Why Box Office Receipts Mean Boom For Collectibles


Jack Caldwell

Published Apr 4 2024

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Happy April, Collectors.

Tomorrow kicks off an epic weekend of college hoops, with all eyes on Caitlin Clark as her Iowa Hawkeyes take on the UConn Huskies in the Final Four. Among those intently watching will be execs from the collectibles industry who are betting on Clark’s star power to move merchandise. 

Clark’s landmark trading card deal with Panini went into effect on Monday, and insiders expect new officially-licensed cards to hit the market quickly. Could a National Championship help push the already frothy Clark card market even higher? 

Meanwhile, The Realest (a collectibles authenticator and marketplace), is holding an auction for items from the Big Ten’s 2024 basketball tournaments. One might assume the most sought-after item is a game-used net or ball – nope, a folding chair Clark sat in for only a few minutes pregame has garnered the most attention so far.

So place a bid, have a seat, and let’s get into it.

via AP

Collector’s Item

An array of personal items once owned by Amy Winehouse have been listed for sale on eBay. Most notably, ballerina shoes which originally retailed for $21 have a buy-it-now price of $9,500. These items were purchased by the seller through Julien’s Auction House only two years ago, and, yes, we’re picking up on a reason for the quick turnaround.

A Winehouse biopic, “Back to Black”, is set to hit theaters in the U.K. on April 12th. Production has caused a stir on social media, with fans questioning the need for the film. Ethical or not, it’s hard to deny that the movie will be drawing eyeballs.

We know musical biopics are bankable at the box office, but the current Winehouse sale reinforces a correlation to the collectibles world, as well. For instance, amidst the release of “Rocketman” in 2019, Elton John-related items netted over $1M at auction, including a slick 1972 Ferrari that went for $585,000. But the movie’s impact was felt most by the sale of an item that wasn’t even Sir Elton’s.

“Rocketman” also brought a whirlwind of attention to John’s lesser-known lyricist, Bernie Taupin. The handwritten lyrics to their 1971 collaboration “Your Song” – scrawled by Taupin, and only Taupin – sold for $235,000 during the week of the film’s release.

And in 2021, the release of Beatles docuseries “Get Back” came with six hours of unheard content. Of course, for some Beatlemaniacs, this still wasn’t enough. Fledgling auction house VOCR recognized a window of opportunity and purchased unreleased Beatles interviews from the estate of radio DJ, Kathleen Wittbold. The clips hit the internet as $4,200 NFTs a week after “Get Back’s” release. 

Turns out, all you need is… archival audio.

via Barrons

Penny Thoughts

  • Let’s move from “In My Life” to “The Good Life”. A wide collection of letters to the late, great Tony Bennet will hit Julien’s Auctions on April 18, including one from Winehouse herself. One of the most interesting items has nothing to do with his music: a 1965 letter from Martin Luther King Jr. to Bennet, discussing the marches from Selma to Montgomery, is estimated to sell for $20,000 - $30,000.
  • The “Thrilla in Manilla” has been tied to many high numbers: 14 rounds, and 120-degree temperatures. Now, Muhammad Ali’s shorts from the fight could hit a record-breaking figure. Sotheby’s estimates final bids for the trunks to hit $4M - $6M which would be the highest ever for a boxing item. Ten years ago, these same shorts set the record at just $173,000.
  • We’ve seen some valuable Pokémon cards shared on Mantel recently, and it looks like PSA is seeing more Pokémon cards as well. According to Fast Company, 40% of PSA’s grading in 2023 was devoted to the trading card game – to the point that PSA had to pause their lower-tier grading to catch up on the influx of submissions. Not even three decades into Pokémon’s existence, we’re already seeing their cards rival the value of century-old baseball cards.

Speaking of vintage baseball collectibles, if you picked up some boxes of Cracker Jack at the ballpark during MLB’s opening weekend, you may have felt nostalgic for the physical prizes that used to be hidden in each box. Whatever happened to the toys inside? This week we did a deep dive into the world of Cracker Jack prizes and their collectibility. Did you know 23 billion Cracker Jack toys are spread throughout the collectibles world, connected by an organized collectors association? We’ve got the full scoop for you on Mantel.

And, as always, if you are enjoying this newsletter, please share it with your circle to help Mantel grow. Readers can sign up to get Above the Mantel each week here:

Published Apr 4 2024


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