It’s not too late to invest in a horror movie poster collection


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Although, posters depicting iconic Universal Studios horror movie stars such as Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi or Lon Chaney Jr. routinely sell well into five and six figures, affordable posters and lobby cards can be found for films depicting the classic characters. This 22-inch by 28-inch poster for the 1959 release "The Mummy" starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing sold for $200 in a May 2007 auction held by The Last Moving Picture Co. of Kirtland, Ohio. Photos courtesy LiveAuctioneers

The new book Horror Movie Freak by Don Sumner (Krause Publications, 2010) discusses more than 130 fright flicks from around the world and includes a bonus DVD of George Romero’s original 1968 movie, Night of the Living Dead. Available at shop.collect.com.

Dwight Cleveland’s 25,000 piece movie poster collection might be one of the most famous in the entire world. He says that while poster collecting can take on a life of its own, horror movie posters is a passion by the most voracious and dedicated of collectors, those willing to spend nearly $200,000 on a single poster.

Here, Cleveland talks to Antique Trader about his hobby and the boon in collecting. 

Antique Trader: What have you observed happening to values of horror movie posters during the last decade?

Dwight Cleveland: They have far out-performed any other single genre in terms of appreciation. Most (but not all) of the collectors in our hobby who have the most money (or are willing to make the largest financial sacrifice) seem to collect horror.

We are all rabid in a sense, but they are more so. I don’t actively collect Universal Horror so the vast majority of those genre pieces that I have turned-up over the years have been converted in some way to posters that I do collect. That being said, the two horror pieces that stand out are my title card from Frankenstein and the portrait scene card from Dracula.

AT: If someone wanted to start collecting vintage posters, especially vintage horror movie posters, where could they start and what prices should they expect to pay  for them?

D.C.: The good news for new collectors is that since we are in the worst economic Depression since the 1920s and 1930s, there are lots of buying opportunities – if you have the money.

They would, however, really need deep pockets. Universal Horror paper has and always will be very, very expensive. The RealArt and other re-release paper still trades for a relative bargain compared to the original release posters. This, of course, reflects how thin that market is at the upper reaches. But now is a great time to be buying; there are lots of venues on the Internet, at auctions and at shows for locating and buying, which means that it is much easier now to find and pay for posters from anywhere in the world.

I can’t tell you how much money and time I have invested in travelling to places all over the world to purchase posters directly. Now the collector is just a couple of clicks away. ?

Dwight Cleveland, a longtime Antique Trader advertiser, is actively buying movie lobby cards, one sheets, window cards and glass slides from all motion picture productions. He may be reached at P.O. Box 1092, Chicago, IL 60610-0922; 773-525-9152, Fax: 773-525-2969, email: posterboss@aol.com.


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More Images:

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This 14-inch by 21-inch poster from Belgium, advertising Boris Karloff's career-making role as Frankenstein's monster, dates to the 1950s. It brought $500 at a May 2007 sale held by The Last Moving Picture Co. of Kirtland, Ohio.

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