We were the experts The Telegraph chose to interview….
“An appearance in a cult film can add hugely to the price of any piece of film memorabilia,” our own Adrian Roose told the UK newspaper.
“We have an increasing number of ‘Nostalgia Investors’ on our client list. People are realising that not only are these unique pieces of history great conversation pieces… but historically they have proven to be a great investment too.”
The Telegraph was reporting on the weekend’s sale of Withnail & I memorabilia at Christie’s, South Kensington.
For the uninitiated, the 1987 film (by maverick director Bruce Robinson) about pair of out of work actors seems to eternally occupy a cult niche all of its own…
Its famous scenes and lines – including “We want the finest wines available to humanity. We want them here and we want them now!” – remain beloved by film buffs of a certain age, and especially university students for some reason…
Which means there were plenty of fans waiting for the opportunity to own the furniture from character Uncle Monty’s derelict cottage.
I for a great collectible… The interior of Uncle Monty’s house, as made famous in 1987’s Withnail & I
Sale highlights included a mid-19th century mahogany library table, valued at £3,000 to £5,000, which realised £5,250. And three Victorian pine library ladders, estimated at a combined £800, achieved a substantial £2,250.
While memorabilia from seminal blockbuster movies are among the best collectible buys – see for instance this rare piece from 1878’s Superman or these bones from Star Wars – the sale was a great example of how cult films can translate to big auction success.
You see, cult audiences are usually highly devoted to their chosen film… or musician, or novelist… Jimi Hendrix was “cult” once upon a time. So was Fritz Lang’s much misunderstood sci-fi masterpiece, Metropolis.
And so was Kurth Cobain’s ‘80s-‘90s rock band Nirvana. These three examples have each inspired massive auction results in recent years.
If I’d told you back in 1989 that Cobain would be topping Forbes list of top celebrity posthumous earners, I doubt that you would have believed me.
Yet only last month, Cobain’s smashed Fender guitar sold for $55,000 at a Gotta Have It! Rock & Roll Auction in the US. Fact is, few dead rock stars can claim to inspire the devotion that Cobain commands to this day.
Signed Nirvana guitars have proven that “cult” appeal isn’t limited to movie auctions…
That’s also why, while its legacy is barely out of the starting block, Withnail & I collectibles already have their own name: ‘Withnailia’.
And why we expect to see plenty more Nostalgia Investors with “cult” tastes flocking to Paul Fraser Collectibles’ client list in the future.
West House image: Christie’s
Guitar image: Helenfhall