Investing in Movie Posters

This is a related to last week’s entry, since attached is a link to an article from the July 30, 2009 Globe and Mail about people who purchase movie posters as investment vehicles.

The article mentioned that actor Nicholas Cage bought an original poster from the 1931 film Dracula in 1999 for $77,000.  His poster sold at auction in 2009 for $310,000.  What made this poster so valuable are two things:

1)      It was from the 1931 first run release of the film

2)      It is one of three surviving posters from the film

While I’m happy when anyone makes a profit from selling something, I get this “wait a minute” feeling from these stories, because they encourage uneducated and impulsive buying of collectibles.  No one can predict what items will or won’t become valuable. Case in point, the classic movie Citizen Kane, starring Orson Wells, was a box office dud when it was released in 1941.  According to the Fall 2008 issue of Heritage Magazine, a one sheet poster from this movie sold at auction in July 2006 for $60,000. 

Let’s not forget about advances in printing technology.  Because of such advances, there are a lot of high quality reproductions out there.  That means if you don’t have $310,000 to spend on a movie poster, you can get something nice to hang on your wall for a lot less.  That also means that there those passing off high quality reproductions as originals.  So, buyer beware.

My recommendation for anyone buying a movie poster or anything else is do his or her homework first.  Research the item and ask questions of the seller.  If you don’t like the seller’s answers or if things don’t seem right, for whatever reason, move on to another seller. Of course, it is always good to remember the adage, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”


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