THE POSTER - COLLECTOR'S MANUAL
For more than a century, movie posters have been used around the world to inform the public about the release of films in theaters. They are hung on the fronts of movie theaters to promote the films on display, competing in beauty to catch the eye of passers-by. After being exhibited in movie theaters, most posters are usually destroyed, but a small part of them fortunately end up in the collections of film libraries, cinephiles and collectors who quickly understood the importance of these vintage movie posters for the history of Cinema. Because the movie poster is a way to immerse yourself in the emotion of a film, to keep a physical link with it. Displayed or stored with a minimum of precaution, or even restored and backed up by a professional, these posters go through time and thus continue to bear witness to a film, an art and an era.
Did you know ? The very first movie poster in the world was a French poster!
It was the poster for the Lumière brothers' film l'Arroseur Arrosé (The Waterer Watered), designed by Marcellin Auzolle in 1896! Its format, which was 120x160cm, is still used today as a standard in France for large French movie posters. But this format is not a global standard, nor the only format existing in France. In the United States, for example, the most common poster size is 69x102cm (27"x40") or 69x104cm (27"x41"). The magnificent Belgian posters are about 35x55cm (14"x20"). Poster formats therefore vary a lot from country to country. For more information on movie poster sizes, check out our movie poster sizes page. Some movie posters are very informative (on the cast, the genre of the film) while others compete in originality to stand out and arouse the curiosity of the viewer. Until the 90s, movie posters were generally illustrated by great poster artists (Mascii, Grinsson, Soubie, Belinsky, Struzan…) who imagined flamboyant and irresistible visuals. The use of photomontage - which can also be quite beautiful - has since supplanted illustration, with a trend towards standardization of visuals for more recent films (with abusive use of Photoshop), although there are still notable exceptions. The style of posters also varies a lot from one country to another, which is of course explained by the difference in culture, but also by the fact that each country calls on local poster designers, the palm of the originality probably going to Polish posters with their surprisingly conceptual visuals. Our poster catalog endeavors to reflect this extraordinary variety of styles and formats, with a large choice of movie posters from all origins (France, USA, Italy, Japan ...) and for each country, the largest choice of possible formats.
What is an “original” movie poster?
"Original" movie posters are posters that were used in movie theaters at the time of the film's release. Therefore, original posters are second-hand posters. Unlike reproductions which are printed on demand, the number of original movie posters is limited as most movie posters are destroyed after use. In addition, those that remain are sometimes destroyed by mistake during inheritance or domestic incidents (fire, flood ...). Logically, the longer a film has been released in theaters, the smaller the number of poster copies is remaining. All movie posters in our catalog are original and vintage. Note that the most important films may have several theatrical releases several years apart, most often with a new poster created for the occasion. We then speak of original re-release posters. Original re-release posters are generally less expensive than original 1st-release posters, although there are exceptions when the re-release visual is more sought after by collectors. Note also that the dates of the first theatrical release are not always the same from one country to another, sometimes with many years of difference, in the event of censorship for example. In France, Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released in 1982, while the film dates from 1974. Other movies were released in the event of a late breakthrough with a given audience (the animated films by Hayao Miyazaki, for example, were only distributed in Europe at the end of the 90s).
How do I know if a movie poster is original?
Professionals take into account several parameters to validate the authenticity of a movie posters, such as the visual, its dimensions, the printer, the logos, the print quality, the nature of the paper ... In addition, these parameters vary from country to country for the same film. Years of experience are therefore required to be able to authenticate a movie poster. The best way to be sure of buying an original one is therefore to go to shops specializing in original movie posters such as www.mauvais-genres.com
Where to find an authentic original movie poster?
In Movie Poster stores such as www.mauvais-genres.com, whose expertise over many years guarantees the authenticity of the film posters in their catalog.
How do I know if the poster is in good condition? that it is well preserved?
Movie posters being by definition second-hand posters, they sometimes show signs of use due to display (pinholes, tapes, etc.). The condition of the poster is essential for the collector because it has a direct impact on the value of the poster. For the sake of precision, we have decided to use a graduation from C1 to C10, C10 being the best mark (“new”). The posters in our catalog are second-hand posters, so the mark awarded can never exceed C9 ("as new").
How are posters protected during shipping?
As collectors ourselves, we take special care in the packaging of the posters. Movie posters are carefully packaged and protected in sturdy containers before shipping. Rolled posters are sent rolled, original folded posters are sent folded, always in reinforced packaging (cardboards, etc.). In addition, packages are always sent with a tracking number, which allows you to follow all the stages of the package until delivery.
How to hang a Poster?
Generally speaking, framing a movie poster is the most popular way to highlight it. You can buy your frames in DIY and decoration stores at attractive prices, or have your poster framed by a professional framer. The latter solution is more expensive but it allows a custom framing of the movie poster, with better quality materials, and it also offers more choices for the color and style of the frame. Note also that there is no large format frames on the market (eg 120x160 cm); So to frame large posters, either you are a handyman and you make the frame yourself, or you call on a framer who will make a custom frame, or you choose another system than the frame to hang your poster (see below).
Important tip: always wait until you have your poster in hand before buying your frame! Indeed the formats indicated are always approximate! For example, we are talking about large French movie posters 120x160cm, but it is in fact a family of posters! That is, there can be a few centimeters of difference from one film to another depending on the choices of the printer and the upstream film distributor.
To hang your poster inexpensively, you can also use pins at the corners, but be aware that this technique is not recommended by the most meticulous collectors because it causes holes in the poster, and posters pinned in places subject to drafts may tear, especially in large formats.
Another fairly common and inexpensive hanging system, which has the advantage of not altering the poster: drawing clips because they have a hole for hanging the clip on a nail. In recent years there has also been an inexpensive system of “Poster snaps” which are sticks that can be clipped onto the top and bottom of the poster, which can then be hung on a nail. On the other hand, tape and sticky fixing pastes are to be avoided, the tape being permanent, and the fixing paste often leaving indelible greasy stains on the paper!
How do you remove the folds from a Poster?
Movie posters are often folded by the printer, because the folded packaging facilitates storage and delivery of the posters to movie theaters. For many collectors, these folds are part of the charm and authenticity of the vintage poster, which is as they have admired it in movie theaters. If you still want to reduce poster creases, you can always try the old (but dangerous) iron method, which consists of ironing the poster's creases on the reverse side with an iron without steam by placing a clean cloth between the iron and the poster to limit the heat and the risk of burns. You can also gently roll the poster for a while before displaying it. These methods do not work if the ink is "broken" at a fold, the resulting white line being irreversible.
The most orthodox method remains of course the linenbacking of the poster by a professional who can also restore the poster to remove the white lines if necessary.
How do you protect a poster that you won't be displaying right away?
Keep your movie posters away from light, humidity and dust, for example in a cupboard, or in a box under the bed. If they are folded and large in size, you can keep them folded, being careful not to stack them too much, and not to put heavy objects on your poster pile, as excessive weight on your posters could accentuate the wear at the folds. If your posters are small, you can choose to store them flat or roll them together. For long-term storage, the most careful collectors will opt for non-acid envelops and non-acid dividers to separate posters such as Melinex or Hollytex.
What are the most popular posters?
Unsurprisingly, the most sought-after movie posters are those of the biggest box office hits: Star Wars, James Bond, Back to the Future posters ... which is quite normal given the pleasure that these sagas have brought to many of us. Certain directors (Tarantino, Miyazaki ...) and actors (Steve McQueen, Belmondo...) are also particularly appreciated.
Which posters are the most expensive ?
Posters of cult films from the Golden Age of Hollywood are regularly among the most expensive sold, in particular the first Universal horror films, like the Mummy, 1932 film with the great Boris Karloff in the title role ($ 453,000 for the last known sale), or the Dracula of 1931, with Bela Lugosi ($ 523,000). The original posters of these cult films are not only absolutely magnificent but also almost impossible to find, most of the posters of the time having been destroyed or lost, moreover for the cinephiles they are unique testimonies of an era and of an art, which explains why prices are soaring.
Note that collectors of rare posters usually look for the movie poster relating to the country of origin of the film, in this case Dracula and the Mummy are American films, so it is the American posters that have seen their prices soar. Likewise, the most expensive movie poster in the world ($ 690,000) is the German poster for Metropolis, a 1927 German science fiction film directed by Fritz Lang. Of course we are talking about extremely rare posters here.
Most of the cinema posters in circulation have a much more modest value, varying from around fifteen dollars for the most recent posters to a few thousands dollars, with nevertheless an overall upward trend in prices, probably linked to the scarcity of original movie posters in circulation.
How to estimate the price of a poster?
To evaluate the price of a poster, you must first gather as much reliable and if possible recent information on completed sales concerning identical documents (same year, country, format, etc.), and a maximum of information on current sales. The condition of the document is essential: a document in good condition will obviously sell for more than a damaged document. Evaluating the price of a poster is therefore not an easy thing, but not impossible with time and method. Our online catalog contains thousands of movie poster references, in all formats and countries, and can also give you an idea of the current rating of your movie poster.