Linen backing is a process whereby a poster is mounted
to cloth, such as linen or cotton. Linen backing helps preserve the poster;
makes the poster more durable; and is used by professional restorers to
repair posters and return them to their original condition. For more on
the history of linenbacking, click
When the process was first utilized for movie posters,
real linen was used as the backing cloth. Linen is extremely beautiful,
soft, pliable and expensive. Most of today's restorers use 100% cotton
duct. Cotton duct is a canvas material which is stiffer than linen, but
is about one-third the cost. Linen is still used on occasion for extremely
Proper linen backing is actually accomplished through
a double mounting process. The first step is putting the poster on a sheet
of acid-free Japanese rice paper, then mounting the poster (with the rice
paper) on to the duct cloth.
To keep costs down, sometimes a poster is mounted directly
on cloth. This is not recommended because: (1) the poster does not stick
as well to cloth as it does to paper; and (2) because of temperature extremes
and moisture, or lack of moisture, paper shrinks and moves differently
from cloth. Because of the constant friction between the paper and cloth
over time, lines will form in the paper and the poster will begin to disintegrate.
It is more desirable to mount paper to paper, then
paper to cloth. The rice paper acts as a neutralizer between the paper
Posters that are linen backed for preservation purposes
and are in very good or better condition normally command slightly higher
dollars than their unbacked counterparts. If, however, a poster is linen-backed
for restoration posters, the value of the poster could jump significantly
depending on the poster. For example, a poster that normally sells for
$1,000.00 in mint condition, would sell for only a fraction of that amount
in poor condition. By having it professionally restored and linen backed,
the value of the poster would increase to the $1 ,000.00 market value.
Linen backing is normally done on one sheets and other
paper posters. Paper backing is suggested for card stock materials.
Be aware that sometimes linen backing is
done to hide the back of a poster which may indicate that the poster is
either a counterfeit or possibly poorly restored.
that are linen backed for preservation purposes and are in very good or
better condition normally command slightly higher dollars than their unbacked
counterparts. This process is also used to restore a poster to its original
"glory," thereby increasing its value. This process also makes
the poster more durable.
backing hides any indication as to the amount of restoration done to a
poster. The amount of restoration is an important factor for some collectors.
In addition, the linen backing hides any back side markings that may be
necessary to authenticate a poster.
TIP: This process should
only be done when the preservation of the poster is in jeopardy'