What are Vintage Movie Posters? 🇺🇸

March 29, 2021

Vintage posters are one of the earliest forms of advertising. Prior to the era of industrial printing, posters were rare and had to be original paintings. In 1796 the German author Alois Senefelder invented lithographic printing. By the early 20th century movie posters became more common although original one print run often included as few 2,000 - 3,000 prints. At Vintoz, our definition of Vintage Movie Poster general includes posters printed in between the early 20th century and the 1980s. All vintage posters should be either original First Release Prints, or early Re-Releases. Many of our vintage posters are of high artistic value and were composed by well known artists, such as Saul Bass. Bass’ posters are of striking simplicity and he frequently collaborated with the director Otto Preminger and also worked on Psycho. We have a few of his posters in our collection (One, Two, Three and West Side Story). We also offer a number of nice Reynold Brown posters, such as World in His Arms, or The Silent Enemy

How can you tell if a poster is a vintage poster?
The most basic criterion is the age of the poster. In general, posters older than 25 years can be considered vintage posters. In some cases it may be difficult to determine the exact age of a print, in particular in cases where several re-prints were run. While it is now common practice to have one global launch date for movies (and movie posters), in the film launches could span months, starting only with larger cinemas initially before increasing the cinema coverage depending on the commercial success of a movie. All this affected movie poster print runs. At Vintoz we issue the Vintoz Certificate of Authenticity that confirms that our posters have been inspected and that the origin has been verified by professional poster restaurateurs and experts. 

How do you preserve vintage posters?
As vintage posters are historic pieces of sentimental and monetary value it is important to preserve them. Many factors, such as whether posters were stored folded or rolled, whether they were mounted to a wall, glued to a surface or framed will contribute to the condition of a movie poster. Linen-backing a vintage poster is one of the most effective ways to increase the structural stability of the canvas, reduce acidity levels and smooth out minor flaws and damages. Contrary to what the word may indicate, linen backing a poster does not actually involve any linen. We have written an article that describes this process in full detail.   

How expensive are vintage movie posters?
The prices of vintage film posters can vary significantly. Depending on how rare a poster it is, how old it is, what the condition is and so on prices can range from US$20 to US$12,000. Curious to see which posters are our most expensive ones? Check them out here.

Are vintage movie posters a good investment?
As with any investment, the worthiness of an investment depends on an investor’s appetite for risk and expectations regarding future returns. Vintage movie posters however meet a number of criteria that make them interesting investment objects for some: they are rare, historic art pieces.