SWAU Prop Collecting Series Part 3: Plaque Thoughts, Signed Props and Reminders
The following series is written by Jerrad Sanders, SWAU member, moderator of our Autograph Universe group, and SWAU's residential prop master. Make sure you read Part One with Jerrad's introduction to prop collecting!, as well as Part Two where he talks about getting items and plaques signed!
Hey! It's been a few weeks, but SWAU has been crushing it with all their private signing announcements, so I guess we can let it slide. Last time we were here, we talked about signed props, and why, in my opinion, getting plaques done signed is the best move for displaying your prized props. Just remember, signed plaques don't have to be reserved for only the high end, expensive prop house pieces. Plaques look just as good when paired with some of the more budget-friendly items. In fact, Hasbro has really closed the gap in the debate of props vs toys; the helmets, lightsabers, hammers, and shields, that Hasbro has made for The Black Series and Marvel Legend lines have really made me question some of my previously held beliefs on prop collecting. As we've said in previous articles here, it's not all about having the most expensive stuff, as long as YOU enjoy what you're displaying.
For example, The Black Series Darth Vader helmet that Hasbro put out a couple years ago is sitting right next to my Anovos shoretrooper helmet, and you wouldn’t know one was made by a professional prop house and one was a mass-produced toy. I'm actually getting a Hayden Christensen plaque signed at the upcoming signing for that particular bucket. So, get out there, see what signings are currently open, and turn some of your favorite props, toys, statues, Hot Toy figures, TVC figures, or hammers that you proudly display into your very own Signature Editions.
I can hear you asking, what about literally signing the props? Okay I’ll say it, I have been pushing plaques exclusively, because I’m simply not a fan of getting the actual prop/toy/piece signed. There's a lot of ways it can go wrong. Asking a Ford, Hamill, Pascal, Esposito, etc to sign a helmet, handle, barrel or anything other than a flat, smooth surface is all but ensuring that you are passing up the opportunity to get the best version of their autograph. Placement issues can happen. A curved or unfamiliar surface makes it more likely that a pen could skip, hand could slip or slide, or the signature doesn't look as clean as if signed flat on the table. And then you're stuck with a possibly less-than-ideal prop for display, whereas the plaque can be moved around based on your preferences and rotating displays.
It’s my flag in the sand, the hill I’ll die on. If you absolutely must have the actual item signed or even multiple people sign the item, be sure to label it so that the signature goes where you want it, in a way that's easy for the signer to achieve it, and most importantly so they can sign it in a way that you can see all the signatures when you put the piece back in its display home. For the love of God, please make sure the signatures aren’t upside down when displayed!
But regardless of what props you collect, how you display them, and if you get plaques or get them signed, remember to collect what you love. Props are amazing. It can be daunting to give them the justice they deserve, because in my opinion, there are few things in the world as cool as a replica prop that you can hold, play with, display, and have fun with while making memories with your friends and your kids.
As you go out and collect, remember the most important thing isn’t the plastic or the ink, but to be happy, be a good community member, be a better person. Just because you come across stuff you don’t like doesn’t mean you have to steal someone else’s joy. Everyone collects in their own way. Lift each other up and try to be excellent to each other.
May the force be with you always.