Yes, we buy individual posters or complete collections. Just let us know what you have and we'll tell you what it's worth. If we don't buy, we'll be happy to point you in the right direction to sell, whether that's another dealer, ebay or specialist auction house.
Yes, for posters worth £250 or more, we can list them on the website and sell them for you on a no sale, no fee basis. Standard commission is 30% up to £1,000 and 20% thereafter.
This is a conversation that I have with most sellers so, at the risk of giving away trade secrets, here is a brief run down of how the numbers really work. I use the example of a £100 poster below because it makes the sums easier but the principles stay the same for £10,000 posters.
Taking specialist auctions to start with. A poster that sells on a hammer price of £80 will actually cost the buyer £100 including typical buyer's commission and yet will return only £60 to the seller after seller's commission (meaning the auction house typically takes around 40% of the total). Ebay will take less than 20% but usually achieves much lower prices so the end result is almost always worse than a specialist auctioneer.
Our buying prices are very similar to the auction hammer prices (in this example, £80), meaning I get a better deal than I would at auction and so does the seller. A win/win situation by cutting out the middle man.
Consignment selling is better for sellers that are not in a hurry. A poster with an auction price of £100 will usually retail for £150 or more. Even with a 30% commission this means the seller will get back more than £100 (compared to £60 by selling at auction or £80 selling direct to us). The downside is that you have to wait for it to sell.
Reserving and Buying
To enquire about, to reserve or to buy a poster, just call Simon Dwyer direct on 07971 797 386 (mobile). Alternatively, just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you details on how to pay and the total amount.
Our standard mailing costs, including insurance and packing, are: UK - £10, Europe - £12, Worldwide - £18:
We can also arrange for courier delivery, just ask us for a quote. If buying several items, we will provide free postage for all but the most expensive item.
How to pay
By PayPal to email@example.com, by personal Cheque (UK banks only) or bankers draft made payable to Simon Dwyer or by cash in a registered letter (at your own risk). You can also pay by direct bank transfer (contact us for details). All payments should be sent to Simon Dwyer, 7 Epirus Mews, London SW6 7UP, United Kingdom. If you prefer you can always come and pick up in person.
If you are unhappy with anything that you buy, just return it undamaged within 30 days (securely wrapped and insured) for a refund. If you bought via an agent, you can return direct to them.
If you have any questions, e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Q – What do you mean by ‘original'?
When we say ‘original', we mean that the poster was produced by the movie studio concerned for use in the cinema. We don't mean the aftermarket reprints that are sold to the general public, no matter how faithful the quality of reproduction or even the fact that they may be officially licensed. With an ‘original poster', you are not just buying the image that advertised the film, you are also buying a little slice of movie history by owning a poster that was printed and displayed at the time the film was showing on the big screen.
Q – What do you mean by ‘vintage' movie posters?
We specialise in material that was produced more than 30 years ago when both the movie and the advertising industries were very different to today. The poster images were not the glossy photographic layouts or computer generated images we see now, but were hand-painted illustrations by the artists of the day, giving them a unique depth and richness of character.
You should also remember that, before movie studios started to sell film merchandise to the general public, all of these posters were intended solely for display in actual cinemas. Production runs were consequently very small and the posters either returned to the studio or discarded after use. This means that almost all of them are rare and some of them are very rare indeed.
Q – Is a re-release the same as a reproduction?
No it isn't. As well as having a first run when they are launched, films are often given a second or a third tour of the cinemas by the studios, usually accompanied by new poster designs. Because they were studio issued, and for use in cinemas, these ‘re-release' posters are just as ‘original' as the first release posters, albeit they are generally not as valuable. By contrast, a ‘reproduction' can never be considered original because it was not made for cinema use, even if it was produced under licence from the studio concerned.
Q – How can I tell if a poster is genuine?
While there are relatively few deliberate fakes around, buying can still be a minefield for the uninitiated because there are a great many legally produced reproductions that are all too often sold on as originals by the unwitting and the unscrupulous. Professionals and collectors know what to look for and can spot the difference quite easily, though. Changes in printing techniques, inks, finishes, plate sizes and paper grades over the years are usually the main giveaways but we also use ultra violet light and the trusty magnifying glass as well.
If you want to remove the fold lines or restore stains, rips and missing paper to make the most of displaying your poster, then linen backing is the answer. It's also the perfect way to display larger format posters that have been printed in sections. Unlike "dry mounting" which is used by many framers and can seriously compromise value, linen backing is a museum approved conservation process which can breath a new lease of life into a battered poster or offer a means of removing creases and folds from an otherwise healthy example. It will look stunning and increase the value of the poster. Costs will vary according to the amount of work required but a budget for a typical one sheet poster will be around £80 with larger posters coming in higher. All sizes can be backed right up to six sheet and subway posters and turnaround time is usually 4 to 6 weeks.
The process is highly skilled. The poster is mounted onto a light Japanese paper that is itself mounted onto the linen (or more commonly cotton) base material using a specialist alkali-buffered starch glue that neutralises the natural acidity in the paper and prevents further yellowing (acid attack). As well as smoothing out the folds and creases, this is also an opportunity for an experienced restorer to hand retouch flaws in the poster artwork itself, replace missing paper and wash out stains. No matter how scruffy a poster is, it can be saved. We have several linen backers that we work with in this country and abroad and can help advise you on the best course of action for any particular poster.
www.learnaboutmovieposters.com LAMP, as it is usually called is probably the best site around for general background information on movie posters. It has a vast archive of information, history and advice.
www.imdb.com is The Internet Movie Database - the definitive source of information about films. Although not poster focused, this is the only place to look for background information on the films themselves. We have shamelessly plagiarised their film descriptions on this website and are eternally grateful for their knowledge.
www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk Forbidden Planet International is a great site for anything to do with comics, graphic novels, movies and merchandise. They also have modern reproduction movie posters if your budget doesn't stretch to an original poster.
www.se1pictureframes.co.uk is a picture framing company in central London. Sam is able to handle larger frames, UV filtering glazing and full conservation framing. You do need to take care with framers as a lot of them will routinely dry mount posters (glue to the backing board), or worse, because they don’t understand how to frame historical artefacts. This can destroy the value and collectability of your poster.
Q – What are the standard poster sizes?
Poster sizes vary from country to country and have also changed over the years so there's no simple answer to this question. Here is a list with the most common variants, though. It's also important to remember that all the sizes given below are only approximate and actual sizes will vary from poster to poster (with linen-backed examples having an additional border of up to 1" all round).
Argentinian One Sheet. 29" x 43"
Australian Three sheet 41" x 80"
Australian One Sheet. 27" x 40".
Australian Daybill 13" x 30" or (earlier) 14" x 40"
Belgian Affiche. 14" x 19-22"
Danish One Sheet. 24" x 33".
French petite about 15" x 22".
French Affiche. either 24" x 43" or 22" x 30".
French Grande. 47" x 63"
German A1. 23" x 33".
German A0. 46" x 33".
Italian Four Foglio. 55" x 78"
Italian Two Foglio. 39" x 55"
Italian One Sheet 28" x 39".
Italian Photobusta 18" x 26", (earlier versions were 14" x 20")
Italian Locandina. 13" x 27".
Japanese B0 40" x 58"
Japanese B1 40" X 29"
Japanese B2. 20" x 29".
Mexican One Sheet. Usually 26" x 39"
Spanish One Sheet. 27" x 39
Swedish One Sheet. 23" x 33" and 27" x 40".
UK Three Sheet. 40" x 81"
UK Quad 40" x 30". (landscape)
UK One Sheet. 27" x 40"
UK Double Crown. 20" x 30"
US Three Sheet. 41" x 81"
US 40" x 60" on heavier paper or card stock.
US One Sheet 27" x 41" (or 27" x 40" since the early 80s).
US 30" x 40" on heavier paper or card stock.
US Half Sheet. 28" x 22", on heavier paper or card stock.
US Insert. 14" x 36" on card stock
US Window Card. Usually 14" x 22" on card stock, and with a blank section at the top to allow details of the local cinema to be added
Q – How important is condition and how do you grade it?
Vintage movie posters are historical artefacts. They will each have a unique story and a patina of age according to their use – some will have been displayed outside cinemas during the film's actual run and will show greater wear and tear, while others will have remained pristine in a darkened store all their lives. Despite their differences, all conditions of posters deserve to be displayed, albeit for different reasons. It's purely a matter of personal preference.
Remember that, until the advent of merchandising in the late 1980's, movie posters were considered disposable advertising material. They were printed on cheap, highly acidic paper that turned brown and brittle with age. They were machine folded at the printer - these fold lines structurally weaken the paper, often resulting in splits along the folds especially where fold lines meet. Many surviving posters were pinned to students walls (leaving pinholes) or sellotaped up (leaving acidic tape burns). Depending on your point of view, these are faults or they are a life history to be celebrated. As collectors, we love all of them but it's certainly true that their value is largely dependant upon condition so we do need a consistent grading system.
We use the seven point grading system that most dealers and collectors use.
A poster in MINT condition looks like it has just been printed with no defects at all. Auction houses would call this A+.
2 - NEAR MINT
A poster in NEAR MINT condition may have very minor defects in the border area, but not the artwork itself. Auction houses Auction houses would call this A.
3 - FINE
A FINE poster might have pin holes in the corners and a few minor creases and smudges. Auction houses would call this A-
4 - VERY GOOD
A poster in VERY GOOD condition may have defects in the border and the edge of the poster's artwork. There may be some minor fading. There may also be small splits or tears, especially along the fold lines. Most used posters fall into this category and will still display very well. This is the lowest category that we would consider selling. Auction houses would call this B+.
5 - GOOD
A poster in GOOD condition may have small tears or holes along the borders and there may be minor staining in the artwork. Auction houses would call this B.
6 - FAIR
A poster in FAIR condition will have major flaws which directly affect the artwork. This is an area for serious collectors only. Some rare posters will be worth restoring but if you're reading this guide then you're probably not the right person to be considering it. Auction houses would call this C.
7 – POOR
Posters in POOR condition will be disintegrating or seriously damaged. Auction houses would also call this "poor"
Contact - Simon Dwyer, 7 Epirus Mews, London SW6 7UP, 07971 797 386