Skinner's Motion Pictures,
Posters & Ephemera Auction
Why do people go to auctions? The cynic immediately says, "Oh don't be ridiculous. There are certain items that won't be sold anywhere else BUT at an auction. It's not really a choice."
Well yes, granted that, but haven't we seen a lot of fire and passion at auctions? Individuals who haunt auction houses faithfully, making that regular pilgrimage to the world of bidding? A wonderful story by L.M Montgomery comes to mind - that of an old man who goes to auctions regularly and buys whatever piece of junk he can afford, as long as he gets to take part in the thrill of auctions (he comes back with a baby one day but that is a whole new story altogether).
So I think the non-cynical answer is that the idea of competition makes whatever is being finally obtained all the more valuable. In a world where we no longer have to fight for anything, the closest we get to that primitive sense of sheer conquest must be that of the auction room, where total strangers battle it out for a piece of the spoils. And I think too that that quality of auctions makes memorabilia an especially popular source for auctions.
Skinner's recent auction of movie posters from the silent film era onwards, and the huge popularity of that auction, proves that point especially. The world of Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind, James Cagney and Marilyn Monroe, all seem to go back to a time when going to the movies was special and every star was precisely that - an untouchable, demi-god like star.
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