The Superman Cape Authentication Challenge: Consign with a Reputable Movie Prop & Costume Dealer or Auction House
January 11, 2010 by Jason DeBord
The seller of a wardrobe piece featured in one of the recent and regular “Superman Costumes in the Marketplace Archive” articles (see December 2009) made a “Reader Comment” in response to the feature about his public “for sale” offering on eBay. The owner of the “Super Hollywood” sourced and authenticated Superman cape has posted an open request for authentication. Conversely, given that he purchased the item and now seeks to sell it, I would challenge him to query some of the reputable auction houses and dealers that make a regular business of selling original movie props and costumes to see which of them would take the piece on consignment.
An excerpt from the seller’s “Reader Comment”:
Finally, I am as concerned with “fake” items offered for sale as anyone else. I am voluntarily pulling the listing off Ebay withing 24 hours until I can find an “authority” to authenticate (or nix) this cape. I’ve left the listing as is for 24 hours to post notice that I am aware of the outstanding concerns-PLEASE do not bid on it! If it is found to be a fake, I will take immidiate steps to confront the seller and will seriously consider filing a complaint with the State’s Attorney’s Office. I’ll be in touch. Thanks, Michael
No individual or company at large has any obligation nor incentive to authenticate a piece of memorabilia (pro bono) for which they have no involvement. More, I am unaware of the existence of any professional “for fee” authentication services available to the public that are considered experts specifically in original props and costumes.
My personal opinion is that if someone is offering a piece for sale as “original” (see What is “Original”?), it is incumbent upon them to prove that the piece is what he or she claims. It is also completely appropriate for anyone to question the authenticity of any piece offered for sale to the public.
In that the seller has expressed interest in ensuring that what he is offering for sale is “authentic” and “original”, I would suggest that he use a tool available to all collectors which would, in many ways, provide the same information as what one might expect from professional/expert authentication – making inquiries with reputable auction houses and dealers that regularly sell original props and wardrobe as a business about the prospects and viability of consigning his piece to these companies for sale.
I would be curious to know if the current owner of this Superman cape, who claims to have “purchased [it] from Armado Alvarez of “Super Hollywood”“, can successfully solicit interest in consigning the piece to any of the following reputable auction houses/dealers upon full disclosure of all details about the piece, including the source and accompanying documentation from Super Hollywood, Armando Alvarez, and Ana Mungia:
- The Prop Store of London (www.propstore.com | London Contact: Tim Lawes, +44 (0)1494 766485, email@example.com | Los Angeles Contact: Brandon Alinger, (818) 727-7829, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- ScreenUsed (www.screenused.com | Contact: Desi DosSantos, (408) 268-1735, email@example.com)
- Profiles in History (www.profilesinhistory.com | Contact: (310) 859-7701, online contact form)
- Julien’s Auctions (www.juliensauctions.com | Contact: (310) 836-1818, online contact form)
- Heritage Auction Galleries (www.ha.com | Contact: (800) 872-6467, online contact form)
- Christie’s (www.christies.com | London Contact: +44(0)20 7839 9060, New York Contact: (212) 492-5485 , firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Bonhams (www.bonhams.com | UK Contact: +44 (0)20 7447 7447, Los Angeles Contact: (323) 850-7500, email@example.com)
The current owner of the cape is encouraged to report back to the Original Prop Blog with the results of his consignment inquiries. Given that principal wardrobe from the Superman film franchise starring Christopher Reeve is highly recognized and collected, I would imagine that all of the companies above would be very interested in consigning an authentic cape to their websites/auction events.
The seller added the following statement to his auction marketing description today:
On Jan-11-10 at 10:05:56 PST, seller added the following information:
Original Superman Cape
Notice: I am voluntarily pulling this listing at the end of the day tomorrow (Tuesday, January 12) to verify questions of authenticity. In the meantime, thank you for your interest! “Fake” items on ebay are as much a concern to me as they are to you!
The original photos, scans, and marketing content can be found in the December Archive:
For more information about Superman costumes, please reference: