Movie posters and entertainment memorabilia can be money in the bank

Old folded movie posters, even if dirty, dusty and moldy can be worth big money if you have the right ones. In times like these, people are encouraged to check their own basements and attics for treasures.

With rare exceptions, such as some of the Batman movie posters, most new release movie posters can be purchased for as little as $15-$20. With this knowledge in hand, most people look at movie posters with a sense of ho-hum when thinking about entertainment memorabilia and collectibles. But the big picture is much more enticing.

In a 2006 a rare 1933 Style B Son of Kong one sheet movie poster sold for a whopping $69,000! In this same day, nine different movie posters fetched in excess of $10,000. A poster from the movie Citizen Kane, by Orson Wells (1941), earned $57,500. Even a Casablanca poster (1942) sold for $16,100.

Money in the attic

When was the last time you climbed into the attic to see what is in all of those boxes you have been hoarding for the future? Even the stuff you got from Grandma’s house when she passed on – have you opened those boxes to see what treasures may be in those boxes?

The reason I mention the boxes in the attic is because most people do not realize the value of the mementoes they may have in their possession. There may be things you have in your possession that have real value to others and little value to you.

Lessons about the value of collectibles

Every now and again, a story will enter the news about some family who had a rock they used as a doorstop, only to learn many years later that the doorstop was actually a meteorite worth thousands of dollars. A gentleman in Saskatchewan, Canada, discovered that his 1.3kg doorstop was actually worth $7,000.

The lesson is that what is one man’s doorstop may be another man’s treasure, just as one man’s $20 movie poster may be another man’s priceless piece of memorabilia.

The second lesson is that anything of value is only valuable to the person who is willing to buy that item for the stated price. Not everyone is going to be willing to pay you $69,000 for a movie poster or $7,000 for a meteorite. An item is not valuable, unless and until someone is willing to recognize real value in that item.

Home improvement project surprises

Unbelievably, it is not uncommon for a homeowner to strip the plaster on the wall and discover old movie posters or concert posters on the inside wood structure of the wall. Sometimes the poster will have been covered over for decades, preserving it in essence for the generations.

If this ever happens to you, the first thing you should do is to take a digital snapshot of the poster and then find someone who appraises such finds. The collector who may be interested in purchasing such an item will be able to tell you how to safely remove the poster from the internal structure of the wall. If the poster needs a cleaning, it is often wise to let the collector do the cleaning him or herself, since the cleaning of valuable collectibles often requires very specialized cleaning products.

Hidden “framed” treasures

Every now and again, a classic painting or poster will be discovered in a frame, covered over by another print. For example, in 2005, a museum discovered an unknown painting by Norway’s Edvard Munch (1863-1944) called, Girl and Three Men’s Heads. It was underneath another classic Munch painting titled, The Dead Mother. Museum officials said that the newly discovered painting was “absolutely priceless.”

In the case of the Munch painting, the first was covered over by the painter himself. In other cases, people will simply cover a print that they find uninteresting with another print that they feel is more aesthetically pleasing to their own tastes.

Some of the greatest finds in history have been uncovered when a frame was opened to clean or do repair work on the frame itself.

Two factors determine value more than any other

When looking at the value of movie and concert posters, or any other entertainment collectibles, there are two factors that determine that value more than any other factors. Those two factors are: supply and demand.

In some cases, such as the aforementioned 1933 Style B Son of Kong one sheet movie poster, the poster is very rare and lots of people desire to own it. The Casablanca poster on the other hand is an item that is in greater supply, so its fetching price was $50,000 less than the Son of Kong poster.

After watching a few episodes of Antiques Roadshow, it is easy to recognize the value that an appraiser offers to owners of collectible merchandise. Every appraiser has his/her own specialty, and the Roadshow displays this in every episode, bringing in appraisers who specialize in the specific items seeking appraisal.

The subtleties in the collectible industry are the kinds of things that individuals would be hard-pressed to know. That is why the Antiques Roadshow has so many appraisers in their Rolodex, and if you have an item to sell, you should be seeking a specialist appraiser for your items.

Ralph Deluca buys movie posters, concert posters, photograph collections and 78RPM Blues records. To learn more or for a free appraisal, please visit or call 800-392-4050.

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