Remember when an entire generation of teenagers was obsessed with collecting Pokémon cards and Dragon Ball action figures? Similar obsessions have been around for ages and not just among youngsters. A community of people of all ages, communities, and backgrounds loves to collect movie posters.
Now, it may sound like a ridiculous activity to someone who's never looked into it before. However, you will be positively surprised to know that these original vintage posters have an entire fan base behind them, a whole community of people desperately wanting to spend millions of dollars on them.
Apart from the long-term monetary benefits, collecting authentic vintage posters is important to different people for multiple reasons. But, more importantly, if you wish to join the club, there are several things you need to know before investing time and money!
Why Do People Collect Movie Posters?
While many assume it is a pointless obsession amongst teenagers, collecting movie posters sometimes has bigger motivations. In fact, plenty of people pursue it as a means of income. Here are the most popular reasons people collect film posters:
1. The Sentimental Value
It's a common assumption that teenagers (and sometimes adults) collect movie posters solely because of their emotional attachment to the picture. But interestingly, this assumption is not entirely wrong. Think about it, every one of us has watched a movie, heard a song, or read a book that helped us through a significant period in our life.
Whether it touched us in a certain way or helped us cope with our situation better, it holds a special place for us. Hence, it is understandable that some people like to keep souvenirs from their favorite movies. So, they collect film posters. Their intent is sentimental value alone, which is why they cherish it.
These days, the concept of wall art is becoming trendier by the minute. This particular form of interior design is gaining more and more popularity because it's aesthetically pleasing, quirky, and versatile. People like to frame quotes, colorful art, pictures, and original vintage posters and hang them on their walls in groups and clusters.
However, if you think about it, this trend is not new at all! In fact, it's been around for as long as one can remember. For decades, children and teens would collect movie posters and paste them on walls and doors as a form of decoration. In fact, you might have applied posters in your room too! Pasting movie posters works great for decorating studios, home offices, and other private spaces.
3. A Hobby
Often, people who collect old and authentic vintage posters have no emotional attachment to the movie, nor are they interested in monetizing them. In fact, it's nothing more than way to pass time. The idea is very similar to collecting seashells and rocks.
It is common for people to go to beaches in their spare time and collect as many seashells and interesting rocks as they can. They do not have any sentimental value attachment to these collectibles; they do it only because it is fun, and it helps them unwind and relax.
Similarly, some people like to collect original vintage posters as a hobby. It lets them take their minds off stressful things. Plus, it gives them just enough adrenaline boost to uplift their mood, and, quite frankly, it's not hurting them or anybody else, so it's a good pastime activity. Also, collecting film posters may also be a way for them to break free from their worries and stress.
4. A Club Activity
Everyone knows the key to a long-lasting and healthy friendship is a common interest. For some people, this shared interest is to collect movie posters! Moreover, if more than two people are involved, it becomes a club activity.
Think of it as the Pokémon craze that emerged in the 2000s. Kids would win, purchase, and trade cards simply because it was fun and gave them something to do together! Similarly, many people like to collect film posters as a group activity. They share them, boast about them, trade them for other posters, and have a fun time overall.
It gives friends something to bond over and keeps friendships alive! Posters! Such noble things, aren't they? But in all seriousness, it is true; a printed piece of paper has the ability to maintain and possibly improve relationships between people. It allows them to develop a strong bond.
Collecting Vintage Movie Posters
There's a significant difference between a regular movie poster and a vintage or a classic one. Besides the size, aesthetics, and quality of the picture, vintage posters hold much more value than regular ones. Here is everything you should know about collecting these high-value assets:
1. Investment's Point of View
Most people don't know this, but an entire market is dedicated to purchasing and selling movie posters, specifically vintage ones. These markets are for people who collect movie posters and want to monetize them, and you'll be positively surprised to know how much these vintage printed pieces of paper are worth.
To give you a ballpark, enthusiasts spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on them. These posters are so valuable that they are considered legitimate investments in the said market. In fact, original vintage posters are no less than NFTs. The only difference between them is that posters are touchable hard copies while NFTs or Non-fungible Tokens are digital assets.
Other than that, they are both dedicated to a specific group of enthusiasts, highly valuable, and long-term investments. It's funny how people joke about passing down NFTs in their wills as generational wealth. In the past, many wealth-holders have gifted vintage posters to their dearest ones and passed them down to heirs as assets. Those posters are now worth millions of dollars in the international market. So, who's laughing now?
2. How To Collect and What to Know Before?
Unlike shells and rocks, collecting posters requires background knowledge and some preparation. Don't worry; you don't need a dedicated studio in the basement to showcase these posters.
The word "preparation" here means that you need to know what you are doing instead of investing in any and every poster you find. The following are some basic things you should know if you want to collect movie posters:
They Come in All Sizes
Authentic vintage posters are available in different sizes and forms. Over the years, their dimensions have increased and decreased according to the advancing printing technology and purpose of use. For example, you can find a standard size movie poster, a larger one originally made for a billboard, and tiny ones released as photographic lobby cards.
The Older and Rarer, The Better
Classic movies from the older times are more cherished and valued now, and so are their posters! Furthermore, films with a limited number of posters released have a higher market value today. So, as a criterion: The older the movie and the more limited its posters, the more valuable it is.
Supply And Demand
Like any other industry, the film poster market also works on the "supply and demand" phenomenon. As mentioned above, the more limited the posters, the more valuable they are for people who collect film posters. Similarly, the trendier the film, the higher its market value.
For example, after the popular Netflix show Stranger Things featured "Running Up That Hill," the Kate Bush masterpiece regained massive popularity. The song was originally released in the 1980s but became an overnight sensation once more. Currently, it is high in demand and trending on all platforms.
The same happens when an old movie regains popularity and becomes trendy again. The movie's posters, and any other souvenirs related to it, become highly valuable, so more people want it in their collections. Therefore, the higher the demand, the more investment-worthy it is.
Not everyone has the same taste, especially when it comes to art. Hence, what is valuable to one person might not make sense to another. This also has an impact on the market value of a particular item. So, before investing in a particular poster, consider whether people in your circle will be interested in purchasing or trading for it.
3. Online Places to Buy Authentic Vintage Film Posters
Dispersed around the world, there is an entire community of people who collect movie posters. Thanks to the internet, these like-minded people can interlink. The following is a list of popular platforms where you can find all kinds of movie posters and purchase them:
- Original Film Art
- Hollywood posters
- Facebook groups
Keeping and Maintaining Movie Posters
Original vintage posters are worth a lot of money, and for those who have sentimental intentions behind collecting them, they are precious cherishable assets. Therefore, keeping and properly maintaining these movie posters is incredibly important.
Standard Sizes of Movie Posters
Authentic vintage posters were commonly printed in one-sheet or single-sheet size. They're usually vertical, commonly known as portraits style, and remained so until the mid-1980s. After that, they would measure around 27 x 41 inches. Soon after, they became shorter (around 27 x 40 inches) so that a modern printer could print these images.
For billboards, bus stations, and railroads, companies would produce larger-size posters. As for premieres of blockbusters, multiple one-sheet posters were produced and displayed together. Horizontal half-sheets (22 x 28 inches) were also common back then. These half sheets used to be incredibly popular among collectors because they were easier to frame and maintain.
On a smaller note, (quite literally) photographic lobby cards were trendy around the 1910s. They used to have a standard size of around (11 x 14 inches) but some were custom-made as 8 x 10 inches. They were released in 4, sometimes 8-card sets per movie. So, when you start your journey to collect movie posters, be conscious about the size you choose.
As mentioned earlier, half-sheet posters are low-maintenance and take up much less space than others. According to this phenomenon, you would think the lobby cards would be an even more convenient option. However, their demand is not very promising. So, if you plan to sell the posters, your target audience will most likely be interested in a standard half-sheet size.
People who love to collect movie posters also like to flaunt them. Hence, framing and mounting these items has been a trend since the beginning. People showcase them to their audience or hang them as personal achievements and assets in their studios. They like to keep it safe, just as you would laminate your favorite picture or an educational certificate.
Framing ensures that it stays safe, and the quality doesn't fade. Therefore, if you collect film posters, you should know how to frame one:
You can be very creative with this. Choose any frame you like whether it be lined, plain, colorful, or designed.
You can frame the poster to size with or without matting. If you choose the former, it should always be acid-free. Wooden frames are always acidic, so if you decide to frame the posters, there should be an acid-free barrier between the two. Doing this prevents the poster from burning.
Giant posters are glazed using Plexiglass, which protects and prevents the quality from fading.
Small posters can be hung with rings, while larger ones usually have D-rings on their backs. Remember never to add wires to oversized frames because it will put enormous pressure on the frame's corners, causing them to pop out.
People who collect film posters will tell you that it is more than just a pointless obsession for them. For some, it is an investment, an asset; for others, it's their daily dose of serotonin. Whatever the reason, one common rule remains: you need to have proper background knowledge and guidelines before investing time and money into it.
Do any of your friends collect movie posters? Do you want to start too, as a hobby or something of a side income? Comment below and tell us. We'd love to know!
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