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To begin this section, we want to present the basic process and steps used to determine or assess value. Assessing value can be very difficult, is inherently subjective, and relies on a number of variables. The first step to assessing movie art is to understanding that it is based purely on economics.

Now think back over the other five keys that youve just covered. As we go through each step of the process, look back at the different variables. The basic principle of economics is that cost is determined by availability times demand and the balancing of the two.


In our first key, we discussed collectability and mentioned the different types of posters that are on the market. For example, commercial posters are produced in such large numbers (sometimes in the hundredths of thousands) for sale to the public that they are easily available; therefore, their price rides until the availability declines.
On the other hand, legitimate "movie art" pieces are produced in small quantities, NOT distributed to the public, and are designed to be destroyed after a short-time use. Because of these factors, the availability of these items is drastically reduced.


The next major factor (and the most important) is demand. There are two major lines in the category of demand:


The commercial line of thought is to satisfy the demand of the public. Items are produced to meet that demand. If the demand meets availability, then you just make more. Consequently, the value of commercial posters remains low.


On the collectable line of thought, you only have a certain number of products available on the market. If the demand is low, the value stays low. If the demand for the product is high, the value keeps rising until the demand is met. This is why you can have very old items that are inexpensive and newer items that get very expensive.


The next major area of consideration is objectivity. You can take an item and lets say that its assessed at $100.00. One collector says "thats a ridiculous price who would pay that," while another collector says "thats a low price it should be much higher." Now, which one owns the item and which one doesnt?
Staying objective can also be difficult. To get a true assessment of an item, you have to realize this and do your best to stay in the middle.


Now youre ready to start the most crucial aspect of assessing movie art DOING YOUR RESEARCH.

You should begin by searching for comparables (other items that are very similar to yours) and here's some steps that might help.

  • Look through our LAMP database to see if your poster is there. If it is, see if a dealer has it for sale. Be sure to notice the location of the dealer to see if it's near you or not. For example, is it a dealer in Europe that has it. That would drastically affect the value.
  • Check with major dealers to see who has one listed. You'll notice the vast difference in prices from one dealer to the other so be sure and note the condition.
  • Check the online price guides. There are 2 major places to look at: Bruce Hershenson's Sales Results, and Heritage Auction
  • On LAMP, we have our Dealers Market with over 60,000 posters for sale by LAMP Dealers. Plenty enough to be able to compare prices.
First it's preferable to look for comparables that HAVE SOLD.
Second, search for comparables that are being offered for sale. Dont stop with one or two. You need to locate as many as you can.
As you compile your research, make sure you are COMPARING IDENTICAL ITEMS apples to apples.
For instance, be sure that it is not a reissue or a different style or size (half sheet, inserts, one sheet, etc.).

Next, list out your price ranges from high to low and look closely at your sources.
Weed out unusually high and unusually low prices. These could be flukes from an auction where bidders fight over an item and run up the price or someone who didnt know what they had, sold it cheaper because of a lack of bidders.
Then take into consideration the reliability of the source and when the price was offered (i.e., 1996, 1997, etc.). Values 10 years old are not as reliable unless you can find no other listings.

After weeding out all questionable prices, you should arrive at a value range.

Once youve established a price range, we now must look at any factors that may effect an individual piece.
For example, the location of the poster and/or the poster seller may have a direct impact on the value.
Posters priced in a foreign market vary greatly from those in the United States. In some regions, certain titles are valued higher than in other areas of the world.
The actual condition of the item will affect where it falls within the price range.
Linen backing adds to the value of movie art, so this too must be taken into consideration.

Once you go through these steps and make these adjustments



Not so instant!! There's a lot of work involved with appraising ANY collectibles... and so many variations that - for better items - it's better left to the experienced professionals

But to get an idea of what you have or to see if it's worth getting an appraisal on... you can follow these steps to get a good general idea of how it's done.


This section is for reference use. Images found on this site are property of L.A.M.P. and are for reference purposes only with NO rights implied or given. See LAMP Disclaimer
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