Vintage Movie Posters: A Sound Financial Investment

by Pierre Vudrag on Monday, June 3, 2019

Vintage poster collectors have been in the “know” for years and now the financial sector is catching up.  Guess what…?  Vintage posters and other art can be a significant investment.  You can take a walk through iconic visual images conjuring how it makes you feel and have your investment pay off in the process.  In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal the best investment of 2018 are luxury assets  which have outperformed stocks and bond. The WSJ defines luxury assets as wine, art, classic cars and fancy colored diamonds as these, with the art market returned 10.6% compared to the S&P which declined by 5.1% in 2018*.
*(Wall Street Journal – The Best Investments of 2018? Art, Wine and Cars – Dec. 31, 2018)

Prices of these rare pieces of art have been steadily on the rise since 2014, when serious investors began buying vintage movie posters.  That purchasing pattern has created elevated prices, confirming what we ardent poster collectors & sellers have known all along …  coolness can translate to money in the bank, resulting in a serious significant investment.

In November 2017, eye brows were raised as one of just two surviving copies of the Style A One Sheet poster for the 1931 horror classic Dracula (Universal, 1931) sold for a record breaking figure of $525,800.  Auctioned through Heritage Auction, a Dallas based Auction House, Dracula set the world record for the most valuable movie poster ever sold at auction.  While just a year before private collectors paid well over $1,000,000.00 each for only two known copies of the German film poster for the Fritz Lang silent master piece Metropolis (UFA-Cinema Art Ltd., 1928).

Dracula: one of just two surviving copies of the style A poster for the 1931 horror classic Dracula (Universal, 1931) sold by Heritage Auctions for $525,800 in November 2017. At the time it set a world record for the most valuable movie poster ever sold at auction.

Various titles have been substantially increasing in value and in some instances over 600 percent in less than ten years.  In November 2006, a rare and beautiful R-1953 Italian 2 – Folio (39″ x 55″) poster for the Humphrey Bogart classic Casablanca sold for $26,290.00.  Just 10 years later, November 2016 the same poster sold for $203,150.00!  Making this a sizeable return to say the least.

A Post-War Release Italian 4 – Fogli from 1946, featuring amazing artwork of Luigi Martinati sold for $478,000.00, in July 2017.  A 1947 first post-war French poster sold a few months later for $239,000.00.  Believe it or not, Limited Runs has one of these posters available NOW for sale.  The timing is perfect to grab a piece of cool movie history ephemera to call your own and invest in your future.  In fact, all versions of Casablanca posters have significantly increased in value.  And that increase isn’t limited to just Casablanca, other categories of film such as the Universal horror films, Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, 50’s Sci-Fi, and American Noir titles, amongst others, have all seen significant increases in value as well.

Nov. 2017 French Casablanca (similar as one available on Limited Runs) sold at auction for $239,000

Not to be outdone, there are more recent titles quietly doubling or increasing in value as well.  Titles such as the iconic One Sheet for the 1975 Steven Spielberg classic Jaws, are showing signs of more than doubling in value over the past 12 months.  Star Wars posters, James Bond, just to name a few more, have slowly but steadily increased in value to the point where many are becoming unaffordable for the casual collector.  Here are a few more examples illustrating what a sound investment this can be for a collector at any level:

 An extremely rare, highly sought-after Thunderball (United Artists, 1965) full-bleed British quad more than doubled its low estimate when it sold for $24,000. Multiple collectors made bids for the poster with artwork by Frank McCarthy and Robert McGinnis. This country-of-origin British paper, in advance quad crown style, captures Sean Connery in his fourth – some say his best – performance as James Bond. Only a small number of copies remain uncut. This poster was advertised in the British pressbook as the Quad Crown poster, intended to be cut by theater owners into double crown posters (no double crown posters were distributed for the promotion of the film).

Serious collector or new to the game, purchasing a piece of vintage ephemera is more than just a trip down memory lane … it’s proving to be a wise investment, stimulating to the eyes as well as to the owner’s bank account … A serious win/win.

A Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Paramount, 1961) Italian 4 – Fogli drew bids from more than a dozen collectors before nearly tripling its low estimate at $22,800. The 55-by-78-1/2-inch poster, offered for the first time through Heritage Auctions, features a beautiful portrait of Audrey Hepburn by Ercole Brini, who was widely considered one of the best artists in the business.

A Superman Cartoon (Paramount, 1941) Stock One Sheet also drew numerous bids before closing at $20,400. The 27-by-41-inch poster was created by Paramount with a blank imprint area in which the name of any of 17 individual Superman cartoon shorts could be written or printed.

The Mummy original lithograph poster from 1932. Sotheby’s got a ton of press this October when they did a single auction of The Mummy; however, it doesn’t appear that it sold.  The opening bid was set at $950,000 & the estimate was between $1,000,000-$1,500,000.  The last known original to have sold went for $690,000 in 2005 & Leonardo DiCaprio was the rumored buyer.

July 2018 Heritage Auctions. The Empire Strikes Back concept poster sold for $26,400. Set a world record as the most expensive movie poster from “Star Wars” franchise ever sold in an auction

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Italian Premiere 24 sheet: $77,675 (Nov. 2016)

See rare and valuable posters available on Limited Runs here.

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