Two years ago, I published a favorable review of the website, www.propcatalogs.com (see Website Review: PropCatalogs.com). Since, the curator of the database has closed down the online service, and made the same material available for purchase on DVD-ROM. This is therefore an update to the original review, keeping these changes in mind.
The catalog is currently available for sale on eBay from propcatalogs*com:
Prop Catalogs can also be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While there is a variety of electronic-based entertainment memorabilia auction house catalog offerings, this review is for the “PROP CATALOGS Entertainment Film Memorabilia Database” of all material. This product is a DVD-ROM which includes the database that was previously reviewed as a website, also preserved in HTML format (and therefore navigable via any web browser), though it does not include the images, many additional catalogs have been added since the 2007 review.
The original website described the content as follows:
Movie prop catalogs are a valuable record of movie memorabilia (props, costumes, models, storyboards, scripts etc.) auctioned in the past. The following pages constitute a reference archive of this material. Descriptions of each item are often very meticulous in their detail, prices realized are included where possible.
The Prop Catalogs Curator has been collecting and archiving auction house catalogs for years, so the electronic database is extensive and comprehensive.
The product provides directories based on auction houses/sources (i.e. Profiles in History, Christies, Bonhams, etc). Each lists, as available, the front and back covers and highlights of each auction, chronologically. Some show highlights or all of the lot titles, abbreviated descriptions, and estimates.
The database features a simple layout and functionality and is very easy to use. There are approximately 35 auction houses/sources listed, as well as “Internet”, which features those companies and studio resellers that frequently sell in promotion of various films.
The auction houses and sources include:
Antiquorum, Berry Company, Bonhams, Bonhams-Butterfields, Butterfields, Camden House, Christies Los Angeles, Christies New York, Christies London, Cooper-Owen, Executive Collectibles, Heather Holmberg, Hertiage, It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, Julien Entertainment, Kruse International, Lelands, Littlejohns, Mastro, Mountain High Coins and Collectibles, Nate D. Sanders, Odyssey, J. peterman, Phillip-Weiss, Phillips New York, Phillips London, Profiles in History, Premier Collectibles, Richard Wolfers, Shepperton Studios, Sothebys.com, Sothebys Los Angeles, Sothebys New York, Sothebys London, Superior Auctions.
My Experience & Personal Review:
This is a great resource for original prop collectors. As such, my opinions from the original review of the website have not changed.
Please note that the version I have for review does include some photographs, while the current public offering is text-only.
As I’ve made the point in my articles, provenance and authenticity are critical to the hobby. There are limited ways in which one can research original props. One such resource are the catalogs published by auction houses and other entities, as part of (typically) single or multi-day events in which a number of props, costumes, and other related memorabilia are made available for sale in auction form.
This content can be of potential value to collectors seeking information about “what is out there”, in that, if something has been publicly offered for sale, one can know that it’s in the marketplace. Also of value is learning a piece of the history of ownership of a piece one might be looking to buy, or that a person already owns. There is truly a lot of potential in leveraging the information provided to make more informed buying decisions as well as supplement the provenance of props you may already own.
As noted in past articles, in this hobby, information is power. While this was previously a “pay for use” site, with a subscription service, I felt it was well worth the nominal investment. As a one-time purchase of $100 for so much data and information, and given the high resale cost of hardcopy catalogs (often ranging from $25, $50, and more per copy), it is a very attractive proposition at the current sale price of $100. Moreover, being electronic in format, it can be searched via keyword and therefore even more useful with this functionality.
I also collect these catalogs in hardcopy form – I love to have them as a resource and for the photos alone, in many cases – so this site is also helpful in identifying what catalogs are “out there” as well as specific content (and many are very scarce and rare).
Overall, I’m very pleased with the product, and I would give it my highest recommendation.
Jason De Bord