The role that film plays in society and the impact it has had on wider popular culture over the last century or so is almost possible to overstate. A rather telling example of this comes in the form of a study done by VisitBritain, which estimates that in 2001, approximately 20% of the 23 million visitors to the UK did so simply because of the way the country has been portrayed on television and film. If this isn’t enough to convince you of the indelible impact that the film industry has on our lives then you need to look no further than the rise in collection of movie memorabilia over the last 25 years or so.
What was once merely considered a hobby has now flourished into big business, partly due to the advancement of the internet and rise of e-commerce sites such as eBay. Nowadays, professional sellers and collectors mostly trade online and some of the most prominent pieces of movie memorabilia have sold for eye-watering amounts of money.
The ‘Batpod’ motorbike which was most recently used by Christian Bale’s Batman in The Dark Knight Rises sold for a whopping £312,000 ($405,624) back in September of 2016. The sale took place at the world famous Propstore in London and represents a record sale for a piece of memorabilia from any of Christopher Nolan’s widely acclaimed Batman reboots. The vehicles used by The Dark Knight have certainly proved to be popular over the years, with a Batmobile cockpit mock-up used in the 1991 movie Batman returns selling at auction for $49,995.
If you search the internet hard enough, you can find some of the original headgear worn by Stormtroopers from the original Star War films all those years ago but at around £60,000 per helmet, you’d probably need to wear it to bed to feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. If that isn’t mind-boggling enough, Luke Skywalker’s original light-sabre sold for $240,000 back in 2008 at a Los Angeles auction house, proving that people are still willing to pay top dollar to own a piece of film history.
With the original model of the Enterprise now residing at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the next most coveted piece of memorabilia from the Star Trek series is arguably Captain Kirk’s chair, which was rescued by a fan when the set was dismantled in 1969. It was sold at Profiles in History back in 2002, fetching a record price of $304,750 and to this day remains part of the Bob Justman collection where fans can view it alongside other classic Star Trek memorabilia if they so wish.
An Expensive Pastime
The figures quoted for some of the above items may seems extremely excessive but collectors of such rare and specialized memorabilia often view the practice as much more than just a hobby. The desire to own such unique pieces of film history is often highly nostalgia driven and gives people a platform with which to reminisce about some of more enjoyable times in their lives. After a collection equating to the value of around £1.5 million was recently seized from a criminal mastermind in a nuclear bunker, it goes to show that there are still plenty of items out there to be discovered and part of the thrill attached to collection such memorabilia is that you never know what’s about to become available on the market.