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Hollywood Auctioneer Touches Base with Japan

SNA (Tokyo) — “It’s probably the fastest area of collecting because there are very few things that you can collect that are international in scope.” So says Joe Maddalena, president of Profiles in History, a California-based auction house, in his recent exclusive interview with the Shingetsu News Agency.

Maddalena was referring to Hollywood memorabilia, which unlike most elements of culture is now truly global in scope. Whether it be on the streets of Los Angeles or on the streets of Tokyo, “If you walk around and say Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Terminator, they know who he is.”

It seems to be a combination this universal appeal, nostalgia society, and the greater reach provided by internet livestreaming of auctions that is making this such a rapidly growing industry.


Jacket worn by Prince in movie Purple Rain

Maddalena is currently promoting a large-scale auction he will hold in Los Angeles on June 29 to 31, which will feature as its headline items a motorcycle jacket and white ruffled shirt worn by Prince in the movie Purple Rain. Maddalena obtained these items just a few months ago in what he calls “a weird twist of fate.” The untimely death of the legendary musician on April 21 has naturally sent interest in these particular items skyrocketing among collectors.

Maddalena himself has a lifetime of experience in the auction industry. His film memorabilia company really took off when he won the contract to decorate about a hundred outlets of the theme restaurant Planet Hollywood just as it was launching in 1991.

His visit to Tokyo at the present juncture relates to his desire to find a partner to host a Hollywood-themed exhibition in Japan.

However, Maddalena’s connection with Japan reach back to the Bubble Era of the 1980s, and in many ways he is now just touching base with old friends and contacts. Over the years he himself has collected about 2,000 Japanese movie posters, including very rare ones. He reckons this his collection is probably the most important one held outside of Japan.

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