just like children did 50 years ago. The force is strong with my world of movie collectibles, and it may be just as 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 which includes vintage and more modern finds. The Wizard of Oz, Marvel Comics superheroes, and Star Wars are wonderful examples of franchises with an overabundance of memorabilia available on the auction block, retail shops and internet markets today. Asking prices can range from minimal to outrageous. 

Any items featuring movie stars can garner attention from enthusiastic collectors as well. 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 original items from the 1950s and early 1960s. Everything from a movie magazine featuring a favorite star to a single hair from his or her head can hold significant value. And these items don’t necessarily have to feature 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. Actually, Elvis may be cheaper because of the overflow of items on the market. 

My advice to movie memorabilia collectors is to be selective when looking for items to add to a collection, because collecting can get expensive. Focus on pieces you really enjoy. Buy items you’ll enjoy owning and displaying in your home, because the most important role 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.  

— Do you have an appraisal question? Email us at editor@arcadianews.com. We look forward to hearing from you.