If you wanted proof of how popular entertainment memorabilia is right now, then look no further than Propstore’s recent US Live Auction, which recently took place over four thrilling days in Los Angeles. Kicking off on June 28 amid the impressive steel ribbons and striking red aluminium of the Petersen Automotive Museum, the auction featured more than 1,400 lots from over 500 movies and TV shows, including Star Wars, The Dark Knight, The Shawshank Redemption and Guardians of the Galaxy. Altogether, these yielded a hugely impressive final auction result of $12.5 million (incl. bp).

The Thing (1982)
Norris (Charles Hallahan) Spider Head-Thing

The three top sellers went under the hammer on day one, which Propstore COO Brandon Alinger called “a very big day for horror.” The first was the screen-matched evil clown doll from the scaremongering 1982 classic Poltergeist, which sold for $656,250 – three times its original estimate. The second was the spider-head creature from John Carpenter’s The Thing, which took more than four times its estimate with a sale of $262,500. And the third was the game board from Joe Johnston’s 1995 family adventure Jumanji, which went for $262,500 – four times its original estimate.

Jumanji (1995)
Screen-Matched Jumanji Game Board

Each of these sparked what Operations Manager Viki Merry remembers as some “intense bidding” That first day, she adds, “was particularly great, with an enthusiastic crowd of in-room bidders and some incredible results. The Petersen Museum proved to be the perfect backdrop for these fantastic sales.” By all accounts, the gathering of so many collectors and film fans here made for a very buzzy and uplifting atmosphere.

There were some surprises, too. The dark horse of the auction was young Murphy Cooper’s (Mackenzie Foy) damaged Apollo lunar module model, from Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi masterpiece Interstellar. This started an unexpected bidding war between three bidders (one on the floor and the other two online), resulting in a sale of $18,750 – no less than 16 times the estimate!

Interstellar (2014)
Young Murphy Cooper’s (Mackenzie Foy) Damaged Apollo Lunar Module Model

We also had some notable collections among our offerings. Veteran Kiwi star Sam Neill brought a fantastic selection of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World lots from his personal archive, with all the $265,000 profit going to UNICEF. Meanwhile, there were a number of items from The John Chambers Collection, which emphasised the genius of the legendary and hugely influential make-up artist; these included artefacts from Star Trek: The Original Series, Blade Runner, The Munsters and, of course, the epochal Planet of the Apes.

Sam Niell’s Jurassic Park & Jurassic World collection

The impact of the auction extended far further than the four days of the event itself, too. During the lead up, on June 24, Propstore held a VIP bash at the Petersen Automotive Museum, the tickets for which sold out in 24 hours. Here, collectors and industry professionals rubbed shoulders to view a selection of lots, seizing the chance to get up close to items like Princess Leia’s screen-matched dress from Star Wars (the only one of its kind), Batman’s Batpod from The Dark Knight, and Harry Potter’s distressed costume from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Behind the scenes at the Petersen VIP Event

There was a very warm and positive atmosphere, especially when we revealed our special guest Oliver Robins – aka the young Robbie Freeling from Poltergeist – and reunited him with the killer clown doll that so memorably tried to murder him on screen 40 years earlier.

“It’s amazing to make my acquaintance again with my old friend the clown,” said Robins on stage, before revealing how much the doll genuinely scared him as a kid. “I didn’t really have to go that far with the acting, because I was already afraid of the clown,” he admitted to the audience.

Oliver Robins reunited with the killer clown doll from Poltergeist

The coverage of the auction was in-depth and wide-ranging, securing the most press we’ve ever received. It featured on CBS News, Good Day LA on KTTV, CNN and Entertainment Tonight, as well as CNBC’s Squawk Vox, on which presenter Joe Kernen revealed a newfound love for movie memorabilia while interviewing Brandon. “I see why these things go for a lot of money,” he said, “because they just conjure really good feelings in you when you’re around them.”

The auction was also the subject of articles in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Smithsonian Magazine, and an extensive piece in The Hollywood Reporter, which detailed some of the top lots and described them as “holy grail for collectors”.

Behind the scenes filming with Entertainment Tonignt

There was also some fantastic deep-dive coverage from YouTube show Tested, in which presenter Adam Savage joined Brandon in the back stacks at Propstore’s Valencia facility to examine a few choice lots. These included a working submarine miniature from James Cameron’s The Abyss, a matte painting of the Batcave from Batman Returns, Maximus’ (Russell Crowe) hero dress armour from Gladiator, and the aforementioned spider-head Thing. “This is an iconic piece from one of my all-time favourite films,” exclaimed Savage, who described The Thing as having “literally some of the best practical effects that have ever been put to film.”

Adam Savage with Brandon behind the scenes at Propstore

Savage’s enthusiasm is emblematic of the feelings exhibited by everyone at both the VIP event and the auction itself – and here at Propstore, too. “The strength of sales in the auction from titles such as Back to the Future, Batman, The Big Lebowski, Blade Runner, Jumanji and Star Wars show the strength of entertainment collectibles as a hobby,” said Alinger at the close of the first day. A strength which, over the coming years and future events, we only expect to grow.

Please note that all sold prices reported are inclusive of they buyer’s premium.

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