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Movie Poster Conditions

Movie Poster Condition & Grading  


ABOUT MOVIE POSTER CONDITIONS: size descriptions at the bottom

Many posters were used at one time in theaters, and their condition varies. The following grading system is used to determine the condition of the item. On an expensive item it is recommended, to request a more detailed report on the condition the item of interest. Unless otherwise noted, all posters are folded. After the 70’s a large number are rolled but the norm is folded. Early non-rolled posters are at a premium. Grading is subjective and can differ from one dealer to another.

Very heavily used; expect some damage to image area requiring restoration. All or more of the conditions described below. Lobby card folded.

Heavily used but probably presentable if framed; image area is not significantly damaged. Window card trimmed at the top, around 4 inches or less. More of the conditions described below. Wear and defects are expected. Small writing on the poster, border repair, stains, chips, fading, pen marks can be present. Some fold separation can be there. Text or writing on the back of the poster may bleed through.

Average, moderate use; expect variety of cosmetic flaws incl. tears, tack holes and small tape or light staining in borders, some wear at major fold intersections, etc. A greater degree than of defects as stated below. Fold wear

is present. May be some fold separation, but minor.

Light use with no serious defects; minor pin holes, tears in border area. No tape in front, Tears no more than 2 and 1’2 inch or less. Window cards may have written or printed banners at the top. The item is a relatively clean specimen. Minor fold wear. Lobby card may have corner folds, very minor

Virtually unused; only the slightest signs of wear, new. Near mint may have minor use, one pin hole in the corner, minor fold in the border area, the exception for a lobby card. Many posters are folded.


Movie Poster Sizes  


This page provides information about the various sizes of vintage original movie posters. The size of a poster or lobby card does not necessarily determine its value.

Lobby cards are no longer widely used in theaters and for today's films. They are (usually 11"x14" in a horizontal format) were generally produced in sets of eight, intended for display in a theater's foyer or lobby. A lobby set typically consists of one Title Card (TC), a lobby card of special design usually depicting all key stars, listing credits and are intended to represent the entire film rather than a single scene; and seven Scene Cards (SC), each of them depicting a scene from the movie. They should not be confused with a still that also shows a scene.

Complete set of lobby cards (usually eight), generally including a Title Card. Disney films at times have nine.

A vertical format poster, measuring 14"x22", on thicker stock paper with blank area at top for text, usually a date the movie is playing.

A vertical format poster, measuring 14"x36", generally on thicker stock paper.

A horizontal format poster, measuring 22"x28", generally on thicker stock paper.

Generally measuring approx. 27"x41" in a vertical format, this is the most common style of American movie poster and the familiar one still in use in theaters today. 1-sheets generally have one vertical and three horizontal folds.

A large vertical format poster, measuring 41"x81", generally produced in 2 or 3 overlapping sections.

A large poster measuring 81"x81", produced in 4 or more overlapping sections.

A small (usually 2-page) brochure advertising an upcoming movie. These little programs were distributed in the theater lobby to "herald" the upcoming attractions. Heralds are usually no larger than a small greeting card, on very thin paper stock, with artwork similar to a poster on the cover, tidbits about the movie and cast inside, and a blank area on the back where the theater could stamp its name and announce play-dates for the movie. Heralds are especially popular for films of the 1920s and 1930s for which original movie posters are non-existent or very hard to find.

A press book (sometimes called a Campaign Manual) is a studio-issued publication distributed to theaters containing information about marketing the film, usually including examples of most of the posters that were produced. Press books can vary greatly in size and content, depending upon the movie they are designed to promote. The press book for a low-budget or B movie might be little more than a two- to four-page brochure, while press books for bigger productions can be lavish full-color presentations containing dozens of pages of ballyhoo including detailed cast and crew information, as well as a wide variety of advertising materials such as posters, banners, lobby displays, merchandising product tie-ins and more. They were sent to Magazine publications and newspapers for there content

LINEN Backed:
The poster has been professionally mounted on linen, a reversible, archival process.

THE LETTER "R" before a year (e.g., "R-1941") Indicates that the item is from a film's reissue. In some cases even the title is different.

Refers to a poster from the country in which the film was originally produced. For example, a French poster for a French film is normally released in the Country of Origin. A new area of collecting is the release of American films in a foreign county. The artwork may be more desirable than the U.S. poster.

A style of poster intended for display prior to a film's release. An "Advance" poster is often similar to the regular poster but with an added line of copy (e.g., "Coming This Summer"). A "Teaser" is a special type of Advance poster designed to pique interest while revealing very little information about the film. All Teasers are Advances, but not all Advance posters are Teasers. At times the credits are not shown on these posters.

A different interruption of the American film, through the eyes of the artist. As stated above a new area for the collector.


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