Category Archives: Collector Resources

Monsterama Episode 8 – The Great Ray Harryhausen!

What a Way to Start the Weekend!

Filmed-in-Dynamation

This man needs no introduction, but we can really never get enough of Ray Harryhausen.  In this episode of Monsterama, we take a walk down Monster Kid memory lane with Ray as our guide, hear his origin story and get his insights into why hi work means so much to all of us.  You’re going to really enjoy this episode!

Collecting Harryhausen:

The recent announcement of an auction of Harryhausen’s estate takes the idea of collecting Harryhausen to a new level – but for collectors of more modest means can still enjoy a library, statue shelf and DVD collection of his great movie-making legacy:


Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook: Models, Artwork and Memories from 65 Years of Filmmaking

This new book reveals a wealth of fascinating artefacts relating to his films that has never been seen before, many of them recently discovered in a garage in Los Angeles. Designed in the form of a scrapbook, it provides a visual feast for Harryhausen fans. There are models from unrealized projects, such as dinosaurs from the unfinished film Evolution; prints of outtakes from various films including The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; early concept drawings and storyboards; colour transparencies of Ray at work; written artefacts such as letters and production budgets and a diary that details Ray’s first meeting with his mentor Willis O’Brien; early film treatments and script extracts; publicity posters and brochures; and much, much more.



Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life

In the animator’s own words, accompanied by hundreds of previously unpublished photographs, sketches, and storyboards from his personal archive, this book details Harryhausen’s entire film career, from 20 Million Miles to Earth and Earth vs. The Flying Saucersto Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts.


A great combo pack, this box set includes a trio of Ray’s classic films on DVD plus a high quality Ymir figure for your toy/statue shelf:

Ray Harryhausen Gift Set (20 Million Miles to Earth / It Came from Beneath the Sea / Earth vs. the Flying Saucers)

When the subject is Ray Harryhausen, we can never really be finished – and I assure you we have much, much more to come on the monsters, creativity and life of one of the true geniuses of fantastic cinema.

What is your favorite Harryhausen memory? We’d love for you to share it with us!

(Video) Monsterama Episode 7 – Rick Baker Master Monster Maker

Master Make-Up Artist Rick Baker is the Focus of this Episode of Monsterama

Rick-Baker-Schlock

Elvira takes us to visit the great monster maker Rick Baker and gives us a visual retrospective of some of his greatest work. From American Werewolf in London to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Baker’s groundbreaking techniques have pushed the boundaries of movie make-up to new heights that embrace technology without sacrificing the artistry of practical effects.

Watch and enjoy!

 

Monsters in the Movies by legendary filmmaker John Landis showcases the greatest monsters ever to creep, fly, slither, stalk, or rampage across the Silver Screen!  Landis provides his own fascinating and entertaining insights into the world of moviemaking, while conducting in-depth “conversations” with leading monster makers including Rick Baker:
Monsters in the Movies

 

Earlier this year, Rick auctioned off a large part of his studio collection.  Some of these items are still available, such as this animatronic gorilla head from Gorillas in the Mist:

Original Movie Prop – Gorillas in the Mist – Animatronic Baby Gorilla Head – Authentic

Watch more Episodes of Monsterama 

(Video) Monsterama Episode 6 – Sideshow Collectibles

This Episode Examines Sideshow Collectibles Incredible Monster Action Figures 
Sideshow-Collectibles-Universal-Monsters

We continue our month-long feature of Elvira’s Monsterama series with a particularly interesting episode for classic monster collectors.  Sideshow Collectibles makes incredibly detailed toys and statues for every genre, but they have a particular fondness for monsters as you’ll see when you watch Episode 6 of Monsterama:

The Universal Monster figures featured in this episode of Monsterama are long sold-out but are available on the secondary market.  Here is what’s currently available at Amazon.com


Universal Monsters The Mummy Pre Painted Polystone Statue by Sideshow Toys


Universal Monsters The Wolfman Pre Painted Polystone Statue by Sideshow Toys


Universal Monsters The Phantom Of The Opera Pre Painted Polystone Statue by S…


Universal Monsters Son of Frankenstein 8in Action Figure Boris Karloff

Watch previous episodes of  Monsterama with Elvira

Click on this link to visit Sideshow Collectibles

Related:

Expecting Collectibles’ Prices to Keep Going Up is a Losing Bet

Collecting as an Investment Has It’s Limitations

Star-Wars-Collectibles

Collecting is a very personal passion.  It’s also one that has potentially huge financial ramifications.  Many collectors don’t consider, or at least focus on, the resale value of their collections because, quite simply, they can’t imagine ever parting with their prized collection.  There’s always that temptation though – family and friends who don’t ‘get it’ will read an article about a comic book collection selling for millions after the collector’s death and ask what your collection is worth.

Truth is, while you may have no intention of ever selling your collection, eventually it won’t be your decision.  If you are lucky enough to have children or heirs in the next generation who share your passion, and you plan to leave your collection to them, then you’re off the hook as long as you make the necessary arrangements in your estate planning.

If not, there is a real possibility that your collection will be sold and it’s up tot you to decide how that will happen.  Will it be sold of piecemeal at an estate sale or will you make arrangements to have it auctioned off after your death.  The choice is yours but it only makes sense  that a collection you so lovingly accumulated during your lifetime should be thoughtfully included in your estate planning.  I came across this article and thought it was worth sharing.  Be aware that the author  is Josh Levine who co-owns J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale and EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale, Arizona.  His company profits from collectors selling and buying, so his focus is on helping sellers get he most return on the items they are selling – it’s simply good business on his end.  Seven if selling is the furthest from your mind, the article is thought provoking.

Here’s the article in full:

I am often asked, “When is the best time to sell my collection?”

And not to be one accused of keeping my opinions to myself, I say, “Strike while the iron is hot.” What do I mean by that?

When you see record prices happening, sell your collection. Sounds obvious to most, but so often I hear, “I’ll hold on to it. It can only go up from here,” or “Imagine what it will be worth 20 years from now!”

I don’t know if it’s prospecting, greed, or something their parents ingrained in these collectors, but I think it’s a losing bet. Let me cite a few examples.

Fifteen years ago, we were selling Hummel collections and prices were riding high. I would see collections in my travels and ask folks if they wished to consign for auction, and more often than not, the owners would decline. Their consensus was, this would never end, and Hummels would keep increasing in value.

Then about 10 years ago, large collections began to be sold off and we could see it coming quickly. The crash.

The collectors blamed the economy and kept waiting. And waiting. … It wasn’t the economy, but simple economics. Huge supply, in this case, and no demand from the next generation. I have yet to meet a Gen X’er or Millennial that collects them. Most have no idea what they are.

The next example is toy trains.

A Pre-War Lionel Train set was money in the bank for a long run as they were desired by many collectors and enthusiasts spanning several generations. They all had a train set when they were kids, and had many fond memories of them. They sold like hot cakes, and there were many serious collectors.

Over the past five years, toy collectors’ tastes have changed, and you can see the Hummel thing happening. A 2003 price of $12,000 for a Lionel Pre-War set is now $1,500 if you are lucky.

Some say it was video games that caused the younger generations to lose interest, and that really may be true.

What to do now? If you are thinking of selling a collection, sell it when it’s hot.

What is hot in toys? Star Wars toys from 1977 through 1984 as well as most action figures from this period. Hot Wheels Redlines and AFX Aurora Slot Cars from the late 1960s through the early 1970s.

Let me give you my forecast. Star Wars is going to peak with this new movie release. It’s a great time to sell your Star Wars collectibles.

Hot Wheels and Slot Cars are more urgent to sell as I feel they are going to go the way of the train set soon.

I hate when I see a collection that was just held on to a little too long. It’s just like playing the stock market, but when they fall off the cliff, they don’t recover to former glory.

courtesy of AZCentral     

(Video) Monsterama Episode 5 – Todd McFarlane’s Monster Toys

Legendary Spider-Man Artist, Spawn Creator and Toy Maker – This Guy is Prolific

Todd-McFarlane-Toys

Todd McFarlane loves monsters.  As the artist on Amazing Spider-Man, he created Venom, one of the most popular, and monstrous, of all the web slinger’s rogues.  He went on to create an entire comic universe around the anti-hero Spawn and now has a toy empire focused on highly detailed figures of – you guessed it – monsters!

Originally focused on characters from his Spawn universe, Todd McFarlane’s Toy line has expanded into a licensing powerhouse, including Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and his highly sought after Movie Maniacs line

This episode of Monsterama goes inside McFarlane’s thought process and takes an in-depth look at his monstrous line of movie maniacs and monster toys.

Watch and enjoy:

Related Article:

Todd McFarlane Collectibles

The Art of Todd McFarlane: The Devil’s in the Details TP

Showcasing Todd McFarlane’s unique art style, which burst onto the comic book scene in the late 1980s and forever changed the landscape of comic book art. Features art from original comic art boards, rare, never-before-seen sketches, as well as art from McFarlane’s work on Batman, Spider-Man, and the Hulk (amongst many others), and his own top-selling creation, Spawn.

McFarlane’s Classic Monster Playsets:

Todd McFarlane’s Monsters Dracula Playset

Monsters Series 1 – Frankenstein Playset

Monsters Series 2 the Phantom of the Opera Playset

McFarlane – The Mummy Playset

(Video) Monsterama Episode 4 – Stan Winston Creature Creator

Monsterama Episode 4 – Stan Winston Creature Creator

stan-winston-studio

Stan Winston is the creative genius behind an amazing number of screen monsters – from the Alien Queen in Aliens to the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.  Who could forget the iconic Predator or any of the Terminators? Thanks to Stan’s talents, we don’t have to.

Stan passed away in 2008 but his legacy remains, not only in his films, but he founded the Stan Winston School of Character Arts in LA which continues to train future creature creators today.

This episode of Monsterama takes us inside Stan’s head and his studio – enjoy:

This DVD is available at Amazon.com


Stan Winston Studio: Behind the Scenes Vol. 1

Also available as a hardcover coffee table book:


The Winston Effect: The Art & History of Stan Winston Studio

Perhaps the coolest of all is the online curriculum through the Stan Winston School of Character Arts – these online courses teach how to become a creature creator!  Check out the online courses available:

stan-winston-online-courses

Finally, as collectors, Stan’s original line of action figures are pretty impressive as well.  They aren’t too hard to find and prices remain reasonable:
Stan Winston Creatures Mutant Earth TRAKK

(Video) Monsterama Episode 3 – The Ackermonster

Spend Some Time with Every Monster Kids’ Coolest Uncle, Forrest J Ackerman

Famous-Monsters-of-Filmland

Monster Kids of the 1950s – 70s share a great deal in common regardless of what part of the country they grew up in, their family’s economic conditions or their religious traditions.  We all lived for watching monster movies, we built Aurora monster models and we memorized each and every issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland.

In Episode 3 of Monsterama, Elvira takes a spin through Uncle Forry’s mini-Ackermansion and explores the making of the Ackermonster himself.

Watch and enjoy:

The first place to start with Forry’s impact on monster fandom is with Famous Monsters of Filmland the magazine.  Many of us collect this wonderful time capsule.  Publisher Jim Warren has a new project underway to release digital versions of the earliest issues of FM (the most valuable and hardest to collect).

FMoF #10 –  Kindle Edition

Famous Monsters of Filmland #10

$4.99 or Free with Kindle Unlimited membership

Ackerman was a prolific author and published far too many books to list them all here.  I have the following book in my library and can highly recommend it as it is focused on Ackerman’s collection of memorabilia much like the Monsterama episode you just watched:

Forrest J Ackerman’s World of Science Fiction

Ackerman himself was rightly enshrined as a collectible with this Rondo-nominated statue from Dark Horse:

Dark Horse Deluxe Forrest J “Forry” Ackerman Statue

Another great way to go in-depth with Forry’s archives of monster movie memorabilia is with this well-done DVD:


Uncle Forry’s Ackermansions DVD

  I owe much of my love for classic monsters to Famous Monsters of Filmland and I know I’m not alone in that fact.   I could write about Forry’s impact on me and all Monster Kids, and fandom in general, for weeks – and we probably should!  But we’ll let this episode of Monsterama do the work for us and the recommended media above, which have done the job so well, take it from here.

Watch More Monsterama:

(Video) Monsterama Episode 2 – Monster Kid Bob Burns

Monsterama Episode 2 – the World of Bob Burns

monsterama-logo

In this episode of Monsterama, we go inside the wonderful world of one of the original Monster Kids, Bob Burns with an indepth look at his awe-inspiring collection and a retrospective of his legendary Monster Kid story.

As we count down to Halloween 2015, we’re going to feature each and every episode of Monsterama in all it’s Elvira-filled wonder.  This series then we’ll explore the collectibles and merchandise for the featured subject of each episode.   From Hollywood special effects, creature shops and monster make-up to the latest creature collectibles, this original series hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark  focuses on every aspect of monster movie mania imaginable.

Watch Episode 2 and Enjoy: 

Bob and Kathy burns have been featured in several books and videos over the years:

it-came-from-bobs-basement
It Came From Bob’s Basement 

it-came-from-bobs-basement-1
it-came-from-bobs-basement-2

Published in 2000 and written by Bob, It Came from Bob’s Basement brings fellowMonster Kids up close with props and artwork from the greatest (and most outrageous) sci-fi films of all time. A story told with genuinely irresistible enthusiasm, this book honors the beloved cult classics that have shaped movie history.

Get It Came from Bob’s Basement at Amazon

Continue reading (Video) Monsterama Episode 2 – Monster Kid Bob Burns

(Video) Watch Monsterama Episode 1 – The Witch’s Dungeon

Counting Down to Halloween with Elvira’s Wonderful Series, Monsterama

WitchsDungeon_just_logo_PosterMonsterama is an original series hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark that focuses on every aspect of monster movie mania imaginable. From Hollywood special effects, creature shops and monster make-up to the latest creature collectibles.  As we count down to Halloween 2015, we’re going to feature each and every episode of Monsterama in all it’s Elvira-filled wonder and then we’ll explore the collectibles and merchandise for the featured subject of each episode – should be a great deal of fun!

Episode 1 of Monsterama focuses on the longest running Halloween attraction in the United States.  Open since 1966, The Witch’s Dungeon in Bristol, CT is a Monster Kid’s dream come true – literally.  Cortland Hull, a Monster Kid Extraordinaire and nephew of the great Henry Hull of Werewolf of London is a sculptor who has dedicated his life and art to preserving the classic monsters of film land. The Witch’s Dungeon, which recently moved from it’s longstanding location to a year-round mansion turned museum as part of Hull’s “Preserve Hollywood” efforts, is a treasure trove of classic movie monsters and Elvira takes us on a virtual tour in Episode 1 of Monsterama!

Over the years, Cortland has produced a series of DVDs based on his (and our) passions – all proceeds directly benefit The Witch’s Dungeon Movie Museum

First up is his DVD featuring more thrills and chills from the Witch’s Dungeon  “The Witch’s Dungeon 40 Years Of Chills”, Classic Horror   Documentary


Click on the image above to order this DVD from Amazon.

Hull also produced “The Aurora Monsters  (winner of the 2010Rondo Award for “Best Documentary” )

Click on the image above to order this DVD from Amazon.

And his newest DVD released in 2014: Phantom Of The Opera – Unmasking The Masterpiece Phantom_banner_CHANEY_PHILBIN_NEW_WEB2-filtered

Click on the image above to order this DVD from Amazon.

Finally, be sure to visit Cortlund’s Official Website PreserveHollywood.org  for directions and 2015 dates as well as lots of content Love to hear from all you Monster Kids who have visited the Witch’s Dungeon over the years! It’s certainly on my must-do list but I haven’t had the pleasure … yet!

Watch More Monsterama:

Episode 2: The World of Bob Burns

5 Local Places to Find Classic Monster Collectibles

In addition to searching online for collectibles like every other collector, there are a number of ways to find monster collectibles locally.  While this is can be time and labor intense, there is simply no feeling like walking into a shop or sale and spying treasure that is overlooked by other buyers and sellers.  This is where you can truly find hidden gems, sometimes for dirt-cheap.  The thrill of the hunt and the reward for the catch are greatest when you put the time and effort into the search in a way that doesn’t exist online.

So here’s my list for local places to find classic monster collectibles:

6. Local Auctions

Almost every community has at least one auction house.  The local companies often run auctions to liquidate assets for business and personal bankruptcy as well as work with collectors and dealers to auction off collections and inventory.  Auctions are usually listed in the classifieds of your local paper but several websites, such as Kbid.com, provide a national database of local auctions where you can search for specific types of items, like monster toys or movie posters, and even bid online.  Auction houses often specialize, so search for one nearby that focuses on collectibles and attend a few auctions in person.  Get to know the people who run the auction company and tell them about your collection.  It is not uncommon that items are brought to their attention that don’t fit a specific auction and they may just refer the seller to you as a potential buyer.

5. Comic & Antique Shops

Every comic book shop is as unique as the interests of its owners. Some only deal in current comics, while others deal in a wide variety of vintage pop culture collectibles.  Prices in comic and collectible shops will be retail, so you’re unlikely to find any bargain collectibles here.  Ebay.com often serves as the price guide for these businesses, as may of these retail stores also host stores online at Ebay.com and other collectible websites.  Again, getting to know the owner/manager and letting them know your interest is a good way to get them to help you build your collection.  These dealers are in position to buy lots of collectibles from local people who don’t have the interest or time to sell online and, if they know they have a potential buyer for a given product, they are more than happy to call or email you when items of interest cross their path.

4. Flea Markets  local-places-find-classic-monster-collectibles-flea-market

Flea markets are an ideal haunt for collectors.  The sheer quantity of dealers, who often take a generalist approach to the merchandise they sell, increases the likelihood of both finding items for your collection and getting them at a good price.  Every major market is home to flea markets — some year-round and some seasonally.  Since many booths are a fish-mash of items, plan to take your time.  You just never know when that unique item might pop up — often in a bin or box full of other not-to-similar items.  Over time, you’ll find the go-to booths where the odds are higher of finding the type of collectibles you are seeking, but be careful not to get into a rut.  It’s worthwhile to get outside your normal routine on occasion since you just never know what treasure might be waiting for you one booth down.  A quick google search will turn up a list or directory of local flea markets.  I’ve found the directory at Collectors.org to be helpful in my search.

 3. Estate Sales

There is an art to buying at estate sales, and in recent years, many estate sale companies have developed relationships with

Local-Places-Find-Classic-Monster-Collectibles-Estate-Saledealers who get first-dibs on items in the sale.  That said, not every estate sale company specializes in every category of collectible, and it is not uncommon to find items prices well below market value simply because they aren’t on the radar of that particular estate sale company.  Of course, the opposite often happens — I’ve been to estate sales where a stack of low-grade comics  are priced well above their value simply because the estate company knows that comics have become highly collectible.  The best strategy for estate sales is to get in early and late.  As estate sales are wrapping up, the willingness to negotiate on prices increases significantly for any items that remain.  Estate sales are usually advertised in local classifieds and several websites, such as Estatesales.net are great resources for finding upcoming local and regional sales and will often include lists of categories of items included in the sale as well as pictures to help you select which sales are worth your effort to

2.  Yard Sales local-places-find-classic-monster-collectibles-garage-sale

Every collector dreams of finding a rare and valuable collectible being priced at bargain prices because the owner has no idea of its worth.  That is unlikely to happen online, but it just might happen if you invest the time and energy into garage sales.  One of the best ways to find collectibles is to scour garage and yard sales in older neighborhoods.  This can be a hobby in it’s own right and is certainly time intensive.    Your local newspaper, penny saver and Craigslist.com are great resources for finding upcoming sales in your area.

1. Your Parent’s House

My mom was the driving influence behind my becoming a collector.  Back when I was saving my allowance to buy comics and Famous Monsters at the newsstand, she would encourage me to stack them nicely in my closet and event to store them in plastic sleeves.  As I grew up and my interests changed, many of my childhood obsessions were donated, tossed out or broken.  But those that survived, my mom eventually packed away in storage for safekeeping.  My own return to collecting as an adult really started when my parents decided to downsize and they asked me what I wanted to do with the comic long boxes and toys that had been stored in their attic and basement all those years.  Deciding to keep them and move them to my home has provided me with hours of enjoyment and brought back a flood of memories of my childhood passion for classic monsters.  If you’re starting out as a collector, the first pace to start is in your own childhood home to see what remains of your childhood collection.  If your mom is like mine, you’ll be surprised at the treasure trove that may be sitting in storage waiting to be rediscovered.

Of course, the World Wide Web has made it MUCH easier to search for and but that most sought after item for your collection.  Here’s our list of the Top Websites for Classic Monster Collectibles

For more information, visit our Monster Collector Resources page – it’s chick full of links to sites about vintage and modern monster collectibles!