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HOW DO YOU KNOW IF
IT’S A COLLECTABLE?

Determining if something is "collectable" or not is very subjective. Anything can become a "collectable" if there is a demand for it. Usually, within a particular collector’s market, there are certain factors that determine authenticity, value and collectibility based on supply and demand. The same is true in the world of "movie art collecting."

Movie poster collectors have been around a very long time although no one knows exactly who started it or when it began. For decades, this elite group of collectors set the standards for what has become today’s collectable market. Many changes have come about in the last 20 years which have created a "cloud of confusion" over WHAT IS and WHAT ISN’T considered "collectable movie art." While many newer collectors differ over this fact, most true movie art collectors use specific criteria to determine if a poster is "legitimate movie art" and is therefore worthy of collecting. A movie poster is considered collectable if it meets both of the following criteria:

(1) IS IT PRODUCED BY A MOVIE STUDIO AND DISTRIBUTED TO THEATRES AS ADVERTISING MATERIALS ONLY

"Legitimate movie art" materials are produced by movie studios for distribution directly to theatres and/or movie distribution centers. They are printed by a select group of lithographers. These materials are designed, produced and distributed solely as advertising materials. They are to be used for that purpose only and then either returned or destroyed after their use.

(2) IS IT NOT MEANT TO BE DISTRIBUTED AND/OR SOLD TO THE PUBLIC

These advertising materials are never intended to be given, distributed or sold to the public under any circumstances. They are printed in limited numbers, only what is needed for the theatres and/or movie distribution centers. They are to be returned for credit and/or destroyed after their use. This makes them harder to get, thus creating the limited supply.

BOTH OF THESE CRITERIA MUST BE MET IN ORDER FOR A POSTER TO BE CONSIDERED COLLECTIBLE MOVIE ART!

 

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WHAT IS NOT CONSIDERED "COLLECTIBLE MOVIE ART"

Now lets look at posters in other categories that are not considered "collectable movie art" and why. That is not to say that posters in these categories will not be considered collectable in their own right; however, they do not meet all of the criteria for what is considered "legitimate collectable movie art."

Commercial Posters – Commercial posters are those that are commercially produced in large quantities for direct sale to the public. They are not intended and are not distributed to or used by theatres as advertising materials. These posters may look identical to the ones used in theatres but they are SMALLER. Their sizes will most likely be 23"x 35" or 24"x 36". Either of these sizes is a flag that this is in all likelihood a commercially produced poster.

Reprint Posters – These posters have caused a great deal of confusion in the collector’s market. These reprints measure 27"x40" (the size currently used by theatres for display), but they are commercially produced reproductions of legitimate movie posters. They are either licensed and/or unlicensed copies that are produced in large volumes for direct sale to the public. They are not intended for and are not distributed to or used by theatres as advertising materials.

 

COLLECTIBLE OR NOT? – THAT IS THE QUESTION

As in life, not everything in the world of movie art collecting is as simple as "black or white." The following posters are 'quasi' collectable, depending on how they are distributed. They are not considered original movie art

Anniversary Issues These posters are released either by the movie studios or licensed printers to commemorate the anniversary of the release date of a particular movie. If they are issued in conjunction with the release of a movie at the theatres (such as in the case of the 50th anniversary release of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), the posters were issued directly to theatres and were not intended for sale or distribution to the public.
However, there are instances where a third party will get the rights to issue a special anniversary poster not in conjunction with the release of the film to theatres. These are normally produced in limited numbers for sale to the public and thus are considered limited editions.

Limited Editions – These posters are released either by the movie studios or licensed printers (such as Kilian Enterprises, Film Prints, and Suncoast Movie Company) in a special limited edition for direct sale to the public or to fan clubs. They are not intended and are not distributed to or used by theatres as advertising materials. This doesn't mean that this category doesn't increase in value. It just means that it's a different category than legitimate movie art.

Video Posters – Although video release posters are distributed by movie studios as advertising materials, they are used in conjunction with advertising video cassette releases only. They are not intended for and are not distributed to or used by theatres as advertising materials. They are not, however, intended for sale or distribution to the public.

Cable/TV Posters – These posters are released by TV and/or cable networks to advertise TV programming. They are not intended for and are not distributed to or used by theatres as advertising materials. They are not intended for sale or distribution to the public.

Special Promotion Posters – These posters are released by companies not associated directly with the motion picture industry, but in conjunction with a product tie-in to a particular film (such as Burger King, Coca Cola, etc). They are not intended for and are not distributed to or used by theatres as advertising materials. They are not intended for sale or distribution to the public.

 

 

 

 



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