Buying Movie Posters – Our Tips to Help You

There’s a real sense of history having an original vintage movie poster displayed on your wall. They are fabulous wall space fillers and can be a real conversational centrepiece in your room. The movie poster could be from your favourite film/actor or just that you like the particular art work. As a collector of movie posters for over fifteen years and a dealer for six I thought I would share with you some simple tips on what to look out for when buying movie posters.

  1. Do your homework.

Be thorough in what you are buying. It’s your hard earned money that you are spending so ask the seller questions until you are entirely happy. Questions you should be asking the seller are –

Where did the poster come from?

What are the defects on the poster?

What size is the poster?

These three questions are very important, they will help you determine whether the poster is an original or not. There are many poster reference sites out here which help with exact sizes of particular posters.

If you are buying online make sure that you receive photos of the poster that you are interested in.

  1. Don’t buy a reproduction! – Ok this isn’t strictly true.

if you want a film poster of the classics, think Breakfast at Tiffany’s, early Bogart & Universal Horror then this can set you back from anywhere between £1000 – £500000. You can pick up reproduction prints quite easily, don’t spend anything more than £20 on the prints though! And please don’t attempt to pass them on as originals.

  1. Speak to an expert.

If you see a poster that’s for sale at what seems a very low price then it may not be what it seems, ask for help. There are some people out there that pass off copies as an original. These can be spotted by an expert eye. You can ask a dealer for advice. Most of us are willing to help you out. A simple email to myself with a link to the particular poster you are interested in can save you hundreds of pounds.

  1. Buying Movie Posters that are linen backed.

– This is entirely down to your own preference. Some people won’t collect linen backed posters and some do. I have some in my collection as the titles I collect are hard to find in an unrestored excellent condition. You may not find an unrestored poster (especially if it is very old) for years so this is your decision. As for value, in my opinion a linen backed poster would fetch less than an untouched original providing that hasn’t got too much damage.

  1. Do not collect for investment.

It really irks me that there are dealers out there who advertise their posters as investments and investment quality. Yes, some poster prices have steadily risen over the last ten years however you will not get rich buying posters for future profits. Please understand that.

  1. Enjoy the experience.

Trying to find that elusive poster should be fun. The hunt and negotiation in price are what makes this industry so exciting. I discovered a poster a few months ago which I had been trying to find for many years, be patient and they will show up.

  1. Condition is important – but not that important.

Movie posters are pieces of history, years ago when print runs were low in numbers it wasn’t unusual to see a poster passed from cinema to cinema and as you can imagine, the constant putting up and taking down caused the poster to incur defects. When buying you will have to factor in different aspects such as..

How much damage does the poster have? Most collectors can live with a poster with tears, pinholes and light smudges. It’s all about your preference, I have posters which have serious issues but they still look wonderful.

Is it still displayable? (If of course you want to display it) Will it still frame up? If you are after a scarce poster and wish to display it you may consider getting it restored.

How much would it cost to buy a better conditioned one? (If available) You may see the poster you want in different conditions. If you see a poster which is a fraction of the cost of a ‘mint’ one and it has only pinholes then I would purchase the pinholes one. (Then you can spend the money you saved on more posters).

We hope these tips on buying movie posters help you make an informed decision on who and what to purchase. Why not visit our website and see what we can offer you at 

Read our guide to packaging movie posters here.


Leave a Reply