Action in television memorabilia

Film props have glamour, but the small screen can be lucrative too, says Gwyn Jones

Original props and items associated with a production are always the best find for a collector, but these are often hard to locate in television.

Unlike films, which have a higher profile and often a bigger budget, many of the props and wardrobe items from popular shows of the past get recycled for other programmes or simply thrown away.

Look out for items associated with cult series such as The Man From Uncle, Dr Who, The Professionals, The Sweeney, The Avengers and Thunderbirds. "Anything from Gerry Anderson is collectable - original puppets can sell for £30,000 or more," adds Cowdry.

"One factor that helps improve collectability is if a TV company starts repeating shows, which then generates interest again," he says. "Three-year-olds today are into Thunderbirds, even though the original series went out in the Sixties."

On this basis, Cowdry has a tip. "The Persuaders, which originally came out in 1969, might well prove to be a goldmine," he suggests. "There was only one series produced and now there is the movie with Ben Stiller and Steve Coogan, so interest will pick up again." He also has tips for up-and-coming collectables. "Only Fools and Horses is something which is bubbling and although collecting hasn't really taken off yet, it will," Cowdry adds. "I'd also go for anything that Ricky Gervais laid his hands on from the set of Extras or The Office as these would probably be a good investment."

At the popular end of the TV memorabilia market, toys are also an interesting play. "Every single year we think it is going to flatten out but TV-related toys are becoming more and more popular," says Andrew Reed, a cataloguer at Vectis Auctions.

"People who watched a show on TV can relate to the toy - plus there is a wide range of collectors, from people who remember programmes from the 1940s right through to those keen on the modern day. Even modern toys you can buy in very low limited editions will double their money in six months to a year."

There are two sides to this market. A lot of younger people just want an example which might have been played with, but the slightly older collector in their thirties and forties wants one in mint condition with its box.

"We are getting so many people like solicitors and bankers who are investing money into toys because they don't want to put it into the stock market that it's pushing up the prices," explains Andrew. "The lower end of toys between £50 and £100 is getting pushed up because the bigger stuff is being pushed out of reach of the standard person because of these big investors."

Hugo Marsh, from the auctioneers Christie's, reports a similar level of interest. "Across the toy world anything associated with TV has a life of its own," Marsh says.

"Dinky's Thunderbird Two - the green, pod-like craft - would five years ago have fetched £70 to £80 but it is now reaching about £150. Doctor Who was surprisingly poorly exploited in 1963 - the BBC licensed a Louis Marx battery-operated Dalek in 1964 which was made in Hong Kong and would now fetch £150, but beware as they were reproduced in the 1990s."

If you kept your childhood toys it is certainly worth checking what you have. "There's a lot of toys from the late Seventies that people have in the attic which they don't realise are worth money," says Andrew Reed.

"Even toys that are played with, such as He-Man, are wanted by collectors because there isn't a lot that's come onto the market. Eighties TV programmes such as The A-Team and Magnum, PI are also coming into it." Even so, for investment purposes - rather than pure nostalgia - quality and condition is crucial.

Spotting the next cult TV series is always a challenge, and don't forget American TV. Anything from The Sopranos is a good bet now the series is finishing its run. Similarly, M*A*S*H was one of the longest running shows and its memorabilia is still selling well.

Also look out for British TV shows that have also been popular in the US. Fawlty Towers, for example, is collected both here and in America.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

    £43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'