Laurel and Hardy memorabilia
Laurel and Hardy memorabilia includes objects and artefacts relating to the careers of classic comedy-film stars Stan Laurel (1890-1965) and Oliver Hardy (1892-1957). The term “Laurel and Hardy memorabilia” includes autographs, costume items and film props.
Comedy duo Stan Laurel And Oliver Hardy were one of the most critically acclaimed American comedy double acts during the classical Hollywood era. Their distinctive brand of comedy might be understood as slapstick. Their most famous works include the feature films Night Owls (1930), Way out West (1937), Sons of the Desert (1933), A Chump at Oxford (1940), Pardon us (1931) and One Good Turn (1931).
Originally shot in black and white, many of their silent films from the late 1920s and 1930s have been rereleased in colour, while later films were originally released in Technicolor.
Laurel and Hardy are known for their distinctive onscreen appearances as well as their slapstick comedy antics. Stan Laurel is the more slender of the pair, who generally sported a bowler hat and bow tie, while Oliver Hardy is portly, moustachioed and wears a necktie.
Laurel and Hardy collectibles include autographs and autographed photographs, framed pictures, figurines, original film scripts, porcelain dolls, movie banners, original film posters and ticket stubs, Laurel and Hardy promotional items such as cigarette lighters and advertising ephemera, Laurel and Hardy screen worn costumes, letters, documents, rare footage, awards, photographic negatives, pottery items, etc.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are known for having signed numerous autographs and the pair almost always replied in person to fan mail, making genuine Laurel and Hardy signatures more easily obtainable than the autographs of more reticent stars from the same period.
Stan Laurel signed cheques are a collecting area in their own right - much harder to come by are Oliver Hardy signed cheques. There are thought to be only 5 Oliver Hardy signed cheques in existence.
Laurel and Hardy's enduring popularity makes them a highly collectible prospect. While high grade items, such as the pair's personal effects and screen-worn attire, may be out of reach of the average collector, purchasing pottery and porcelain items, autographs, and film posters could be a good way of beginning a collection.
Budding collectors are advised to always buy the best they can afford from reputable dealers.
The major markets for Laurel and Hardy collectibles are in the UK and the US.
The largest collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia in the world can be found in Ulverston in Cumbria - Stan's home town in the UK. Bill Cubin's collection, now in the possession of his daughter Marion, is exhibited in a museum dedicated to the pair. A large extension opened in 1992 gives you ample room to browse. There is also a small cinema showing free films and documentaries all day.
Stan Laurel did not sign autographs in ballpoint pen - genuine Stan Laurel autographs are fountain-pen signed. Ollie often signed autographs in ballpoint pen.
Stan would always sign over on "his" side of the photo, and Ollie on "his".
Because of the advance in computer copying and printing it is getting harder and harder to distinguish what is authentic from what is computer-generated. Again, be doubly suspicious of anything in frames. If you can handle an autograph page, you will find the impression of the signatures, or ink-marks, on the reverse side. If the autograph is in a frame, ask the dealer to remove the back. If he's reluctant, walk away.
A good initial approach is to ask the vendor the history behind the piece. Most have a story behind them, like "I got it off a woman who's mother was an usherette at the Glasgow Empire, and she used to get the autographs of all the stars." Another way to continue the enquiry is to ask what other autographs were in the book. Tell them you're interested in Will Hay, or Terry-Thomas, or Peter Sellers. Anything to get them to produce evidence of the original autograph book.
The Laurel & Hardy magazine is a useful resource for fans and collectors. Its website can be found here: http://bit.ly/11ToxrL
A 1918 Ford Model T used in a number of Laurel and Hardy films sold for $35,000 at Profiles in History in June 2011.
Stan Laurel's personally owned collection of scripts sold for $26,000 at Heritage Auctions in March 2013.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's signature suits from 1943's Jitterbugs film sold for $16,000 at Profiles in History in June 2011.
Laurel and Hardy costumes from the 1954 film The Bull Fighters sold for $7,768 at Sotheby's in December 2002.
The original movie poster from Laurel and Hardy's 1933 film Sons of eh Desert sold for $7,000 at Heritage Auctions in November 2008.
A Stan Laurel personally owned collection of Laurel and Hardy press sheets sold for $4,000 at Heritage Auctions in March 2013.
Other auction results
An Esco Oliver Hardy statue sold for $25 at Bean and Bean Auctions Inc. in October 2005.
An autographed photograph of Laurel & Hardy signed 'Stan Laurel' in blue ink and 'Oliver Hardy' in blue ballpoint, on a postcard sized photograph of Laurel & Hardy sold for £210 at Bonhams in July 2003.
A 16mm reel of vintage Laurel and Hardy film sold for $55 at Amazing Auctioneers LLC in Otober 2006.
A 1967 Laurel and Hardy movie banner sold for $20 at JMW Auction Service in October 2007.