Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

For second consecutive year, I wish you from here a happy day with your families and/or loved ones! Enjoy the Solstice! :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas header

Hey guys!

My brother, who also did the Halloween header some months ago, has developed a very nice and fun Christmas header to adorn the site now during the holidays. A perfect Solstice gift!

Hope you like it!

Cheers and stay tuned for more!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The original prices of the Creation Ent replicas

Hello everyone!

I've just found this article in Chris' site Xena Stuff, and I couldn't wait to share.

Why the importance? Well, it includes several photos taken from the Creation Ent merchandise catalogs that show the original price that many Creation Ent replicas were sold for. Now, as a Creation Ent Xena replicas collector myself, I find this VERY important. It provides a most valuable starting point reference - a very useful tip to know if a price may be ok or not.

Let's analyze these cases one by one, and do a little comparison to see how these numbers look like today - are the current prices of the Creation Ent replicas higher, lower or similar that back then?

>> NOTE: Please note that this article doesn't intend to take into account the devaluation of money because of inflation. $499 could buy a lot more in the late 90's early 2000's that it can now in 2014. However that's not the point of this information - my only purpose is to analyze how the prices of these replicas have behaved since they were first in the market up to now.

Original Chakram - Original price: $499

First, of course, the Original chakram. It originally sold for $499 plus shipping. Nowadays, that'd be a quite good/low price for one of these. Although they are not the most difficult replicas to spot on sites such as eBay, these chakrams are certainly very rare, and their price tends to reflect that. Their range do varies a lot (I'd say between $600and $1,200), but it's never cheap. 

YY Chakram - Original price: $499

The Yin Yang chakram was also sold for $499. In this case, if we were to sell/buy one of these today that'd probably be a slightly high price. In the past two years I've seen them go from $300-$600 - so it is very possible to find Yin Yang chakrams for less than their original purchase price.

Xena's sword - Original price: $569.95

Xena's sword is a tricky one. I've seen them go for far less than the price shown in the magazine ($300, for example) and for much much more (even more than $1,000). The price always depends on the COA number (a low number will sell for more) and of course on the seller - price is after all subjective to the one that sells and the person that buys. But compared to the current "market price" I'd say the original price would now be a very good deal.

Gabrielle's staff - Original price: $269.95

The case of Gabrielle's staff is far more simple. Of all the replicas here, I have the impression they are the ones that nowadays sell the worst. Their price is usually very low - between $200 and $300. Thus, the original price in the Creation Ent magazine remains a good reference.

Gabrielle's sais - Original price: $569

Ah, Gabrielle's sais. What do I say of you? Even being numbered in 1000 units (the double of pieces as the chakrams) they don't pop out for sale as often as many collectors would expect. And their price is always difficult to predict. I've seen them sell for $200 and for $700. Why? No idea. Visibility? Convergence of people seeking them at the same time?

Xena's breast dagger - Original price: $299

The breast dagger is also a curious case. My first impression to that price is - really? more than Gabrielle's staff? It's waaaaaay smaller. But yes, ladies and gentlemen, it did sell for more. Nowadays the breast daggers are quite unpredictable as well. However, based on my personal experience I'd say their "normal" current price range would be $150-400.

Callisto's sword - Original price: $499

Callisto's sword. If you go to the dictionary and look for "treasure" the picture of Callisto's sword should be around there somewhere. These are the most rare of all the replicas here. In many years I've seen only TWO of these - and only one for sale in recent times. And it went for more than $1,500. So yeah, considering that, their original price would now be a bargain.

Gabrielle's Helicon sword - Original price: $499

Curiously enough, Gabrielle's Helicon sword is also a very rare replica. In a long long time I've seen only one on eBay, last year, and it sold for $875. That's expensive. I guess many fans with completist longings are after one of these (I know a few of them), and that's why always, whenever one of these appears, a very hard battle is fought for it.

Chris' images go this far, but I've added a couple of my own.

Gabrielle's S5 necklace - Original price: $59.95

From todays' perspective, I'd say Gabrielle's S5 necklaces were very affordable in the beginning (even cheap), but now? Now they sell for far far more. I've seen several of these beautiful necklaces come and go in the last few years, and I've almost always seen them sell for more than $200. Wow!

Gabrielle's S6 necklace - Original price: $59.95

Same happens with Gabrielle's S6 necklaces. Maybe even more so - these necklace replicas usually go past the $250. That's quite an increase, if we consider they were originally sold for 60 bucks.


That's all. There were other Creation Ent replicas (Ares' sword, Xena's gauntlets, Xena's armbands, xena's whip...), most of them late replicas done in the end of Creation's tenure as replica distributor - but  these were done by commission and as far as I know were never announced in any of Creation's merchandise catalogs. That's probably why they are so rare (as hard to get as Callisto's sword or Gabrielle's Helicon sword). Take Ares' sword, for example - they only did 5 of them! 5!

Till here this little review on Creation's replicas original prices. Do keep in mind, please: these images and my own elucidations are nothing but mere references. Prices ALWAYS fluctuate, they are not fixed. There's no such a thing as a stable price - prices always change depending on the offer and the demand. Nevertheless, I hope you find this info useful.

More Xena coolness soon! Cheers!

Friday, December 5, 2014

My collection (VII): Creation Ent Xena's Whip 16/?

Hey Xenites!

I still had one more entry pending under the label "My collection": the one for my Xena's leather whip replica, made by the propmasters of the show and distributed by Creation Entertainment.

This kind of Xena whip replica is very beautiful, as well as extremely rare. Here you have some pics of it.

Full view of Xena's whip.

The key difference of this particular version respect other Xena whip replicas is the handle - Creation's whip replica is the only version in which the metal parts are silver instead of gold.

The guard is made out of real metal and is adorned with sun-like geometrical designs. And, of course, it also presents paua shell inlays - Xena's signature touch in most of her weapons.

Front view of the guard, the paui shells and the reliefs.
Perspective view of the guard and the side ornament.
Close-up to the side ornament. 

Both the guard and the pommel are richly weathered with patinas to make the whip look used and "battle-worn".

Close-up to the pommel.

The whip itself is of course made out of genuine black leather, and follows the usual three-parts scheme in all whips: Thong, fall and popper. The leather strips seem to be braided around some sort of metal wire to achieve more sturdiness and higher resistance.

The thong, the fall and the popper.

As all Creation Ent replicas, my whip came with a COA. As you can see below I have number 16 of an unspecified limited edition. Why is that?

Creation's replica whips were produced in the early 2000s for very selected distribution. The original idea was producing only 15 of them, but seeing how fast they were sold Creation Ent decided to expand the edition a little bit. No one knows exactly how many of these were finally made and sold, but it's certain that not many - the highest number I've seen is #31.

The Certificate of Authenticity.

As usual, I leave you know with some photos of Xena using her mighty whip.

Cheers guys!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My collection (VI): Gabrielle's FIN Katana OOAK Metal Prop

Hello everyone!

After Xena's katana, today is turn to take a look at the next treasure of my collection, and certainly one of my biggest prides: the one and only screen-used metal prop of Gabrielle's FIN katana.

This is 100% a one-of-a-kind item: the actual metal prop katana used by Gabrielle (Renée O'Connor) in the series finale, "Friend in Need". Screen-used and screen-matched. Not Marto's replica, and not even a similar twin sister sword - this is the absolute real deal.

The katana and the Saya (sheath) in full length.
The hilt - Tsuba (guard), Tsuka (grip) and Kashira (pommel).

Gabrielle's metal katana is prominently one of the scarce high profile props used in the series that wasn't made by the in-house Prop Department of Pacific Renaissance. It was commissioned to and preciously made by expert sword-smiths and katana makers, and then expressly taken to New Zealand for the shooting of the very last two episodes of Xena Warrior Princess.

The craftsmen responsible for its creation spared no details, and adorned the whole sword with intricate motifs from the Japanese mythology. The result is nothing less than majestic and absolutely breathtaking.

The blade or Sori is adorned with a very characteristic relief composed of an Asian dragon elegantly flying among clouds.

The gorgeous dragon relief in the Sori (blade).

Unlike their better known "evil" and fire-breathing European counterparts, Asian dragons are benign and quasi-divine - good luck deities associated with wind and rainfall. They are represented as very large flying serpentine creatures with clawed feet, most often wingless.

The dragon is the male opposite of the female phoenix.

The dragon is actually the highest-ranking being in the Asian animal hierarchy, and is used as a symbol of wisdom, power and protection. That's why I believe the producers felt it was a perfect match for Gabrielle - who in fact ends up with a magnificent magic-resilient dragon tattoo in her back.

The very same theme continues in the hilt. First, in the silvery dragon-shaped Tsuba (hand guard), that defensively wraps and coils around the Tsuka (grip) to safe keep the hands of the wielder from any harm.

Close-up to one of the sides of the dragon Tsuba (guard).
Close-ups to the other side of the dragon Tsuba (guard).

And then in the Kashira (the butt cap or pommel), which is also engraved with a beautiful protective dragon sigil.

The Kashira (pommel) and its relief.

As you see, black and blue (along with silver) were the chosen colors for Gabrielle. Blue is a neutral and calm color, related to water and air, that faultlessly fits the essence and spirit of the katana.

Of course, very much like Xena's katana, the Tsuka (grip) has a matching palm ornament, but in this case it's concealed by a piece of very soft patterned blue fabric - a wrapping that also marks Gabrielle's rank as general of all the Higuchi Militia.

The blue fabric on the Tsuka (grip) conceals
the dragon Menuki (palm ornament).

Curiously, in this case the Saya (sheath) doesn't continue the general theme of the sword, but complements it. Its top and tip are symmetrically adorned with silvery winged demon (Oni) heads - the one with its wings folded, the other with the wings spread. These two (together with the fleur-de-lis engravings that adorn both end caps) are meant to subtly balance and add more depth to the mythical and mythological motif of the katana.

On the other hand, the middle section of the Saya is also wrapped in blue silk - a touch that nicely plays along with the fabric in the handle.

The Saya (sheath) in full length.
Close-up to the top of the Saya (sheath).
Close-up to the middle section of the Saya (sheath). 
Close-up to the tip of the Saya (sheath).
All the different parts of the Saya (sheath) aligned.

As expected, the sheath presents some scrapes, scuffs and scratches from its set use - nothing major, but if you ask me, it adds yet more character to the sword. And (geek mode on!) in the inside it still has some particles of reddish set dirt/sand from the shooting! So VERY cool.

Gabrielle's katana with Xena's katana (I).
Gabrielle's katana with Xena's katana (II).

All in all, Gabrielle's katana is definitely a magnificent weapon that sums up all her legacy and growth as a warrior - in the thoughts of many, even surpassing her master, Xena. A briefly seen yet unique weapon that in my head she continued to carry and use afterwards.

Gabrielle, bard, warrior and samurai.

These are some of the shots in which we get to see Gabrielle's katana. The first two photos are courtesy of fellow Xenite Sarah Inbody aka Aurora Goddess. Thanks a lot Sarah!

Gabrielle carries the katana in several scenes, and draws it for a close-up shot in the scene when she defends Xena from the Ghost Killer, who she thinks at that time is an enemy.

I always liked how the producers and designers linked her with her katana through the protective dragon tattoo - identical to the one in her sword.

I wouldn't like to finish without a couple of clarifications. There ARE other Gabrielle prop katanas around, but they are all resin or foam. As far as the previous owners and I know, only one metal katana was used by Renée O'Connor in FIN, making this item absolutely unique. The other resin/foam katanas were all molded after this metal one, and most often lack key details like the dragon engraving in the blade.

As Morgan aka Xenasbard, one of the previous owners of the Gabrielle metal katana prop, states in her own entry about it "There has been some confusion over some of the militia swords sold after the show ended. Most of them went to the Turner sale, but Gab's did not. Gab's katana is very easily distinguishable from the Higuchi Militia katanas even though they had some blue on them. Gab's were all sold through IAW (online Yahoo auction), and all have the blue cloth tied to them. The other militia katanas are bluish for the Higuchi warriors, yellow for the bad guys :-). Gabrielle's sword accents were also a slightly different shade." 

Thanks for the info Morgan! Don't miss to check her site, it's tremendous.

That's all for now. Stay tuned for more, people!