What props up memorabilia value?

Collectors look for treasure in movie property

Ten years ago, Dorothy’s iconic ruby-red slippers sold for almost $700,000. In 2008, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from “Star Wars” was purchased for a healthy $240,000.

Film memorabilia has always been valuable, so collectors may be wondering what looks good from the Oscar contenders of 2009.

Animated fare seems to naturally lend itself to collectibles — think cels — but there’s only one hand-drawn contender in the bunch: “The Princess and the Frog,” and while sets from stop-animated pics “Coraline” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” seem to fit the bill, PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” appraiser Phil Weiss isn’t sosure of their value.

“Animation was a popular area,” Weiss commented, “but the animation market is downsizing.”

Weiss did, however, offer an antidote for future decades. “That being said, if you watch the trends of any kind of collectibles and what spurs the market in extra-earning years, consumers will buy things they remember from when they were kids.”

Other memorabilia is easier to predict. The minimum price of an original Humphrey Bogart or Grace Kelly signature is roughly $1,000. “Sadly,” Weiss explained, “the value of an autograph (grows) when someone dies young, tragically or both. Someone like Heath Ledger, who isn’t around to sign a lot of things, may have a valuable autograph.”

Whether or not Ledger’s last film, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” which has two Academy Award nominations (for costume design and art direction) contains valuable film collectibles remains to be seen.

“The key to the value on anything, especially Hollywood memorabilia, is interest level of the public and the longevity of an actor, actress or movie,” Weiss says.

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