Ever since the mid 1970’s, film memorabilia collecting has progressed from being a hobby for some, a livelihood to others and a passion for many. And, before then, it was more down to possessing an original lobby or release poster, promotional still or even the odd costume or prop.
Today, it has become a burgeoning industry, with widely sought after and coveted items that range from props, costumes, posters and even behind the camera items. With the most popular being Star Trek, Dr Who and a certain space opera from 1977 that changed the entire memorabilia industry.
Until a recent auction in the U.S. it was always presumed that the most collectable items were those seen in films, stage productions and television shows. In other words, in front of the camera or audience. That was, until the original Panavision camera that George Lucas used to film the original Star Wars (Now known as Episode IV-A New Hope) was rediscovered and placed into auction.
As with most auctions, there are risks and it was originally believed that the camera, despite its uniqueness, would bring a minimal interest from collectors and somewhere between upwards of, at best, $100,000. In the end, and in front of a shocked and televised auction room, it sold for just over $500,000. Thus, cementing the long held belief that anything to do with Star Wars is beyond comparison where memorabilia collecting is concerned.
There are just as many dedicated memorabilia collectors in this country, including myself until a few years ago, and several notable ones in this region. Including one, in Consett, who has an enviable collection of front of house stills with every one autographed by the stars shown in them. And another in Seaham who has spent the last 15 years attending conventions all over the country, and several abroad, doing pretty much the same.
One piece of personal memorabilia is an autographed poster for a Dr Who convention held in South Shields with special guests Colin Baker, Sophie Aldred (Ace), Terry Molloy (Davros) and, in his final convention appearance, the late great Nicholas Courtney who played Lethbridge Stewart.
However, one of the most sensational items scheduled to go under the hammer is a Star Wars Saga poster featuring 69 validated autographs from the cast and crew of all six films. From Mark Hamill to Carrie Fisher, Dave Prowse to Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker to Anthony Daniels, they are all included on this highly desired item owned by local collector Nigel Jukes.
This has been a labour of love for Nigel, who is also a member of the 99th Garrison, the largest UK independent Star Wars costuming group. Based at locations around the central and northern regions of the country, the group raises funds on behalf of charities and worthy causes across the country.
Commenting about his desirable collectable, Nigel revealed “ I started this poster when I found out that Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia Organa) would be attending a convention in London, adding others when I attended any convention or show. It has sixty nine signatures on it, and would be a great part of any Star Wars collection. Obviously, I hope the poster does well at auction and Vectis have had great success woth other Star Wars and sci-fi items recently|”
It’s anticipated that this piece will be worth a great deal to the avid collector as it contains the autographs of some artists that can command up to as much as £80.00 per autograph.
The auction takes place on July 12th at the Vectis Auction House in Thornaby on Teeside and members of the 99th Garrison will also be present along, of course, with Nigel.