This is a report taken from the bulletin
NEW INFO ADDED - SEE BOTTOM
STAR WARS BULLETIN
Over the past 2 weeks, we've received a number of questions regarding one particular Star Wars poster: A 1977 Style 'A' one sheet, NSS No. 77/21-0. Some versions of this poster appear to have a 'hair' on Luke's belt. In order to find out the history of this poster, I did some research.
The Star Wars “Poster of Posters” gives the printing details of the Style A one sheet. First it gives the following figure
and then it states:
"…There are at least 4 printing variations on this poster. A printing variation involves only changes in the NSS number located at the bottom of the poster. The first printing (fig A) has the printing "ONE SHEET-STYLE 'A' 77/21-0" in the lower right hand corner of the poster. The key here is the identifying code number 77/21-0. The "dash zero" is the special number that was used on all the first printed and distributed publicity material. The lobbies, 8x10 color stills and the one-sheet all had this code.
The second printing (fig.B) has the same printing as the first except for the absence of the "dash zero" at the end of the style description. The note to be made in the second printing is that the "dash zero" could have been printed at the end of the 77/21 and not extend beyond the natural border of the artwork of the poster. A framing mark is evident in this printing and shows where the "dash zero" could have been placed.
The third printing (fig. C) is similar to the second printing with the exception that the 77/21 NSS number has been set flush with the framing mark. Also, the title of the film Star Wars appears below the 77/21 number and is set flush with the framing mark.
The fourth printing (fig.D) is the same as the third printing except that the description of the style has been omitted from the printing style information.
Although not illustrated, the insert size style 'A' also has two known printing variations. The first version has NSS number 77/21. The second version has no NSS number, and was printed for the release of Star Wars on video tape."
Because of the limited number of the initial run of the 77/21-0 one sheets, the studio was required to go back and print more. However, the subsequent printings did NOT carry the number 77/21-0, which means that there was a limited number of these initial run posters.
However, there are two things to take into consideration. George Lucas is famous for keeping material and pulling it back out later, so was this possibly a fan-club issue or another printing off of the plates? Also, I remember an influx of Style 'A' posters in the collector’s market in the 80's on both paper and card stock.
To get to the bottom of this once and for all, I contacted a printer that I have known for several years who worked for George Lucas and who had handled a lot of this material.
The printer stated that the 'A' style had been pulled back out in the 80's and more posters printed for the video release on both card and paper stock. The original plates were used except they were released unmarked. In other words, the NSS number was removed off the bottom border. Eliminating this as a possible solution to the “hair” question.
When I asked him about other possible printings, he said that about 10,000 bootleg copies of this poster were made in the mid 80's. The bootleg posters were actually printed on an NSS printing press in the northeast. The printing was excellent and some of the color was actually prettier than the original.
There were 2 ways to tell the bootlegs from the original 77/21-0 posters:
with a slight magnification you can see blue and red flakes in the upper right in the phrase 'a long time ago....'; AND there is a 'hair' like line near Luke's belt.
The printer further explained that George Lucas had found the individual bootlegging the posters and shut him down. He thought that Lucas had recovered about 2,000 of the 10,000 posters, meaning that 8,000 posters could have possibly made it to the collector’s market.
He also stated that they had bootlegged a few of the 'A' insert, 'B' teaser and insert and the 'C' but not nearly as many.
We were able to obtain a copy of this “hair” poster from a Star Wars collector we have known for years. Here is a scan that he provided:
NEW INFORMATION ADDED 9/5/02
I talked with a VERY knowledgable source in LucasFilm about this whole problem to get to the complete truth..... and here's what I found.
The fakes were compared to the originals at Lucasfilm and the part about the 'hair' on the belt IS on the fake.
Here's additional information that we do know.
One difference that would be hard for collectors to tell is that the artwork on the 'fake' is a little smaller than the artwork on the original. The problem is that you can't tell it unless you have both in front of you.
BUT this was the other difference that would make the distinction between them. The 'fake' has the copyright FLUSH to the left border line. The original copyright line was indented 1/8" from the left borderline.
Until we can gather more, I hope this helps