Movie props were once considered a throw away item, but over the years they have become an extremely popular collectible item, desired by private collectors, investors, and public exhibitions alike. A movie prop from a classic film or from a well-known film franchise can fetch a high price at auction! What’s more is that there are individuals and companies who dedicate their entire profession to the preservation and restoration of movie props – keeping them in top condition for posterity to enjoy!

Read on as we discuss some of the most iconic movie props of all time, the value of movie props, and the art of preserving them.

The Legendary & Famous Movie Props: Exploring the Most Iconic Movie Props

Rosebud (Sled) from Citizen Kane (1941)

In the film Citizen Kane, an iconic movie prop from that movie is the sled named Rosebud. This sled, which Kane used to play with as a child, had the name “Rosebud” on the back of it.

Light Saber

Lightsaber from Star Wars (1977)

Star Wars fans and casual watchers alike will remember how amazing the light sabers in the film were. This iconic movie prop, which was used throughout the entire Star Wars franchise, is incredibly cool, and would make a valuable collectible item.

Ruby Slippers

Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939)

In the books that The Wizard of Oz was based on, Dorothy actually wore silver shoes. They were changed to ruby slippers for the film to show off the amazing new technicolor! There were six pairs of these ruby slippers made for The Wizard of Oz film, and today only four of these iconic movie props are known to exist.

DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future (1985)

Among the larger sized famous movie props is the time machine from the iconic movie, Back to the Future, which was a supped up DeLorean that had a black interior, gull-wing doors, and a flux capacitor (which makes time travel possible).

Wilson the Volleyball from Cast Away (2000)

The Cast Away film chronicles the story of Chuck Noland (played by Tom Hanks), who is stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash. He eventually becomes so lonely that he starts talking to a volleyball as if it were a friend. One of the saddest parts of the movie is when Hank’s “friend” accidentally floats away.

The Golden Ticket from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)

In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and four others are allowed to visit Wonka’s nearly magical chocolate factory, and it’s the golden ticket that grants them such access. Now, the golden tickets from the movie are a classic and very collectible prop.

The Necronomicon from The Evil Dead (1981)

The Necronomicon from The Evil Dead is a Sumerian book of the dead – and reading from it has consequences. This horror movie prop is a notable and is among the most iconic movie props.

The Briefcase from Pulp Fiction (1994)

In Quentin Tarantino’s iconic movie, Pulp Fiction, the briefcase serves as a plot device to help forward the story. Without knowing exactly what’s inside the briefcase, the viewer is left to make their own interpretation.

The Red Swingline Stapler from Office Space (1999)

In the movie Office Space, Milton liked his Swingline stapler, and promised to set the building on fire if anyone took it. The stapler was taken from him by Bill Lumbergh, and Milton burnt the building down. This small movie prop has a big role in the plot.

The Golden Idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

In the opening sequence from the iconic movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford) tries to switch a bag of sand for this golden idol. When he miscalculates the weight, it sets off a chain reaction that forces him to run for his life. The movie prop is now considered iconic!

The Fuzzy Pen from Legally Blonde (2001)

In a scene from Legally Blonde, Elle Woods (played by Reese Witherspoon) holds a pink fuzzy pen while sitting in her Harvard Law School classroom. This movie prop is just another symbol indicating the ways in which Elle stands out in the movie for being herself!

Zuzu’s Petals from It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

This movie actually was not successful when it first came out, and all of the props were destroyed in the 1950s. The movie has since gone on to be a classic Christmas film. The petals that George Bailey’s daughter, Zuzu, carries in the film would have surely been an iconic prop, had they survived.

The Golden Snitch from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

This walnut-sized golden prop is used in the sport of Quidditch, a game that wizards play while flying on their broomsticks. This stunning movie prop is surely a valuable collectible item today, and it is among the most iconic movie props.

The Burn Book from Mean Girls (2004)

The Plastics (aka the group of mean girls from the such-named film) created something called “The Burn Book” in order to document mean rumors about those they attended school with. It was full of stories and gossip about their classmates!

The Plastic Bag from American Beauty (1999)

In this low-budget film, the simple movie prop of a plain white plastic bag became an iconic movie prop.

The Market for Movie Props: Collecting and Valuing

Genuine props from old movies have nearly tripled in value in comparison with ten years ago. The market for props is booming, and collectors and investors alike are purchasing the props to add to their collections – and their investment portfolios! Specific items, such as props from Star Wars, have sold for record amounts.

The value of an iconic movie prop has to do with several factors:

The Popularity of the Film

Well-known film franchises tend to produce highly valuable movie props. Think Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Star Wars, superhero films, and more! A movie prop from classic films such as Willy Wonka, The Wizard of Oz, It’s a Wonderful Life, and others are also sought after.

How Iconic the Prop Is

If the movie prop has a huge role in the plot of the film, such as the sled from Citizen Kane, then the movie prop will be considered highly collectible due to how iconic it is in cinema history.

The Condition of the Prop

Props in excellent condition will fetch a higher price than those in poor condition. There are companies and individuals that are dedicated entirely to preserving and restoring movie props. This collector has made a business out of restoring movie props!

Preservation and Exhibition of Movie Props

Movie props were often not designed to last, so restoring and preserving these iconic pieces of film history is a full-time job for some! Professional restorers are highly experienced when it comes to taking care of props, and they do a great job of keeping them looking great.

Private collectors of movie props seek to keep them in tip top shape, but there are also plenty of public museums and exhibitions that share these pieces of art with the public. An example is The Movie Prop Experience, located in Las Vegas, Nevada. You do not need a reservation to view this exhibition of movie props, and private tours are available!


What is the most expensive movie prop?

One of the most valuable movie props of all time is the Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956). This prop sold for a whopping $5.38 million at a New York auction.

What happens to movie props after filming?

In the past, movie props were not considered valuable, and they were often destroyed after filming. Today, movie props are a popular collectible item that are often preserved for posterity or sold at auction for a high price.


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