The Tony Hillman Collection.
The Tony Hillman Collection, featured 129 lots of cinema and film lobby cards and stills, Star Wars press books and literature, Photoplay and other monthly film magazine groups including Empire, Film and Picture Show etc; plus movie posters and production notes, film scripts and screenplays.
“The collection started in 1955 when on holiday in Great Yarmouth I got the idea of collecting autographs, the first ones being Ronnie Ronald, The Beverly Sisters and Charlie Chester. Returning home to Birmingham every Saturday evening I’d go to the Hippodrome and wait at the stage door for autographs of the variety artists, getting anyone who came out so my first books were mainly of unknown names. I rarely went to the other city theatre, the Alexander, which did plays, as at that time I didn’t know of many actors but I did get Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
As I got older and more knowledgeable about actors, I started doing trips to London to get top names and by that time I’d started building up a collection of film magazines and books and bits and pieces scrounged from cinema managers
By the late 60’s and being in a dead-end job and with my interest in the cinema I decided to try for a job in the industry and got one in the publicity department of Classic Cinemas based in London’s West End. Being close to the theatres and hotels made it easy at times for getting top names, such as one evening after a few minutes wait at Claridge’s getting Bing Crosby then a walk around the corner and getting Fred Astaire coming out of the Athenaeum, while at other times it could be a long fruitless wait.
Contacts in the distributor’s publicity departments helped build up “Classics” stills collection and mine until in 1974 Classic’s head office was closed. I asked what was going to happen to the publicity material and was told to help myself, so I did, taking the lot,
After moving North in the early 70’s I started writing a film column for a local magazine and doing research on films made in the North East and the film actors born in the region. I put the information to use by doing talks for various groups and when it was the “Centenary of the Cinema” I got six plaques for the region and put my collection to use by mounting a good number of exhibitions.
It’s now come to the point to thin some of the collection down and hope that it will give enjoyment to some other collectors."
The collection was part of the 26th Septembers TV and Film Related sale held at Vectis Auctions, Thornaby.