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From costumes to newspapers and wall hangings to cars, the world of movie props and movie memorabilia is about as diverse as the industry itself. The collecting and selling of all things "big screen" is not only enjoyable for a collector wanting to gain a touch of nostalgia, but also a catalyst for good will when production companies and private collectors donate sales proceeds to charitable causes.
The word “prop” is short for “property,” and the first use of theatrical props dates as far back as ancient Greece. The dawn of filmmaking brought on large and tediously constructed film sets as well as costumes, weapons, and other movable items. Highly collectible now, some of the first movie props and movie memorabilia were given away, thrown out, and even buried after completion of filming. Recently, archeologists near Guadalupe, California uncovered a plaster sphinx from the 1923 film "The Ten Commandments." The set had been buried in the dunes.
For practical reasons, many props are created in multiples for movie sets and are untouched by actors themselves, making used props the most sought after. Regardless, many factors play a role in determining values, including a film’s age, popularity of actors, box office resurgence, and notable events.
Marilyn Monroe’s famous white dress from the movie, “The Seven Year Itch,” gathered $4.6 million at a Beverly Hills auction in June 2011
A “hero prop” is one personally used by an actor or in a movie. This prop type is highly detailed and functional, and is used in close-up filming
In 2005, a pair of ruby slippers from the original “Wizard of Oz” film was stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. There are only four known pairs in existence, and a $1 million reward exists for the whereabouts of the missing pair