Tips for Collecting Movie Posters
Collectors often come to us at Prestige Estate Services looking for movie memorabilia and movie posters. The glamour and mystique of Hollywood are captured by these fun and popular collectibles. If you’d like to start collecting movie posters, read on for some tips.
Movie posters are actually a type of advertising that film studios use to promote their movies. They are part of a larger category of paper advertising items called “movie art,” which encompasses movie posters as well as press releases, postcards and other promotional items. You can get burned if you’re not careful buying movie posters, because many that are billed as “original” are actually not legitimate “collectibles.” Movie posters are only collectible if they meet certain standards. So how do you know if your movie poster is a collectible?
While just about anything is collectible if there’s a demand for it, certain factors will determine any collectible’s value. For movie art to be considered collectible, it must have been created by the movie studio and used as theater advertising. Movie posters were used for that purpose and destroyed or returned after the film’s run, which means they are relatively rare. This scarcity is what makes them valuable. Collectible movie posters are only those that were printed in limited numbers and not the kind that were mass-produced to be given or sold to the public.
Usually, advertising posters were very large, so you can usually tell by the smaller size whether a poster was used for studio advertising or produced for the public. Reprints, or reproductions of original movie posters, are also not considered collectible because they are also copies produced in large quantities for mass consumption.
Once you’ve found a collectible movie poster, you need to determine what it might be worth. Some movie posters are worth more than others. It helps to know some film history and do a little research to find out things like how many of a certain poster were printed at the time, or what year the poster was issued. Many films were released and then re-released later. Often, the original posters are more valuable than the posters for the re-released films. The popularity of the film, and conversely, its obscurity, can help increase its value. You will find collectors who like popular subjects, like Alfred Hitchcock or Star Wars, and those who covet unusual foreign directors.
While basing value on the subject matter of a given poster can be a bit subjective, there are some objective ways to determine what your movie poster might be worth. Rarity, demand and age are all factors dealers use in setting a price for a movie poster, as is condition. Posters with tears, wrinkles, defects, creases, holes and stains will be less valuable than those in mint condition.
If you’re patient and do your research, collecting movie posters can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Check out our online store for movie posters, collectible memorabilia and much more.