CNBC: Collecting Porn Could Pay Off

Sep 27, 2012 8:30 AM PST

NEW YORK — Porn collecting usually conjures up images of sweaty guys hunkered down in their basements and drooling over their favorite stars’ DVDs or magazines. But certain adult merchandise and memorabilia is not only collectible, but can be valuable.

According to a new CNBC report, some porn like the first issue of Playboy magazine and classic porn film posters in top condition can fetch from $3,000 to $6,500 each.

Although most posters sell in the $300 to $500 range, a mint condition Deep Throat one-sheet can demand more than $5,000.

Dr. Ted McIlvenna, President of the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and curator of the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas, who claims to own more than 3 million erotic items, filling up 34 warehouses, told CNBC that collectors like the vintage material because today’s porn is made “fast and furious” implying that the old films had much more production value.

He pointed out, "One sheets and press books and early stuff like that was part of the American sexual revolution."

Most porn films and DVDs are not hot items however, simply because so many copies and prints flooded the market. But the report said some antique porn films from the early 1900’s, like the first known sex film, “Le Coucher de la Marie," made in 1896 are still valuable to collectors.

“In terms of American antique porn, 1915's ‘A Free Ride’ was the first — and it shows how little plots have progressed in the past 100 years. A man driving a Model-T Ford picks up two women hitchhikers, drives them to the desert — then has sex with them,” CNBC reported.

And ancient hardcore erotic art including paintings, bronze sculptures and objects that feature graphic images of sex may not be talked about by the average collector, but they are sought after nevertheless.

"People are realizing how important erotic art is to both own and display," Naomi Wilzig, founder and President of the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach said.

She added, "People used to cast it aside as sordid, but are now realizing it's important. There's no doubt it's escalating [in value]. And I think the idea of seeing so much escalation not only woke people up to the idea that it was there but [also caused them to think] instead of looking at the smutty side of it, why not look to the more artistic, beautiful side of it?"

And today’s hot sex toy and novelty market may seem like a new phenomenon, but the devices have been around for centuries and some antiques are downright pricey.  What's more, interest in novelties — especially from women — may be giving birth to a new generation of collectible items.

In March 2010, an anonymous British bidder paid more than $5,800 for a pair of French wooden phalluses circa 1700, according to CNBC.

The appeal has today’s sex toy companies especially thinking limited edition items. The article pointed to novelty company Jimmyjane’s recent collaboration with “Tank Girl” comic creator Jamie Hewlett to create a series of sex toys.

Jimmyjane founder Ethan Imboden said that as more artists embrace sex novelties there could be increased public interest.  And that could mean money in the bank for collectors savvy enough to resist the temptation to use their favorite dildo or vibrator and instead stash it away for a rainy day.

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