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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 here.

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 rare pieces.

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 and cloth.

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.



PROS -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. 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.

CONS -Linen 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'


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