Rock and Roll movie posters not always valuable


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A set of door-panel posters for The Beatles movie "Help" brought $19,120 at auction. Photos courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

You love movies. You love rock and roll. So, like the proverbial Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, two great things should be really great together, right?

Well, maybe. Just like everything else in collecting, it all comes down to the laws of supply and demand.

Beatles-related items tend to bring a pretty penny at auction, and posters from their movies follow that same trend. For instance, a set of four door-panel posters for The Beatles’ movie “Help” sold for a whopping $19,120 via Heritage Auction Galleries. Other top sellers of Beatles movie memorabilia include a set of eight lobby cards from “Yellow Submarine ($4,182.50); lobby cards from “A Hard Day’s Night” ($3,585); and an insert from “Yellow Submarine” ($3,346).

And, then, of course, there is the King of Rock And Roll: Elvis Presley. OK, some of his movies were not exactly hard-core rock and roll — Elvis as a singing doctor and Mary Tyler Moore as a nun in “Change of Habit” comes to mind — but he lives up to his nickname with the classic “Jailhouse Rock.” A variety of posters released for “Jailhouse Rock” tend to pull in the biggest bucks with collectors, ranging from $4,182.50 at the high end for a six-sheet poster to $51 for a Danish poster from the movie, according to the Heritage archives.

Just because an artist has some well-loved records doesn’t mean a related movie poster is going to bring big bucks at auction. Take, for instance, The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. Both are well respected in the musical world. Heck, the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever” reads like a Bee Gees greatest hits EP. And who can debate the landmark live album Frampton Comes Alive? Throw in some songs written by The Beatles, and you’ve got box-office gold, right?

Nope. Even music written by (but not performed by) The Beatles couldn’t save this 1979 dud. A Fine/Very Fine Polish B1 poster for the movie sold via Heritage Auctions for $44 in February, which is not exactly the investment of choice to ramp up your 401(k) holdings. Over the past five years, different posters from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” have sold at Heritage for anywhere between $10 and $131.45 (including buyer’s premium).

Rock star, jet setter, womanizer, multimillionaire — Mick Jagger is many things to many people. Some of those things can’t be repeated in polite conversation. Whether he’s collectible on movie posters seems to one of those “eye of the beholder” things. A one-sheet movie poster for Jagger’s 1970 big-screen vehicle, “Performance,” in which he plays a — typecasting, anybody? — rock and roll star sold for $131.45 at a Heritage event in February 2010.

That comes in at about the middle of the pack of cards and posters related to that movie that have sold in the past five years, according to the Heritage archives. The high end was a Very Fine Plus British quad poster that brought $448.13, including buyer’s premium. The low end? A Very Fine British double-crown version of the movie poster that brought $44 plus buyer’s premium.

The moral of the story? If you adore specific artists and want to round out your collection with posters of the movies in which they’ve been the subject or stars, go for it. There’s a lot of really cool movie poster art to enjoy, and you should always strive to collect what you love.

But if you’re on a modest budget (like most of us) and hope to find the mother of all investment opportunities, don’t get too attached to the idea of striking it rich with rock and roll movie posters. ?

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To collect or not to collect: Rock ‘n’ roll movie posters

It’s too soon to tell whether posters related to the new “Runaways” biopic starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning will become highly collectible, but history doesn’t seem to be on their side.

“Coal Miner’s Daughter” starring Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn. In fairness, posters for this movie aren’t exactly examples of landmark graphic design. One showcases a photo of Spacek singing, as Lynn, with a blue background around the image. The other shows a sketch of Spacek as Lynn, clad in overalls. A group of lobby cards aren’t much more exciting. Depending on size and condition, posters for this movie range from $65.73 for a Near-Mint one-sheet poster to $10 for a VF- one-sheet poster.

“The Buddy Holly Story” starring Garey Busey as Buddy Holly. Before Gary Busey was a reality TV punchline, he was an Oscar-nominated actor for his turn as the Lubbock, Texas, rocker Buddy Holly. But just because a movie gets on the Academy Awards ballot doesn’t guarantee collectibility. Prices range from $71.70 for a Near-Mint one-sheet poster to $11 for a pair of VF+ posters, according to the Heritage archives.

“A Hard Day’s Night” starring The Beatles. Probably, it won’t come as much of a shock to discover that posters and cards from this movie tend to pull in big bucks at auction. A VF+ half-sheet poster sold for $4,481.25 at auction in July 2008, according to the Heritage Auction archives. In fact, just about any movie that featured The Beatles is worth some pretty good coin. Even “A Hard Day’s Night” lobby cards issued by Universal in 1982 top the $100 mark, according to the archives. For the most part, though, the older the piece, as in posters that came out in the 1960s and early 1970s vs. the 1980s and later, the higher the prices tend to be.

“Rock and Roll High School” starring The Ramones. Not uber collectible as of late, but if you love The Ramones, you’ll probably want this for your collection. The movie is being reissued on DVD; whether this does anything for the vintage posters remains to be seen. Prices recorded at Heritage ranged from $107.55 for a one-sheet poster to $48, according to Heritage’s archives.

“This is Spinal Tap”
starring Christopher Guest and Michael McKean. Considering that this mockumentary doesn’t feature an actual rock ’n’ roll band, it’s more collectible than some of the more legitimately music-related movie posters on our list. A one-sheet poster in Mint condition sold for $235. However, a humble VF-condition one-sheet poster brought just $33, according to the Heritage Auctions archives. ?




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More Images:

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This "Jailhouse Rock" six-sheet movie poster gathered $4,182.50 at Heritage Auctions.
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This 1960s Danish poster for Jailhouse Rock, measures 24 1/4 inches by 33 1/4 inches. It sold for $51 at Heritage Auctions.
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This poster for "Rock and Roll High School" starring The Ramones sells for between $48 and $107. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

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