Welcome to The Norwich
Peter Cossey has been
running The Norwich Movie Shop for nearly three decades. An
avid collector as well as dealer in all manner of movie
memorabilia, Peter has the knowledge, experience and contacts
to help you find that special piece of movie memorabilia.
Digger caught up with Peter
to discuss his movie memorabilia business.
Can you please
tell us a little bit about your background and that of The
Norwich Movie Shop Peter?
Peter: I've had the shop 26 years - 27 this year, in fact.
Before that I was dealing for about five years, travelling all
over the country doing fairs. And before that I was just a
collector - I've been a collector since the fifties. So I've
been dealing in this stuff one way or another for a long
Digger: Did you used to go to the Westminster fairs?
Peter: I did. I started
there from the early eighties 'til the mid-nineties.
Digger: I was probably one of
your customers and didn't realise it!
Peter: I went to the
big ones in March and September.
Digger: Yes, hundreds of stalls. Ed Mason ran one and I can't
remember the other guy...
Peter: Don Walker. A
great friend of mine Don.
Digger: I was collecting a lot on British films from the
sixties. I was collecting on The Net from the mid-nineties.
Peter: It used to be massive on The Net. In 1998, when I first
started on eBay, it was easy to sell any magazines and ephemera
from the forties and fifties. Not any more - there's too many
of them about. It's been swamped, I'm afraid. Mind you, if you
get the right stuff you can still do well. I've had a really
good time on eBay this year and made a lot of money. But
that's only because I had some really special things to sell.
You can't do it all the time.
Digger: That's right.
I've got a friend who has sold a lot of his collection of
original Avengers and Thunderbirds Super 8 movies and he's
selling them for hundreds, but once they're gone they're gone.
Peter: I've been
selling Super 8 items this year. Film goes tremendously well
on eBay and the Americans and Europeans buy it. Then, after
that, I sold a lot of old projector lenses and camera lenses
and they went fantastically well. Of course, they're all gone
now and you can't replace these things anymore because they
just aren't around.
Digger: I was talking
to one of the vinyl guys who is selling a lot to eastern
Europe and he says he feels a little bit guilty about sending
all of this stuff east. But in the old days it would be Japan
or America, so really it's just moving around the world.
Peter: The lenses go
well in China and Hong Kong.
Digger: Please tell us more about what is on offer Peter.
Everything you can think of really. I do all movie
memorabilia, but only vintage. I don't like modern stuff.
what's your cut-off Peter?
well! That REALLY is a cut-off.
Before 1970, I'm happy to touch anything, but after that I'm very
fussy. I have all the modern DVDs, of course, but what I
specialise in is vintage DVDs and world cinema. I've also got
a big collection of videos which can sell for a lot of money.
you transferring them to newer formats?
just selling them as straight VHS tapes. A lot of the stuff on
VHS you can't get on DVD and they can go really well. A
lot of people still like videos and to play them. One chap
bought a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which you can buy anywhere on
DVD, but this was on video and he said he believes it belongs
on a video. Because it was shot on cheap cine film and he says he
likes the grain and the faded colours and so on of the old
That's good, turning those into a positive.
People still like video and it's becoming a collector's market
- small but keen.
Just a couple of years ago you'd be going into charity shops
and there'd be loads and loads of videos where people had
moved over to DVD. Now you see loads and loads of old DVDs
where they've gone over to streaming on-demand!
Charity shops won't take videos anymore. Literally, they can't
give away video tapes.
they said vinyl was going to die and that came back stronger
is massive. I sell lots of vinyl in the shop. Good prices too
- £20, £30 or £40 for seventies LPs, no problem.
you buying collections as well?
Peter: I buy
all my stuff through the door. I get offered all sorts of
Digger: Is The Internet
changing the way you're doing things?
I'm doing things in the shop exactly the way I used to but I'm
using The Internet as well. Most shops like mine are
struggling or have disappeared.
used to frequent, on a regular basis, The Movie Shop in Great
Russell Street in London.
knew you were going to say that. He went a couple of years
ago. When people talk about movie collecting in London they
always talk about that shop.
also lost Rare Discs/Dean Street Records. It was run by twins
and the first time I went there I was greeted by one of them
upstairs and then went down to the basement and was greeted by
another. I wondered how he had got down there faster than me!
was a great record shop.
It's just the rummaging thing that I enjoyed.
People still do. Records are really, really big. In fact, the
funny thing is, unlike the other stuff, a lot of the younger
people are going for the vinyl. I had a young girl in her late
teens, early twenties in here...
you're attracting the young girls are you Peter? (Both laugh)
seem to. The vinyl attracts them. It is strange but good,
because it means there's a new market and that doesn't apply
to a lot of the other stuff. A lot of the vintage comics and
magazines belong to an older era and I'm afraid there's nobody
coming up to buy them now.
suppose there's a few people like me who remember them the
first time around and want to have it again out of nostalgia?
lots. They still sell but they don't sell like they used to.
Digger: What sort of feedback and comments have you been
getting from clients? It's international I suppose?
all over. Last night I had a guy from Australia who found my
website and he bought a couple of posters off me. He bought a
couple of Australian posters.
Yes, 'day bills' I think they call them?
That's right. There was one on my website which he didn't have
that he bought. He also bought another one I had - a double
bill of Somebody Up There Likes Me and The Shiralee both from
1958. The Shiralee is an Australian movie and he obviously
collects Australian stuff. So, you never can tell. I sell
lenses to China, Rumania, all over eastern Europe - all over
the web is becoming more important to you?
Peter: Yes. I
built a new website last year - just called Norwich Film
Posters which is just all photographs of the posters available
What do you collect Peter?
always did like the silent movies. The early years of cinema
have always been a great passion of mine. I've got a big
collection of my own but I like the really early days of
cinema. D.W. Griffith and so on.
you hate CGI like me?
Everybody hates CGI, except the kids, of course, who don't
know any different.
will say to people I'm not going to see a movie because it is
CGI and they don't know what I mean. Even when watching War
Horse, I thought "Here it comes."
can't handle CGI and most real film buffs simply don't like
Good, it's not just me being awkward again.
hasn't got a good reputation at all.
doesn't look right.
Digger: How is business at the moment Peter?
only trouble with having a shop like mine these days is that
there is money about but things are a
little bit tighter than they were. And if you've got heavy
overheads you can struggle but luckily I keep my overheads
well under control. I've got three floors here. I used to rent
out two floors but I decided to get rid of all the tenants. Now I've got all three floors to myself
now and I've never done so well. It's slower than it should be
and tight sometimes but it's okay.
you're running a successful business in one of the most
doing alright with the shop and I'm now going to expand the
website side of things a lot more this year.
Digger: What are the best things and what do you most enjoy
about running The Norwich Movie Shop?
could say the customers and meeting people because it can be
very enjoyable. You get such a variety of people in - some very
interesting people. On a good day, for example, I had Carroll
Baker's mother-in-law came in once. And a relative of the horror
movie director James Whale. People with all sorts of odd
connections come in and of course I get a lot of the actors
who come to the Theatre Royal in Norwich.
Digger: Sometimes they're
trying to build-up a collection of stuff related to their
once put a lovely Lana Wood Photoplay magazine in the shop
window with her on the cover and she didn't buy it because she
was outbid. But she said "Before you sell it would you please
send me a photocopy?" So I sent her three photocopies and she
signed some for me and sent them back. They do collect their
was bidding on behalf of an actress one time - she appeared on
some records in the late fifties when she was a child star and
she wanted some copies for her old mum and didn't want to bid
herself. So I ended-up bidding against Americans in the middle
of the night! I had to do a last minute bid as there was a lot
of interest in them. She won it though.
eBay, what I do is think of the most you'll pay, put that bid
on and then go to bed. I would have said to her just put on a
silly bid, something huge. Of course you're never going to
have to pay it.
Hopefully! You're talking about expanding on the web.
What other plans have you got?
going to do a lot more on Amazon, I want to get the website
working better and I'll be doing more on eBay. I've been doing
sales on eBay for fourteen years.
were a pioneer weren't you? You must have been one of the
first, bidding against yourself like me! (Both laugh) I
was on eBay then too.
started on eBay very early and did ever so well. Everything I
put on, I could sell.
Digger: They must love you?
There's not a lot of sentiment on eBay - you have to keep
performing. The thing on eBay is you let things find their own
level - I sold something recently which I would have asked £5
for in the shop and it made £566. We were looking at the bids
and thinking "Why is he paying £566 for this?" I can't
understand it - some guy in China wanted it and somebody was
bidding against him almost as much as him. eBay is good for
things like that and Amazon is good for putting as much as you
like on there and it stays there forever, costs you nothing
and then every so often you get a 'sold' email.
Digger: A lot of people use
eBay as a straightforward shop front and not as an auction as
it was originally intended.
don't like to use it as a shop, I prefer to use it as an
auction. I use Amazon as a shop because more people's first
choice, if they want to buy something, is to see if they can get
it cheap on eBay. But if they want to buy something they go on
Digger: There are only a
handful of websites that people will instinctively frequent
now aren't there? - Google, eBay, BBC, Amazon, iTunes, iPlayer - they have
it sewn up.
That's true - there's a handful of key websites and everything
else you can totally forget about.
Digger: We have more choice
which gives us less choice.
That's right. I've made money this year on Amazon, on our
website and on eBay, so that's handy. If I can just keep on
Digger: And you have the
physical shop as well. Do people still see it as a place to
come to from far and wide?
they come from all over the country because Norwich is quite a
big shopping and tourist area and people find me and come back
year after year.
Digger: I've got a good
excuse to come over Peter.
time David. Everyone loves the shop. They all walk round and
say "It's wonderful and there's nothing like this where we
come from" and comments like that.
Digger: We seem to know a lot
of the same people.
collector's fraternity is a fairly small one but there's a
wide public outside of that who buy off us.
Digger: Well, thanks Peter for
letting us know about the history of The Movie Shop and what
you are doing.
The Norwich Movie Shop -
Autographs . Books . Cult TV . Collectables . Comics . Star
Wars . James Bond . Pop Memorabilia . Dr Who . Toys . Games .
Posters . Magazines . Cinema & Film . Movie Memorabilia
I'm not the biggest, but some say I'm the best. I've been
buying movie memorabilia since the 50's; collecting it since
the 60's; dealing in it since the 70's; and have had the shop
in Norwich since 1985.
The Movie Shop
11 St. Gregory's Alley
Norwich Norfolk NR2 1ER