Taking My Hacks

Hollywood Collectibles - Are the Stars Out of Reach?

Joe Orlando

There is no question that non-sports trading cards have increased in popularity in the past 2-3 years, most notably in the graded card marketplace. Since we know that to be true, are we to assume that the interest in entertainment memorabilia has increased proportionately? Well, interest is one thing but the ability to acquire the items presents the collector with a challenge that may discourage some from starting at all.

Let me explain. If you think the world of sports autographs is riddled with forgeries, you would be downright horrified about the pitfalls associated with entertainment autographs. With sports autographs, while the industry may have its share of forgeries, there are volumes of authentic autographs to help satisfy the needs of collectors. There are plenty of rarities but the vast majority of autographs needed to complete a collection are attainable.

In addition, since there are volumes of authentic examples in the sports autograph marketplace, many collectors will, at minimum, become vaguely familiar with the way a certain athlete's signature is supposed to look like. Most of you know what a Mickey Mantle or Babe Ruth signature looks like but what about autographs of Robert De Niro or Jack Nicholson?

With entertainment autographs, the degree of forgeries in the marketplace is not the greatest obstacle. The greatest obstacle is the simple lack of available, authentic product. In sports, there are plenty of major stars who have signed for the public at organized events. As a result the hobby is saturated (sometimes oversaturated) with product.

In the entertainment world, besides the occasional signing with a lesser known actor or actress, the product is very limited. The last time I checked, Brad Pitt and Jim Carey weren't signing at the local church or baseball card show for $50 per item. That is the problem in a nutshell. With the amount of money being paid to A-list performers, there is very, very little incentive for them to sign quantities of product in an organized fashion. Some celebrities do sign from time to time but you have to chase them to get it.

This very same issue is already affecting the sports hobby and it will certainly continue to do so in the future. There will come a day where current star autographs will be tougher to acquire than those of many existing Hall of Famers.

Getting back to entertainment... there are other types of collectibles that perform very well when they do appear for sale. Vintage movie posters have always been popular with collectors but many of them are tough to find. Movie props might be one of the most interesting, yet untapped, areas of the hobby simply because there is an issue when it comes to verifying authenticity. How do we know if Russell Crowe used that sword in the movie Gladiator? He may have but, in most cases, you merely receive the word of the seller.

It will be interesting to see if anything changes in the world of Hollywood collectibles. For now, most collectors are presented with a great challenge in building a comprehensive collection when the stars are, for the most part, out of reach.


Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief


Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.