Be aware: Hollywood collectibles can be risky

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Over the years, many of us have had stars in our eyes when it comes to our favorite movie stars. The interest in select stars often encourages the beginning of a collection.

These collections become very interesting when the collectors really research their favorites. All of a sudden, they might find their idol had some serious shortcomings, and these revelations dampen the interest.

Hollywood icons are generational, as stars from the '30s and '40s are very different from those of the '50s and '60s. Movie stars from the '30s were so popular that many, if not all, had fan clubs, and the fan mail would reach into multi thousands per week.

As an example, Judy Garland is said to have had a special postal employee to handle her daily mail after her "Wizard of Oz" starring role.

This is where collectors might think they received an autographed photo, when in reality they really received a publicity glossy with a printed signature.

The studios supported this fan craze, as it resulted in box office revenues.

During our dealer days, we found that Gable, Garbo, Hepburn, Tracy and Davis were favorites. The later generations sought Newman, Monroe, Brando and Sinatra artifacts.

Mass produced items hold little value but satisfy the collectors desire to have "everything" relating to their idols. We have always discouraged collecting as an investment, but rather encouraged it as a fun hobby.

Now, let's discuss real investments. Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills regularly has sales of Hollywood props and personal belongings of stars.

It is amazing that Garland's original red shoes sold for thousands and then resold for tens of thousands. The Maltese Falcon movie prop recently sold for five figures.

Why? Simply, these are one of a kind items, and wealthy collectors want an item that was an actual part of an historic movie.

When it comes to collecting, it behooves all to research and be sure proper authentication comes with the purchase. It is unfortunate, but the market is flooded with forgeries and reproductions.

The interest in old Hollywood remains high, as a visit to Barnes and Nobel will attest. The book section on Hollywood biographies and movie history is quite extensive.

Personally, I fell in love with Leslie Caron, while my wife thought Errol Flynn was the greatest.

Who were your favorites? If you care to chat about your idols, stop by our shop anytime. We love to reminisce.

Jerry Glenn is co-owner of Reminisce in Bluffton, where sports collectibles are bought and sold.

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