SWAU Prop Collecting Series Part 2: Collecting Plaques and Finding Your Path
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! .
Depending on who you talk to in the prop collecting community, mixing brands and companies is a cardinal sin. Even me, who is an experienced, high end prop collector, put a Galaxy Edge Kylo Ren lightsaber next to my Master Replicas Han Solo DL-44 blaster on the entertainment center. I did it...I survived long enough to see myself become the prop collecting villain. I say this in jest because that actually matters to some collectors. There's big money in replica props, and with that comes unwritten "rules" with them. This is true in any genre of collecting if you stick around long enough.
And yet, I find myself loving my displayed props regardless of where they come from more than ever now. They've helped me tap into the joy of collecting I felt when I first started out. Why? Because when SWAU completes their signing with him, the Kylo Ren lightsaber that I bought from Galaxy's Edge will soon have a plaque signed by Adam Driver in front of it. So, in my own way, I'm adding my own unique Signature Edition to my collection. Sure, if there was a major prophouse option, I might have ordered an official Signature Edition, but there if there was, I can tell you the price would be double, if not triple, what the cost is going the custom route. No matter what people tell you or what gatekeeping you encounter, remember that you can own a cool prop and not spend thousands of dollars.
Another example: I picked up a Master Replica Anakin Skywalker Episode III lightsaber from a local friend a year ago. It wasn’t complete, nor was it a Signature Edition. I learned something in that moment- I didn’t have to follow the rules. I could collect what I love, make it my own, AND collect it at a fraction of the cost of the factory sealed or like new Master Replica options.
When SWAU has offered a send in for an actor/actress that I currently don’t have a signature plaque for, I have ordered a plaque every time. I knew when the Rebels cast signing was announced last year, I would be adding three or four plaques to pair with existing pieces I have in my office. Once I was able to break free from the "need" to have official Master Replica/Signature Edition everything, I have been able expand my collection beyond any previously set limits. And there's always going to be a white whale to chase (Dave Filoni, come on down!), but this path I've chosen has brought me a lot of joy.
Ordering a custom plaque gives me the ability to future-proof my collection. Any talented custom plaque maker can make your dreams come true, and SWAU has a great one in member Ariel Martinez. I can order a plaque that says "The Mandalorian - Blaster/rifle" or any other helmet, pauldron, or other pieces that might be made in the future, and I'm covered. It’s been amazing to see the different styles of plaques Pedro signed for SWAU to pair with the Mando helmet that EFX released last year. I've seen the traditional style plaques, triple signed, plaques with graphics on them; it's been awesome to see the influx of people getting on the signed plaque train! If you’re a prop collector and aren’t sitting on a full catalog of factory sealed MR/EFX/ICON signature edition pieces, then hit up your local plaque guy and get a plaque to send in for an upcoming SWAU signing.
I mean, there is a number of signings that are still open for SWAU this can apply to. Hayden Christensen for lightsabers, or maybe Chris Hemsworth for Mjölnir? Maybe get the old Thor and new, upcoming Thor and pair Hemsworth with Natalie Portman in her first and only private signing? I can promise you, there won't be many dual signed Portman/Hemsworth plaques floating around, so the time to act is now. Just something to consider...
Join us for part three of our Prop Series where we look into getting the physical props themselves signed!