Collecting Movie Posters: An Illustrated Reference Guide

Movie posters provide the most vivid window onto the world of film next to films themselves. This advertising art – which also includes lobby cards, window cards, press kits and any memorabilia produced on paper – is highly sought, oftentimes fragile and needs at least a modicum of expertise to identify. The collecting of original artwork can be a very expensive hobby. How can you make sure that you are getting something authentic for a fair price? This is a simple question, but when one scratches the surface the details are numerous and profound.

For the memorabilia dealer and expert collector, there is a vernacular that sounds like a foreign language to novices. Collecting Movie Posters, by Ed Poole and Susan Poole, will turn you into a bona fide specialist for talking and stalking movie art. The authors began their collection in 1985. Like many who are attracted to the art of collecting, they didn’t have much experience. However, the wealth of knowledge they have accumulated through trial and error is generously shared. This convenient paperback reference guide has fewer than 190 pages, but the size is deceiving because between the covers of this book is the most thorough and easy to understand text on this subject.

This well-rounded presentation includes the history of movie posters from 1900 to the present. This builds a foundation of basic knowledge that will surely deepen the interest of any collector, be they buff or beginner. A selected sampling of topics and subtopics includes: “The Basics of Movie Art Collecting,” “Getting Started,” “Learning the Proper Way to Handle and Store Your Posters,” “Determining Authenticity and Value,” “How to Identify Original Release Posters and Rerelease Copies,” “Major Reference Terms” (several which are illustrated), “One Sheets,” “Two Sheets,” “Three Sheets,” “Six Sheets,” “Twelve Sheets,” and “Twenty-four Sheets” – all poster sizes that have their own significant place in the fascinating world of movie advertising.

Some of the most frequently asked questions are where to find this art, what to look for and how to bid on it. This information is vitally important for distinguishing the genuine from the bogus. No one wants to get burned by memorabilia sharpies who can take advantage of the uninitiated. This book will help you avoid the pitfalls and costly mistakes that can be made by the untrained eye. By the same token, knowing the true worth of certain items can sometimes put the buyer in a better position than someone who is selling the memorabilia – we always like to get what we consider a good deal. Collecting Movie Posters points out those details one should look for and take into consideration before they buy.

The condition of posters and other paper art has always been a concern for collectors. Some aquire their posters for personal enjoyment, while others are making an investment. Obviously, pieces the best condition will get the best price. The Pooles note that rarity of title, what is pictured on the poster and even the studio that released it can add or subtract value regardless of condition. They have also included an excellent section on repairs and restoration of posters that may look like lost causes, but can be saved and have their value increased.

Collecting Movie Posters, without a doubt, will turn any level of collector into a specialist on movie art. For those with a serious interest in collecting, this book is a necessary investment, best read before one begins buying. This is the finest, most user-friendly reference guide on the subject, and will certainly become the standard guide for a world of movie lovers who are catching the delirious fever of collecting movie memorabilia.

Madison Morrison