Purchasing a piece of your favorite TV show or movie should be both fun and rewarding . Educating yourself on the issue below will help ensure that you have an positive experience when purchasing entertainment props, wardrobes and signed items.
1- Authorized- Only bid on items from sellers that are actually authorized by the studio or production company. If you limit your purchases in this way, you are assured that the items are genuine and authentic. If you buy from anyone else, the old adage of "buyer beware" applies. While this seems logical, there are MANY buyers who have bought items from unauthorized sellers and found themselves with illegal counterfeits that have no real value. With authorized sellers, links from the studio's website to the seller's auction website should exist and the studio's affiliation with the seller should be apparent.
2- Listing - Carefully review the listing to make sure that it is accurate and describes the item you desire. This may seem obvious, but a good listing should include a good photo of the item, a description of the item. The description should include the way the item was used, by whom, everything that comes with the item and any other key information (like item condition, etc.). For items that are listed as screen used, a screen grab should show the item being used in production. If you have any questions, contact the seller who should be able to answer any questions you have. Certain questions may be difficult to answer, for example, many wardrobe items have the tags ripped out and therefore make finding the size difficult. This information should be disclosed to you as part of the listing. Authorized sellers should be able to answer most of your questions regarding the item being offered.
3- Certificate of Authenticity ("COA") - The COA is a crucial piece of the puzzle. A COA is a means to verify and support the genuine nature of the item you are purchasing. Collectors will want to receive a COA from the studio or production company behind the television show or movie. Relying on COA's from other parties is risky at best. A valid COA should have the studio or production company name on it, a description of the item, a unique item number and a unique numbered hologram. Be sure to keep the COA in a safe place as it is your evidence as to the source and genuine nature of the item (which will influence the value of the item).
4- Seller - Check the seller's feedback and history on eBay. It is important that the seller has been in business for several years, has a strong experience selling entertainment collectible items and has a 99% or better feedback rating. Also, note if the seller has feedback from several repeat buyers as this is another good indicator of their standing as a seller since collectors are a discerning group that are only loyal to authentic sellers. These are all important ways to ensure that the seller has credibility and experience in the entertainment collectibles area.
5- Asset Tag- Authentic items often come with an actual tag from production. This tag is referred to as an "asset tag" and may how the item being worn or used by the actor, as well as information on the item or episode. This is not always available, but are great to have. A good listing should state whether the asset tag is included.
6- Item Condition & Conformity - You won the item and it has been delivered. Now, the final step. Once the item arrives, carefully inspect it to make sure that it is as described. If everything has arrived as promised, enjoy your new collectible. If not, a legitimate seller should work with you to remedy any issues that exist.
There is no greater joy for a collector than to add a desired piece of Hollywood history to their collection. Following these guidelines should help make your experience safer and more enjoyable.
Be sure to visit Official Fox TV & Movie Auctions.
-By Mark Kaminky
VIP Fan Auctions - Bringing Hollywood to the Fans Since 2003.