'Collectibles investments: avoid auction disappointment and spot the top assets'

This week, we reported on the underperforming sale of Batman's famous car, the Batmobile, in a Fort Lauderdale auction. Although the car sold for a significant $165,000, the seller was no doubt a little disappointed (its lower estimate was $200,000).

So how can you avoid making the same mistake? Well, here I'll offer you advice on how to avoid investing in 'disappointing' collectibles...

Auction bidders like it hot...

A man who knows how to successfully invest in movie memorabilia is David Gainsborough Roberts. His world-renowned collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia is being exhibited at the American Museum in Britain, situated in Bath, UK. The expo begins this weekend (March 12).

We interviewed David earlier today (you'll be able to read the published version of the interview later this week) who kindly talked us through some of the highlights in of his stunning collection.

Among David's highlights is the cocktail dress worn by Marilyn in 1959's Some Like It Hot, as she croons I'm Through With Love from atop a piano. There's also a funny story attached: Marilyn could barely move in the tight dress, so director Billy Wilder had to have her 'hoisted' onto the piano...

Investors can feel confident that collectors will still 'prefer blondes' decades from now - boosting the values of Marilyn's memorabilia

Here's the thing: David bought the dress at a Christie's auction in 1993, paying $28,500. Today, if you ask David whether he'd recommend Marilyn Monroe memorabilia as an investment, he says "yes" in an instant. After all, the Some Like It Hot dress could be worth in excess of $1m on today's markets...

Think about the 'long term'...

My point is this: there is a crucial difference between the Batmobile sold earlier this week and Marilyn's dress. For starters, the Batmobile was produced for the 1995 Batman sequel Batman Forever - a film which is generally held in low regard by Batfans and film buffs.

Even the car itself also divides opinion: some love the design, some hate it. In other words, the 1995 Batmobile's place in history - and consequently its legacy, the demand for the car among buyers, and its value on the markets - is very insecure.

Like Marilyn, Adam West-era Batman
collectibles could be a safer bet

What's more, some of the terms and conditions of the sale - including that the car cannot be re-sold without the permission of Warner Brothers and DC Comics - may also have dissuaded bidders.

All in all, I wouldn't necessarily recommend the 1995 Batmobile as an investible asset. Its long term prospects are simply too questionable.

Needless to say, the same most definitely cannot be said of Marilyn Monroe's dress from Some Like It Hot...

Feel the 'love' ... feel the profit

What can you learn from this? Well, using Batman collectibles as an example, you'd be better off looking for items which are still fondly remembered. Recent examples include actor Adam West's Caped Crusader costume from the original Batman 1960s series

The 1960s Batman series remains much-loved by fans for its camp humour and loyalty to the original comic books. Thanks to this affection, West's outfit sold for £23,190 ($35,850) at auction - a  great day for its seller.

So, be sure to choose still-loved collectibles with established legacies and strong future prospects, and you too could enjoy both pleasure and profit on the collectors markets.

All the best, until next week




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