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Printer identity serves as clue to movie poster’s age

Sans a movie studio logo, printer information can offer key details to the age of a movie poster, explains Susan Mullikin, in her evaluation of of a Ask the Experts inquiry.

Q I recently acquired an item in excellent condition, no spots, creases, tears or folds, and would like to know the value and how to best preserve it.

It is a movie poster of “Gone With the Wind." It measures 19 1/2 inches by 29 inches to the outside border, with 1/2 inch borders. On the bottom left front is the following printing: “Portal Publications, Sausalito, Calif. 94965.” On the bottom right front is “1939.” Should this be in a frame with glass over it?

— W.H.

Hilton, New York

Printer Clues to Age

A Thank you for consulting Antique Trader in regard to your movie poster of “Gone With the Wind.”

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When studying vintage movie posters such as yours the authentication of the poster in question is of prime concern when determining value. Many factors are taken into consideration when assessing an original movie poster as compared to a reproduction. Paper size: Original movie posters were always a standard size, 27 inches by 41 inches. The texture of the paper, and copyright information usually determine age.

Many of the earlier vintage posters produced before 1940 had studio logos, but were often not dated. After 1940 National Screen service distributed most US film posters. These were dated and coded at the bottom of the poster. In the 1960s and 1970s several companies, Portal Publications, among others, reproduced a number of vintage movie posters.

Proper Storage Aids Poster's Longevity

When considering your “Gone with the Wind” movie poster, which measures 19 1/2 by 29 inches as compared to the original movie poster of 1939 measuring 29 by 41 inches, one notices a difference. You also mentioned on the bottom left front, the following: Portal Publications, Sausalito, CA 94965, identifying your poster as produced between 1967 and 1976 and not an original movie poster. These posters in today’s market place sell for between $27 and $56. In regard to your question of framing and preserving your movie poster for generations to come, I would recommend archival framing, using acid free materials and placing your poster under UV-protected glass.

Glass Glistens With Memories

QI’ve recently been cleaning out my parents’ house and came across a box of six glass mugs. They are short. Perhaps 2 1/2 inches high? My grandfather gave them to my mother. The newspaper they are wrapped up in is from 1969, but I suspect they are much older than that.

 I have no idea how to get more information. There are no markings. Would you have any way to help?

 — B.D.

via email

Flint Glass Find

A Your letter included in the box ‘For Jane from Dad’ (from your grandfather to your mother) is a token in itself and speaks of the provenance of your early English glass mugs.

Glass mugs

From the photos provided and the fact that they are crudely made I identify them as flint glass, possibly in the Honeycomb pattern made 1860 or before. Flint glass refers to glass made with powered flint and later lead produced in the United States and the United Kingdom, from the 1820s-1860s. Prior to the early 1800s glassware came via an intensive and expensive hand blown method. However, in the 1820s, a new invention led to pressing glass in molds. Upon examining your mug you may notice it is two parts and identify a seam. 

After much research and the short height of your mugs, 2 1/2 inches high, I believe your mugs are for a child, or as a set of six mugs to a punch bowl set. I agree more so with the latter that they all appear in a box, a box possibly that went together with a punch bowl.

In regard to value, with glass lagging in price these days, I would value each at $30 to $35. 

About our columnist:
Susan Mullikin is the owner of Mother and Daughter Vintage Clothing and Antiques. She is an honors graduate of the Asheford Institute of Antiques. For the last 25 years she has specialized in assisting clients across the U.S. She helps people find fine antique garments, textiles, and ladies accessories. Her work appears in “Child in Fashion 1750-1920.” Her business was honored at George Washington’s birth night ball. She provides conservation, restoration and appraisal services.

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