Original Movie Postersadmin
An original movie poster can be defined as: A poster that was issued for a movie by the National Screen Service (NSS), or by a movie studio, or by another company authorized by the studio for display in an actual movie theatre at the time of the films original release.
Advertising posters used outside a theater (wilding, bus shelter, subway, and billboard) during an original release are also considered original movie posters.
There are also “Studio Issued” original movie posters. These were printed at the same time as theatrical display posters. Although usually not meant for theatrical display, they are still considered original. They were distributed to “insiders” and those who worked on the film.
Posters that were made to be sold to the public in stores or on line are reproductions/reprints or restrikes and are NOT original movie posters, even if they were printed around the time of the films release. Films that are very popular usually have all kinds of reproductions, licensed and unlicensed (bootlegs) and they are always on eBay. The market is flooded with them. Sometimes reproductions are so close in quality to originals that it is VERY hard to tell them apart.
Video posters are NOT “Original Movie Posters”. They were issued to advertise the movies release on videotape or dvd, not during the films original theatrical release. They are called Original Video Posters and usually have very little value. Some of them can be quite collectible and valuable, but usually not.
Some original movie posters are HIGHLY collectible and can be worth thousands of dollars. Reproduction posters are not very collectible and usually have little if any value.
Just because a seller lists a poster in the ORIGINAL MOVIE POSTERS category on eBay, does NOT mean it is an original movie poster. Sellers often list their reproduction posters there because they know they will be seen by more people as no one really browses the non original category.
Older U.S. posters prior to the mid 1980’s were usually (not always) issued folded while newer U.S. posters are always issued rolled. Vintage original movie posters were normally printed in very limited quantities, thus they are usually pretty rare. All of them were not meant to be saved. After their initial use they were supposed to be returned to the studio or destroyed.
Usually, the older the poster, the rarer it is. Original movie posters usually contain an NSS information tag/paragraph and number. However, this is not always true. There are plenty of original movie posters that do not contain NSS info. To complicate matters, just because a poster has an NSS tagline, NSS number, and a GAU (printer’s union) logo, does not necessarily mean it is an original movie poster. There are many fakes and reprints that have this printed on them to make them appear more authentic.
Common standard sizes include: One Sheet 27″x41″ or 27″x40″, Insert 14″x36″, Half Sheet 22″x28″, Three Sheet 41″x81″, Six Sheet 81″x81″, Lobby Card 11″x14″, Window Card 14″x22″. Measurements on these can vary slightly, but usually by no more than a half inch or so.
Common Reproduction sizes (not original movie posters) are: 24″x36″, 20″x30″, 11″x17″ and anything slightly smaller than a standard size one sheet approx. 26″x39″.
The above information applies to U.S. posters. Non U.S. movie posters have different specs/sizes.
Authenticating Original Movie Posters
and Other Vintage Posters
How can you tell if a movie poster is “original” “real” “authentic”?
How do you know the posters we are selling are real and not reproductions?
Can you tell me if my poster is original?
Please forgive us if we have responded to your email by directing you to this link. We get these questions all the time, often several times a day. We have been handling vintage posters for over 30 years, we know what to look for. We only sell originals! A free Certificate of Authenticity is available for each poster we sell.
Since 2003 this site has been used as a reference by people and businesses from all over the world. We give advice to auction houses, museums, beginning and advanced collectors, memorabilia dealers, home theater designers, and every day poster buyers worldwide. We have helped thousands of people determine whether their posters are originals or reproductions. They constantly use our site for authentication and information. We have written several articles comparing known originals to “fakes”. Some titles we have covered include: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Revenge of the Jedi, Pulp Fiction, Jaws, Blade Runner, Spider Man, Saving Private Ryan, Scarface, as well as many others.
If we say a vintage poster is “original”, you can bet your bottom dollar that it is!
The only way we can possibly tell if your poster is authentic is if you send it to us or if you email us extremely detailed photos of the front and back. Please be advised that we may not be able to give a definitive answer even with detailed photos.
Sorry, but we will no longer give free movie poster authentication and grading tips by phone or by email.
Please do not call and ask us to help you authenticate or grade a poster if you are not willing to send it to us for an evaluation.
We will not authenticate or grade posters over the phone or by email.
We can only help you if you wish to do business with us. If you’d like to send posters to us to authenticate so we can buy them from you or put them on consignment, please do!
If we have it in our possession, we can authenticate it.
Please don’t ask us “I saw this other poster for sale from someone else, can you tell me if it is real?” or “Can you tell me how to tell if this poster is real/original?”
We get questions like this several times a day. We honestly just do not have the time to walk people through authenticating a poster.
Do you have a Breakfast at Tiffany’s one sheet? read this
Do you have a Jailhouse Rock one sheet? read this
Does your poster say Portal Publications? read this
Is your poster a minty white new looking 14″ x 36″ insert from the 1970’s or 80’s from a popular movie? read this
Is your poster a STAR WARS one sheet? read this
Is your poster a REVENGE OF THE JEDI one sheet? read this
Is your poster a Scarface one sheet? read this
Is your poster a Blade Runner one sheet or insert? read this
Is your poster a Jaws insert? read this
Is your poster a Saving Private Ryan one sheet? read this
Is your poster a Spider-Man 2002 recalled advance one sheet? read this
Is your poster a Pulp Fiction recalled “Lucky Strikes” Advance one sheet? read this