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Tag Archive: props and costumes


The next auction of items from Marvel is quickly approaching.  The London and Los Angeles-based Prop Store, one of the five best sources for screen-used entertainment memorabilia, is readying for its next auction, only a month away, just releasing its catalog of items used by the cast and crew of Netflix’s short-lived but critically acclaimed spin through adaptations of Marvel characters for the small screen.  Will these lots sell remotely in the range of Profiles in History’s 2012 auction of Marvel Cinematic Universe costumes in props, which netted a high of just south of a quarter of a million dollars for a Chris Pine Captain America costume and shield?  Probably not, but some have some high starting estimated auction values.

Only covering three of the Marvel Television series, Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Luke Cage, and Marvel’s Iron Fist, you’ll find 893 items for sale that were featured in these TV series.  These are the actual props and costumes, worn or handled by either the actors or their stand-ins or stunt people, including what amounts to some of the series’ supersuits, some recognizable and some only background, prop weapons and focal objects, and set decoration items created or collected specifically for the shows.  Sorry, fans of Jessica Jones, The Punisher, and Defenders will have to wait out this auction–no items from these shows are included in this catalog.  But a big highlight is Lot #623, Misty Knight’s prop cybernetic arm.  It carries an auction estimate of $10-$12,000.

You really get an understanding of how little the Netflix Marvel series looked liked superhero stories after flipping through the new Prop Store auction catalog available online for viewing at the Prop Store website here.  Compare this catalog to the above-mentioned auction catalog (discussed back in 2012 here at borg) where Marvel Studios sold off Captain America: The First Avenger pieces, plus a few other Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor movie costumes and props.  There’s little to compare.  More suits and street clothes that appear off-the-rack (but probably aren’t, as often costume designers can spend as much work creating items to look like common clothing) can be found in this auction than helmets, hammers, and shields.

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As with Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit franchise, George Lucas and Lucasfilm have rarely let screen-used props and costumes out of their own personal or corporate collections.  From time to time costume components retained by production staff members or third-party contributors to the productions have surfaced at private auction, mainly parts of costumes including Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets, various weapons including like blasters and lightsabers, and model ship filming miniatures.  But never before has an entire Star Wars character found its way to auction, and one of the most iconic pieces in the history of film at that.  So when a beautiful, full-sized R2-D2 hit the auction block yesterday, deep-pocket bidders took notice.  In an exciting back and forth of increasing bids in $100,000 increments, it seemed the bids for R2-D2 wouldn’t end.  In less than 3 minutes the hammer stopped at $2.3 million for a total sale price (after factoring a 20% buyer’s fee) of $2.76 million.  This was not only the first private Star Wars sale to eclipse seven figures, it is the highest known price paid in public auction for a piece of Star Wars film history (a Panavision movie camera used by Lucas to film the original Star Wars sold previously for $625,000, the filming miniature model of the Rebel Blockade Runner spaceship from the opening scene of the original Star Wars sold for $465,000, and a miniature filming model of a TIE Fighter sold for more than $400,000).

Like many props in the film industry, this R2-D2, made of aluminum, steel, and fiberglass parts, was pieced together from many parts that had been used, retired, and refurbished throughout the Star Wars films.  According to auction house Profiles in History, who handled the sale yesterday at its offices in Calabasas, California, the anonymous seller sourced the many robotic components together over several years.  And, indeed, Profiles in History has demonstrated via photographic evidence the R2-D2 can be screen-matched via its individual components to screen use in each film of the original trilogy (1977-1983) and the first two prequel films (1999-2002).  After several weeks of publicity for the auction, the ownership of the restored R2 unit and its sale at this auction was not disputed, and so the bidding got underway at approximately noon Pacific time yesterday.

Profiles in History staff taking phone bids during the auction said there was no time to celebrate the success of the R2-D2 during the auction–even after three days of the auction more than 500 lots remained to be bid on following the landmark sale of the droid.  The sale of the R2-D2 prop came only a day after Profiles in History sold the famous floor John Travolta danced on in the climax of Saturday Night Fever for $1.2 million.  A golden prop foot of R2’s pal C-3PO went unsold at the auction, but in December 2008 Profiles in History sold a golden prop head of C-3PO, worn by actor Anthony Daniels, for $120,000.

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