The insurance and restoration of memorabilia and collectibles is somewhat overlooked in the art world, even though some pieces match or even surpass the value which traditional antiques receive in an auction.

Prices can rise depending on autographs, limited edition status, rarity or close proximity to iconic entertainment and celebrities, such was the case in 2011, when Christie’s auctioned a collection of Elizabeth Taylor’s possessions, including jewellery, film props and clothes. Through this auction, a collective £100.3 million was raised for the actresses’ charitable trust.

Often, individuals are unaware of the value of their memorabilia or collectible items, though they are often pieces of great sentimental value. When the most treasured of these items are damaged, whether accidentally, by an escape of water or in fires, it can be devastating due to their often irreplaceable nature.

At the Fine Art Restoration Company, we can restore a multitude of pieces, from posters and programmes to sculptures and mixed media items such as film props and textiles.

Posters and programmes can be restored similarly to any artwork on paper, we can correct discolouration or staining, from smoke/soot, spillages and moisture damage. Our specialist conservators are able to remove rusty brown spots (foxing) and problems caused by acidic mounts. Artwork can be washed in our specialist solution without harming the pigmentation and most importantly not distorting any unique details such as autographs.

Movie posters and other works on paper often become creased and torn through inadequate storage or transportation. Our conservators use heat, weight and moisture treatments to fully restore this. Rips, tears and holes can be resolved using liquid paper pulp as well as Japanese tissue being used to provide structure and support.

We have had the privilege of restoring posters signed by icons such as Freddie Mercury, Madness and the full cast of the original Star Wars films.

In 2018, Sotheby’s held an online auction of posters, with highly desirable items such as the original British ‘The Pink Panther’ poster from 1963, estimated at £1,200 to £1,800, selling for £6,000. A Swedish ‘King Kong’ poster was also sold for £40,000.

Collectible ornaments can also be highly valuable and sentimentally important, similar to the much sought after works by Lladró. We have had the privilege of restoring a client’s cherished sculpture by Nao Porcelain called “Dreams With Eeyore”. Using specialist materials, our ceramic conservators can complete seamless and lasting repairs.

Items are immaculately retouched with hand painting or airbrushing to match the original materials and decoration. We have also had the pleasure of bringing the grand pumpkin carriage from Disney’s Cinderella back to life, this detailed ornament had huge sentimental value for our client and was a very limited edition.

Bonhams, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and other high-profile auction houses often see a large quantity of priceless collectible items pass through, increasing in number every year. Auctions by specialist businesses such as Prop Store have also revolutionised the area by hosting online auctions attached to live screenings at cinemas internationally. Their most recent auction includes a Darth Vader costume valued at up to $250,000 and an original Jumanji board game at $80,000. Film memorabilia often surpasses estimates, with a Star Wars auction at Sotheby’s in 2019 seeing a C-3PO helmet valued at £25,000 reach a final price of £56,250.

With memorabilia often being subject to rapid increases in value, due to the re-popularisation of famous films and television shows, as well as the rise in kitsch and vintage culture, it is recommended that collectors of both a profitable and sentimental nature should seek the expertise of valuation services, to ensure that their items are covered against unprecedented damage and loss of such unique pieces.