Sylvester Stallone memorabilia investments are anything but 'Expendable'

Sylvester Stallone is in trouble again, and this time it's not giant Russian boxers. No, instead it's a £1.36m lawsuit brought by Brazilian production company O2, which collaborated with Stallone on his upcoming action epic movie, The Expendables.

Fear not though, as the Italian Stallion has an ace up his sleeve thanks to the impressive range of Stallone memorabilia that's currently making thousands at auction.

And it's a market of collectibles that could soon be worth investing in...

For instance, you may be surprised to know that the man known to millions as Rocky Balboa is also an avid artist. Stallone's artworks are already popular with collectors and aficionados. 

Sylvester Stallone's 1986 artwork

An oil on canvas painting entitled "Philadelphia Skyline" came up for auction in November in London back in 2007.

Painted in 1986, during the filming of Rocky V, the piece sold for £1,000 ($1,500).

Alternatively, collectors could always look at investing in Stallone sports memorabilia.

For instance, he famously starred in Escape to Victory, the cult classic in which a group of WW2 Allied Prisoners of War play a football match against a team of German guards.

The film featured not only British star Michael Caine, but also legendary footballers Bobby Moore and Pele.

At Christie's in London in November 2007, a black and white photograph of the "team line up" of the film came up for sale.

The picture was autographed by the entire cast and sold for £1,750 ($3,600).

In recent sales, autographed shirts from Bobby Moore and Pele have reached World Record prices at auction - and a signed picture featuring their autographs alongside Caine and Stallone's could prove highly sought after at future auctions.

Stallone collectibles offer a relatively low cost investment and in buying memorabilia from Stallone's Rocky franchise, you are also investing in one of the most successful film series of all time. To date, the six Rocky Balboa films have grossed in excess of $1,127m - putting them alongside Star Wars in terms of profitability.

And while Star Was memorabilia continues to sell for impressive prices at auction, Rocky still presents numerous opportunities for you to invest in undervalued collectibles.

In recent years, the value of the boxing gloves used in the Rocky films has seen a sharp increase.

In November 2003, a pair of Life Spar boxing gloves autographed "Rocky" and used by Stallone in the original 1978 film sold for £1,500 ($2,243).

Rocky's signed gloves

In June this year, another pair of red gloves, used by Stallone in "Rocky III" sold for over four times the price at £6,600 ($10,000).

And as early as 1995, memorabilia from the Rocky films was bringing high prices at auction. In a December sale in New York, the red and white satin "Everlast" trunks worn by Stallone in the first film sold for £7,285 ($10,925).

Today, these trunks could be worth considerably more at auction, given the sharp increase in the value of signed gloves.

Yet some of the most valuable Stallone related collectibles focus away from his film work.

A 1979 unique Polaroid Polacolour Type 108 print appeared at Christie's in June 2010.

There were two significant points about the piece. Firstly, that it featured a young, bearded Stallone in portrait and secondly that it was part of a collection produced by American pop artist Andy Warhol.

With a pre auction estimate of £3,330 ($5,000), the picture sold for £10,830 ($16,250).

In the past Stallone has been able to garner money from his various endorsement deals. Today, some the products of these endorsements remain on the market as high end collectibles related to Stallone.

In 1995, Stallone spotted a Panerai Luminor watch at a jewellery shop in Rome. He immediately bought it and wore it during the filming of Daylight. One of the watches was even given as a gift to friend Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Afterwards, Stallone decided to become involved with the company, producing a small batch of the watches with his signature etched on the back.

Today, these watches are highly sought after on the collectibles market.

In 2006 a rare limited edition Slytech titanium automatic chronograph wristwatch, signed by Stallone, came up to buy at Sotheby's. Carrying a pre auction estimate of £6,000 ($9,000) the watch sold for £34,000 ($51,000), setting a World Record price for a Stallone collectible.

For investors, there's little doubt that Stallone memorabilia continues to prove popular at auction, thanks in part to Stallone's longevity as a Hollywood star.

Recent sequels to Rocky and Rambo have seen Stallone return to the Hollywood A-List.

And upcoming blockbuster "The Expendables" could help to add further interest from the public in Stallone collectibles, which could see further increases in auction prices.

Furthermore, with Stallone films consistently making high figures across Europe, America and the Far East, interest in memorabilia could soon go global.

So while Sylvester Stallone may be facing a hefty bill from his Brazilian backers, it may be reassuring to know that he can always turn to his collection of memorabilia, much of which has yet to appear on the collectibles market.


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