The Ship Papers set includes 13 full-color sheets of various sizes up to 8-1/2″ x 14″. Certificates are hand stamped with the official seals of the Alliance, and are hand signed in English and Chinese by the appropriate Alliance officials. The documents contain endorsements required to operate a variety of ship’s systems, and also include system maps, operating licenses, safety inspections, and a wealth of background material covering all manner of information on what it takes to operate a Firefly-Class Transport in an increasingly bureaucratic and restrictive ‘Verse.
Those documents come wrapped up in a handcrafted leather wallet with brass fittings and a handmade screw-down plate. The Official Serenity Ship Papers are designed to pass muster with the most ornery Alliance thug and the most discriminating Browncoat.
It is these sorts of props that represent what I argue is an emerging compelling type of merchandise: ‘exported fictional artefacts’. I spoke about exported and imported fictional artefacts recently at a presentation I gave to the Australian publishing industry. Exported Fictional Artefacts are, quite simply, products that exist within the fictional world. Harry Potter’s wand, for instance has this trait, but a towel that features Harry Potter the character does not. A few years ago I hypothesized that any product which has this trait would be more popular with fans. The main reason is the ‘immersive’ effect of these products: they bring the fan closer to the fictional world and raise the immersive feel of it.
Anyway, check out the Serenity papers, it is a limited-edition run with 1250 of the 1500 available already sold.