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How to make money from old film posters

Nadia Krige 10th Oct 2023 One Comment

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Remember the good old days of going to your local video store and foraging through their film posters bargain box for a few new items to stick up on your wall?

Well, if you were a particularly conscientious teen and preserved those precious finds, you might just be able to make money from them today.

Here’s a quick guide to a few things you should know about buying and selling old film posters.


Why are old film posters so popular?

Blackmail film poster

Well, the reason is pretty simple – they were never created to be preserved. As with all advertising, these posters were simply used as a fleeting method of grabbing people’s attention.

So, it’s hardly surprising that the few saved and preserved by collectors or film buffs are now considered valuable rarities.

This is especially true for larger posters that were displayed on billboards. Unless they were salvaged, they would simply have been pasted over with the next big blockbuster. Some of these posters are so rare that less than 10 can be found anywhere in the world.


What are collectors after?

Balalaika film poster

There are a number of factors that influence the value of old movie posters. As mentioned above, rarity is one important aspect.

However, there are a few more things to consider:


Obviously, the posters of popular and cult films are more sought-after than their B-grade counterparts. For instance, the most expensive old film posters currently listed on eBay include The All New Dracula, Oliver Twist and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Striking artwork

There are, however, cases where posters of less popular films are highly sought-after due to the quality of the poster’s artwork.

According to Sothebys.com, a relatively unknown film called New York (1927) is a case in point. The poster features a particularly beautiful impression of the Big Apple skyline that collectors fall over their feet to find.


Because having actually been in use adds value to a poster, the condition doesn’t have to be perfect. Unlike other collectibles, such as toys, collectors consider folds, stamps and slight fading part and parcel of the deal.

Most would, however, not invest in something that is badly torn, completely faded or damaged in other unsightly ways.


In many cases, European versions of movie posters are more sought-after than their American and British counterparts. The reason for this is simply that designing movie posters was considered more of an art rather than pure advertisement.


How much can you make?

The Mummy - Old Film Poster

Well, this depends entirely on how many of the boxes mentioned above your posters tick.

If you head on over to eBay, you’ll see that posters go for anything between £0.99 and £5,000.

The seven most expensive posters on eBay right now are:

Original Bullitt1968, Italian 4-Foglio, Film/Movie Poster – £5,000

Dracula 1958 – Original UK quad film poster – £4,999.00

Oliver Twist original UK quad film poster £5,000

Quatermass and the Pit original UK quad film poster – £2,000.00

School for Secrets original UK quad film poster – £1,800.00

Large framed Goldfinger poster (With cast signatures) – £1,800.00

Large original Beatles Help poster – £1,550.00

So, there you have it! If you have something you think fits this bill, you could be making big bucks on eBay!


A strange story about finding film posters under a carpet

Old film poster under carpet

If you’re still sceptical about just how lucrative a few good old film posters can be, gather round for this crazy story published by The Guardian last year.

In 1985, two builders uncovered a stash of beautiful cinema posters dating from the 1930s and 40s under the carpet of a home they were renovating in Penarth, Wales. That’s right! Under a carpet. It all checks out, as the home belonged to a Cardiff cinema owner’s relative and the posters probably seemed like a good and easy-to-access barrier to use at the time.

Strangely enough, this seemed to have been a good way of preserving the posters, as they were all still in really good condition.

The builders were allowed to keep the posters and wisely decided to hold onto them for a couple of years.

Well, in 2017, their collection was put up for auction and sold for a whopping £72,000!

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5 years ago

Definitely worth looking out for these film posters.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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