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The market for collecting movie memorabilia is an interesting, if not lucrative field for the right person. If you've got the cash, or if you've got the product, then there's a chance that a deal can be made that's beneficial to both parties. But in the history of movie prop auctions, there's an elite few that have made quite a bit of cash on the names of the films or the actors that used them, and out of all of those items there's one that's head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to its generated windfall.
Thanks to eBay's Entertainment Memorabilia, we have the graphic you see below which lists 33 high profile props and lists them in order from the most expensive to the least expensive. So what ranked at the top of the list? None other than Marilyn Monroe's classic white dress from The Seven Year Itch, which banked a beautiful $4.6 million! If you're having trouble remembering where you've seen that dress before, here's the infamous clip that it's always seen in.
So why would Marilyn's dress from The Seven Year Itch bring in so much money? Well, theres a couple of key factors that collectors need to keep in mind when buying or selling items like these. Authenticity is key, but so are demand and collectability. Also, it's usually the older props that tend to fetch more money, simply because of their rarity. How much do you think a vial of Dr. Erskine's Super Soldier formula from Captain America: The First Avenger would go for? Go ahead, take a guess. The answer is a surprising $3,959; ranking it as the least expensive prop on the list. For reference, here is the complete list of all 33 items.
While Captain America: The First Avenger was a popular movie, it wasn't an all time record holder, and it's a fairly recent film. However, if you were to buy that prop now and hold onto it for, say 20 or 30 years, you'd probably see the value skyrocket. A prop from a Chris Evans film from back in 2011 isn't worth much in 2014, but a prop from the a film with the original Captain America, during Marvel's successful Phase 1 of their Marvel Cinematic Universe (now celebrating it's second decade of operation!) is something that'll probably fetch a pretty penny.
Rarity, Authenticity, and Popularity... those are all of the things you need to keep in mind when collecting, assessing, and selling a movie prop or item of memorabilia. For the lucky person who kept Marilyn Monroe's most famous outfit in pristine condition for all of those years, they nailed all three, and they walked away with that cool payday that could either pay off some bills, or go towards investing in further collectibles.
Who knows what'll be popular or valuable in a couple of years? For all you know, those Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace action figures (complete with Com-Tech reader, and TWO Jar Jar Binks figures) you've kept in the basement could be worth something in another 10 years. So spend wisely, and don't forget that complete flops/infamous failures also fetch some nice money over time!