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British Poster Sizes

The early posters were issued in a wide variety of sizes. The Development of the Poster in the UK was heavily influenced by distribution from other countries, primarily France and the US. Unfortunately the posters AND the documentation has been destroyed because of the paper shortages and recycling during both World Wars.

We started to gather the information on British poster sizes by researching the normal way, but rapidly came to a stop because very little information is available. So we approached a variety of dealers and collectors and interviewed some industry personnel. Unfortunately, we received a wide variety of answers as well, and most were presented to us as guesses.

So..... instead we have decided to research the various poster sizes by working primarily from the posters themselves to try to reconstruct as much as we can. This may present a little different view than any that you have heard on this topic, but we feel that this is the most reliable. We will continue to research and fill in areas that we haven't covered.

The NEXT major problem with addressing articles on sizes is the confusion of terminology. Paper suppliers, studios and collectors often do not share the same name for a particular size. This creates a MAJOR problem in communications.

Because of all the confusion, we felt that it would be better to address each size in an individual article instead of collectively. This way we could present as much information as possible to help clarify without space limitations. Also, to help eliminate the confusion, I have created a chart showing the collectors' term for a poster, the industry's term and the actual size. The articles are written under the collectors' term, so you can click on the link to go straight to the article.


Collectors Name
Industry Name
 Banner  Banner
 Bus Side  Bus Side
 Bus Stop  Bus Stop
40x60, 45x70, 48x72
 Crown  Half Double Crown
 Door Panels  Door Panels
20x60, 22x66
 Double Crown  Double Crown
 Twenty Four Sheet  Forty Eight Sheet
 Front of House Cards  Coloured Stills
 Half Sheet  Lobby Card
 Lobby Cards  Coloured Stills
 Mini Quad  Mini Quad
   Ninty Six Sheet
 One Sheet  One Sheet
 Quad  Broadside or Crown Quad
 Six Sheet  Twelve Sheet
 (Banner)  Sixteen Sheet
 Three Sheet  Six Sheet
40x90, 40x85, 40x81

OK.... now that you've seen the size chart, your first question is probably..... why don't you just call a 12 sheet a 12 sheet and a 6 sheet a 6 sheet??

No... that's not a BAD question. Let's see if I can answer it sufficiently..

First, when the film industry first established their system at the turn of the century, they utilized the double crown as the basic unit and everything is set up as multiples of it. As the British one sheet was introduced, they didn't adjust to compensate for it and chose to continue to use the double crown. (which is why some older collectors call the double crown a UK one sheet) When they issued a 40x90, it was 6 times the size of a double crown (old UK one sheet) and called a 6 sheet. The 40x90 has since been reduced to 40x81 which is about 3 times the size of the British one sheet, but they didn't want to change their system and still called it a 6 sheet.

Since collectors discuss posters constantly between each other, labels and terms have been created for the ease of the collecting community. Let me give you an example. In the US industry, there was a variety of card stock posters that were used for display in the lobby of the theater. The movie industry called all of them lobby cards, even though they were sets of 8x10s, 11x14s, 14x17s, 14x36, 20x28, and 22x28. This can be EXTREMELY confusing when you're discussing with other collectors, so other names and terms are used for simplicity. When a collector says a Half Sheet... everyone immediately knows that you are talking about a 22x28" lobby card.

As collecting branched around the world, there has become a standardization of terms in the hobby. These terms, quite often, do not match the terms used by the movie industry.

When you look at some of the larger British sizes, collectors have automatically standardized them. For example, let's look at three collectors; one from the US, one from Australia and one from the UK.

  • The US collector has a 41x81" he calls a US 3 sheet because it's about 3 times the size of his one sheet (27x41").
  • The Australian collector has a 41x80" that he calls an Australian 3 sheet because it's about 3 times the size of his one sheet (27x40").
  • The British collector has a 40x81" that he calls a British 6 sheet even though it's about 3 times the size of the British one sheet (27x40") just like the other 2 collectors. NO!!! It's NOT 6 times the size of the British one sheet!!!

Because the British Industry set their scale for THEIR ease (using the double crown as the base instead of the one sheet), collectors have had to readjust the terms for the sake of the hobby.

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