Best Space Saving Film Memorabilia

We aren’t all blessed with sizeable areas to store and display our collections, and it’s not always practical to pack our homes with wall to wall mannequins, display cabinets, or cover our walls with dozens of shadow boxes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I constantly tell my better half)! To most collectors, space is at a premium. And so, this is a major consideration when collecting anything! After all, I’m sure that “size” is one reason stamp collecting has remained popular! Here then are some ideas on the best space saving film memorabilia for collectors wanting more compact displays.

best space saving film memorabilia
Production used stamps. The Railway Man (2013)

With a little planning, movie prop and memorabilia collecting can offer much for the collector with limited space.

This is part four in my Definitive guide to screen used props. Here you will find more guides packed with helpful hints and tips.

When I first started collecting, I wanted absolutely everything! Size wasn’t an issue. I had storage to spare! Now, after four moves and lugging my collection along behind me, I accept that I could have planned it all better. And like most veteran collectors, I finally accept that forward planning and possibly refining your scope can pay huge dividends.

Collections should be seen and not interred!

Firstly, I strongly believe a collection deserves to be seen! I accept that storage of multiples, fragile and possibly valuable pieces is necessary. But basically, if I collect it, I want to show it!

Anyway, Here are some suggestions for some of the best space saving film memorabilia. These types of production props & cinema memorabilia take up very little room, display beautifully, and are easy to transport. Also, if you collect smaller pieces, you’ll likely save yourself a bundle in both shipping and display materials. Win win!

One caveat however, if you collect from just a certain movie or show, this may not work as well for you. But if you find a niche or category of props and memorabilia you like, this could be a perfect path to building an exceptional space saving collection.

Pint Size Props

Prop money is an excellent category to kick us off! Almost every film or TV show (whatever the genre) will have had prop money production made for it. Bank notes, coins, credit cards, checks, make for excellent collections and are some of the most popular items among collectors.

Prop money from The Dark Knight (2008), Chappie (2015), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Elysium (2013).
Prop money from The Dark Knight (2008), Chappie (2015), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Elysium (2013).

Similarly, any motion picture or television show featuring a casino or maybe a poker game (and there’s many) will have produced custom gambling “chips” and used playing cards. These are wonderful pieces to display in a compact space.

Rush Hour 2 (2001) Casino Chips.
Rush Hour 2 (2001).

Screen worn jewellery is another popular category, offering the collector a broad range because of the abundance of pieces available. If your collection comprises several necklaces, maybe steer away from the traditional mannequin style neck display in my pic. Instead, opt for a more compact style like this set of six at Amazon.

Screen used jewellery
The Promotion (2008). I, Frankenstein (2014).

I have seen some truly spectacular spectacle displays! It may be a little too “niche” for some. But a collector with vision could produce eye-catching exhibits! Terrible puns intended!

Far Cry (2008), The Railway Man (2013). Best space saving film memorabilia.
Far Cry (2008), The Railway Man (2013).

Watch for the mail!

Screen worn wristwatches are another splendid example of “display friendly” items. Virtually every production set in the last 120 years will have used wristwatches and even prior to that, pocket watches would have been used.

best space saving film memorabilia
Grace Beside Me (TV) (2018). The Railway Man (2013)

Mail! This is one of my personal favourites, simply because most any scene featuring a letter or hand written note etc will pause long and clear enough to allow for screen matching. I would also include any diagrams and forms. In fact, most documents fit here. Again, these types of props are in abundance.

screen used mail makes best space saving film memorabilia
Rebel in the Rye (2017)

Production made patches, badges, buttons and decals display great and require very little room. These include production used pieces or maybe even cast & crew items. For example you may not have space for a “Finse (Norway) crew jacket” from The Empire Strikes Back, but the “Vader In Flames” production patch featured on the jacket makes an awesome display!

Cloth patches from film production
A Country Practice (TV) (1981), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), North Dallas Forty (1979).

Pick a card

Business cards are another terrific choice. Not always easy to find but they feature in many iconic films and remain one of the smallest items to display..

best space saving film memorabilia
What to Expect when you’re Expecting (2012).

Production made cigarette packs, matchbooks, drink coasters etc. All relatively inexpensive (depending on the production), and great candidates for that small themed display.

Filming Miniatures such as figures, buildings, vehicles etc, are so often discarded after production and so tend to be hard to find. Very often surviving pieces are damaged, many are only remnants of the original. These very sought after pieces display great. Generally, the $ per square foot value on miniatures is very high and well worth a place in your display cabinet.

Filming miniatures
Ghost Ship (2002), The Great Raid (2005).

Trading cards containing production used wardrobe swatches, relic fragments or autographs are a great option to save space. They’re reasonably priced too and so represent very good value.

Collector cards
Trading Cards.

Cinema “Compact” Collectables

Maybe your passion is for “Movie theatrecollectables! Many of the following items of cinema ephemera have now become obsolete within an industry increasingly delivering these pieces digitally.

I’m a big fan of film posters but again, if you don’t have the wall space to display them, maybe look at some of these alternatives.

Mini posters / handbills, often used in cinema foyers prior to a film’s release. These are terrific to display, taking up a fraction of the space of regular posters. Often, they are “double sided” so consider how best to display them, maybe get two if possible (side by side).

Mini posters best space saving film memorabilia
Cinema Foyer Promotional Mini Poster Handbills.

Original media press kits offer some great “compact” display options. Usually packed with press photos, production notes and sometimes even containing A4 size mini posters. All contained in a folder usually featuring the film’s original artwork. Lot’s to work with there and in a small package. Be aware though that more recent press kits tend to be “digital” offering little display value.

Media press kits
Press Kits.

Movie premiere advanced screening “guest invites” make awesome displays. Again, a thing of the past, now delivered digitally and increasingly hard to find.

advanced screening guest invites
Special Advanced Screening Guest Invites.

Shining a light.

Digital cinemas and the phaseout of 35mm film projection have seen increased interest in collecting 35mm movie film stock over the last decades. Film snippets or cells display great if back-lit and take up little space.

The Shining (1980) Film trailer
The Shining (1980) Original Cinema Trailer.

Things to try to avoid when collecting 35mm movie film:

  • Vinegar Syndrome and I would probably avoid the highly flammable Cellulose nitrate type film which was used until the 1950s.

Things to look for:

  • Preview and trailer reels are great as they feature many key scenes and the film’s highlights. Rarities are out there if you keep a lookout. For example, the “pulled” theatrical teaser trailer for Spiderman (2002). The trailer featured a bank heist getaway chopper caught in Spidey’s web that spanned the World Trade Centre’s Twin Towersreflected in Spider-Man’s lens. This was hurriedly pulled from movie theatres immediately following 9/11 (along with the poster showing the same image).
35mm rare film cells
Film cells from a pulled trailer. Spider-Man (2002).

Magic lantern “coming attraction” slides are but a distant memory. Before big budget teaser trailers and previews, “glass slides” were projected in cinemas to advertise coming attractions. Quite rare now due to their vulnerability. With a backlit display, they look superb!

Coming attraction slides
Cinema Coming Attractions Slides

I hope this provides a few ideas for collectors looking for the best space saving film memorabilia. Let me know of some smaller pieces in your collection.

At the time of writing, several of these items were available in my Ebay Store.

Thank you and enjoy.

Collecting Movie Memorabilia On A Budget

My hints and tips for collecting movie memorabilia on a budget.

Part three of my Definitive guide to screen used props. This doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, especially for those of you just starting out. So please read on for my best tips on collecting movie memorabilia on a budget!

In this post I focus mainly on production made / used props and wardrobe. I share my tips to save you money, give some entry level ideas, discuss where and how to look for inexpensive memorabilia and offer some handy hints and first steps to help you establish industry contacts.

Keeping it real

First, always opt for an original authentic piece! For example, If you can’t afford the whole “Krayt Dragon” skeleton (who could?), settle for a small inexpensive piece of it! It’s still real, and nothing will ever beat real!

Krayt Dragon Fragment.
Krayt Dragon Fragment.

Where to start

  • Trading cards are a great inexpensive entry to owning props and wardrobe. You can expect to find relic pieces, costume swatches, autographs, etc. There are thousands to choose from. They are inexpensive, take up a brief amount of space and are easy to display.
Trading Card Treasures.
Trading Card Treasures.
  • Production “Set Dec Sales” (liquidation sales) are where and when production used props & wardrobe are at their cheapest! Production just want it cleared out! Check your local studios and production companies’ Facebook pages etc for early notification of sales. Often, local auction houses are used. Contact your local auction houses & join their mailing lists.
  • Place a “Wanted to buynotice on your local Facebook / Gumtree marketplace, stipulate what you collect. By doing this, you are inviting direct contact with the seller and effectively removing a lot of competition.

How unexpected

  • Props & wardrobe can often end up in thrift & charity shops. It’s always worth a look. It’s surprising just how many pieces (along with “production crew gifts” such as caps / shirts etc) you’re likely to come across.
Movie memorabilia on a budget
Charity Find

For example, I once owned an outfit worn by Andy Serkis for his hilarious 2003 MTV Awards acceptance speech – Here on YouTube. He’d donated it to a charity shop, it sold & subsequently made its way to the Prop Store. A hand signed note on a postcard accompanied the piece.

  • Estate sale items of memorabilia, are generally always worth more to the poor soul who collected them, than to the eager people who are now disposing of them. This is so true of screen used props & wardrobe. You will very likely pick up bargains here. Remembering We are very much a part of a “niche” hobby that has relatively little understanding from those people outside of the hobby.

As a side note, I continually stress the importance and value of my own collection to my children. This is to prevent my wife from hiring and filling a giant skip bin when my time comes!!! [I jest sweetheart]!

Gotta have friends

  • Make friends in this hobby! Join social media communities and let members know what type of memorabilia you are collecting and have them look out on your behalf. Invite them to tip you off about pieces they’ve passed on – maybe those pieces interest you! I personally know of many collectors who will offer an incentive or spotter’s fee in order to find that special item!
Movie memorabilia on a budget
Bulk Buy Blaster Bargains!
  • Once you’ve established a group of friends, look at “splitting upbuys between members of your group. Buying a “job lot” privately or at auction and sharing pieces among your group, can seriously reduce your individual spend.
  • Shameless plug! My ebay store always has lots of great inexpensive pieces! Please check it out if you’re interested in collecting movie memorabilia on a budget.

Best buying experience

  • In my experience, the more passionate collectors are, the more realistic their prices. Let me explain: A collector always wants to improve the “collection” generally by selling pieces to acquire better pieces. Most collectors, I know, usually lose (or at best, break even). Unlike dealers, they’re less about profit and more about the hobby. I shudder at how many hours and repeated viewings it’s taken for me to “screen match” particular pieces that I end up selling for less than fifty bucks! That is definitely not a good hourly rate! However, over time, I get to invest in a better piece.
  • Dealers who are “passionate collectors” are the best to deal with! They both understand what you want & will often have what you want (or know where to locate it)! They will happily “deal” with new collectors to them get started in the hobby. Please ask about dealers I’d recommend!
  • As a general rule, I suggest you steer away from “make me an offer” deals. The seller knows what price they want and they are simply hoping you will offer more. Only offer a price if the seller provides a starting price & invites lower offers.

Direct route

  • Most Tradesmen, Production Assistants & Crew members are contracted only to the completion of a particular film or project. So between engagements, they have lives outside of the industry. That includes having the odd garage / yard sale. Don’t be surprised if you discover the odd prop or piece of set decoration at their home, in their shed or workshop, etc.
  • I was once checking Facebook marketplace garage sale ads and noticed, in the background of one photo, an instantly recognisable piece from a major blockbuster. It was production made (unpainted). I contacted the seller, who explained he had worked as a set painter on two (huge) films! My excitement somewhat amused him, but he was however able to offer me some really nice production made pieces & even a couple of delightful crew gifts he’d received.


  • If you get the chance to acquire a piece directly from a member of a production, check their IMDB (Internet Movie Database) page entry. Not only does that help establish their bona fides, it will give you an insight into other productions they’ve worked on. Chances are they will respect that you’ve researched their work & they may be open to discussing their other projects, which may result in more leads to more items.
  • An excellent example of this: I responded to a Gumtree ad with the seller offering a hand signed (by the cast) movie script from a favourite film of mine. I asked him about provenance. He happened to be the producer! I picked up the script and through further conversations it turned out he had been storing props and wardrobe from several of his productions that he was willing to let go. It pays to engage!

I’m happy to say I regularly get calls from my industry contacts who offer me pieces from time to time.

So important

Please remember, In order to maintain relationships with production crew, be discreet and never be pushy! It’s also okay to ask for a note of provenance but don’t always expect to receive one.

Being a part of this hobby, we have the opportunity to meet and connect with some amazing people involved in the film industry, along with some awesome collectors. I hope this guide helps you in collecting movie memorabilia on a budget!

Thank you.

This is part three of my Definitive guide to screen used props. Here you will find more guides packed with helpful hints and tips.. I hope you find it of value.

Check out my “YourProps” page to see more of my collection.

Best Cheap Coin Frames

The best and cheapest prop coin frame!

I have long been a believer of not spending more on a display than I paid for the actual prop I’m displaying! So, it thrilled me to find these excellent cheap coin frames!

Often in this hobby, getting a display right, means outlaying serious cash, especially for larger items. But let’s face it, even the cost of small shadow boxes and neat perspex cases will add up if you have multiples of smaller pieces you want to show off.

I love collecting production used prop coins, and I’m proud of the number and variations I have acquired. However, with the exception of a few very special ones, the rest have been sitting unceremoniously in cigar boxes. I never got around to doing much with them. This has changed since discovering these “floating” suspension frames.

Best Cheap Coin Frames
My POTC coins in “floating” frames. Best cheap coin frames.

Maybe you already know about them (I’m usually late to the party). To me, they’re a revelation when it comes to displaying coins and small jewellery pieces. The flexible membrane is surprisingly strong and once snapped shut, will hold pieces even with considerable depth. For coins, they’re brilliant! Check out the pic (above) with some of my “Pirates of the Caribbean” coins safely housed & ready to display.

The frames can be used over & over, but best of all, they’re so cheap! So if your collection has small items that you really want to display with both sides visible, these could be just what you need!

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Check out my guides to collecting props for lots more hints and tips.

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