Why would anyone want to collect rare movie posters. They’re just old and dusty print of dubious quality art aren’t they? While, that may be true it doesn’t prevent the hundreds or thousands of sales every year of posters from movies gone by. Rare movie posters are fun for a lot of reasons.
First of all, their nostalgic. They can, like many things of a olden nature, stir pleasant memories in many of us. Providing of course, that you pick out the right posters. Preferably some form movies that had significant emotional gravity for you. A few for me, would be The Natural, any old B grade horror flicks, and a select few science fiction.
Collecting things is a bit of an obsession in itself. Some would call us collectors, while others prefer the term pack rat. Whether it’s posters, hamsters, cars, or chocolate bar wrappers, it’s all the same. It’s just something people like to do. I have a thing for DVDs, CD’s and books. Mind you, the internet and all it’s digital forms are rendering those collectible past times somewhat obsolete.
Movie posters on the other had, are pretty hard to store on your hard drive. While, they certainly can be viewed online, it’s really not the same thing. It’s my newest obsession, and one that even the digital century can’t take away from me.
Ever since the advent of real home theaters, the collecting of rare and vintage movie posters has come more into vogue. There’s just something cool and very nostalgic about having posters from the golden age of movies. Especially, if you can do it up in a nice vintage frame, like the theaters of old used to use. If your good at the garage sale and flea market circuit, then you may luck out and find the perfect setting for your posters.
The nice thing about collecting old movie posters, is there’s so many genres to choose from. The variety makes it pretty easy to find something that will reflect your personal tastes. It really doesn;t matter, whether it’s old campy “B” grade horror flicks, something more romantic like an old “Affair To Remember” poster with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, or a classic Kubrick Space Odyssey 2001 poster. Maybe your a foreign film buff? There all great images, and show to get you in the movie viewing mood, or simply impart on your visitors (loyal patrons?) what kind of movies you find interesting.
Don’t forget to take into account the decor and style of the other physical surroundings in your home theater. Or maybe it’s the other way around. How about finding your favorite movie posters, and then designing your movie room to match the posters. Perhaps a southern plantation style if your a big fan of Gone With The Wind. Perhaps Science Fiction is where your tastes take you? How about a few Captain Kirk style chairs to view the latest space operas available. All you Lord Of The Ring fans must have a room completed in the Rivendell motif, that Lord Elrond would be proud of.
Perhaps your just a movie poster collector. That’s fine to. I’ve known plenty of movies that were dreadful, but created some great rare movie posters. Sometimes, it’s better to save $10 plus price of admission and just buy the poster.
Have you ever noticed how some movie posters seem strangely familiar. The el cheapO Hollywood marketing crowd often rehashes good movie posters to save a few bucks. The just change the characters, names and a few colors and all of a sudden, instant movie poster marketing magic. Althought sometimes they’re just leveraging previous movie success. How many sci fi films came out after the success of Star Wars that were strangely reminiscient of the original posters from Star Wars? Did they really think they could fools us that easily.
Whatever movie posters you end up adding to your collection, be sure to have them taken care of. Truly original movie posters were usually printed on some pretty cheap material. They weren’t really meant to last for a long time. There are proper ways of framing, storing and displaying these prints that will prolong their life span. Keeping them out of direct sunlight is just one of them. But there are others.
The price of anything is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay. This is true for movie posters, collectible cars, or ice cream cones. When dealing with rare and collectible items, there are several factors that must be considered that you don’t normally worry about. By their definition, rare move posters are valued by the fact that they are hard to find. What makes them hard to find, is usually their age, availability, and authenticity. Quite often very few of this pieces of art were ever made, and those that were have been lost in antiquity.
While it’s true, that reproductions are often available, and quite easy to create with todays technology. They just don’t have the same significance as a true original. It’s kind of hard to explain the mind set of a collector. They are more then willing to spend significantly more money for a poster or print the is an original. It’s a nostalgic sort of thing.
There are several ways of determining, if rare movie posters are the original posters or simply reproductions. The size of the paper, is one indication. The sizing used for most modern movie posters is pretty standard, yet different for say movie posters prior to 1940. Paper texture can also provide clues into the age of the posters. Any movie prints developed after 1940 contain dates and codes near the bottom of the prints distributed by National Screen Services.
During the sixties and seventies, movie poster art was extremely popular and profitable for several companies. One of the more established being Portal Publications. While there is nothing wrong with these reproductions from a quality or copyright perspective, to the die hard movie poster collector, their simply not the real deal. Remember that “nostalgic” thing? Most true original movie posters were 27 inches by 41 inches. Any poster you find, that vary from those dimensions, are likely reproductions.
The reproductions were very authentic, and even today after 30 or 40 years, they will seem somewhat aged. But if you check in the fine print near the bottom of the prints, you may find copyright printing by Port Publications or other reproduction companies. This is a dead give away that poster is not an original.
The other thing to look out for, is if the artwork is actually a re-release. When movies were re-released, there was often a batch of new promotional posters created at the same time. While this may seem like an insignificant point to many, it’s not to serious collectors. These prints are not true original posters. These can be harder to identify, as they were printed by the original movie companies. If there is any text or lettering that suggests the movie is having a second go in the theatres, then your probably looking at a non original poster.
While authenticity is one big factor to influence the value of your rare movie poster, it’s not the only one. The quality of the specimen, and the number of posters actually printed will have a bearing as well. While it’s somewhat ironic, the lower quality movies that had less posters printed, will likely be worth more due to their rarity these days.