Original posters typically cost $300 to $5,000 Â although some can be much more. One of the most expensive posters ever sold was for the movie The Mummy, which fetched $453,000.
Poster dealers are found in major U.S. cities and international tourist destinations.
The International Vintage Poster Dealers Association offers these tips for collectors and casual browsers:
Original posters were advertising items and were printed on inexpensive paper. A poster printed on heavy stock or good quality paper is likely to be a reproduction.
Carry a small magnifying glass when shopping. Most pre-World War II posters were printed as lithographs. Color was applied in tiny dots, which can be seen under a magnifying glass. If the pattern is solid, it may have been printed or reprinted since World War II.
Look for members of the poster dealers association, which guarantees the authenticity of posters. Information: www.ivpda.com; phone 212-355-8391; or write to IVPDA, P.O. Box 502, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113.
Carry a tape measure. Vintage posters were printed in specific sizes, and if you find one that varies by 3/8 inch, question it. Here are the standard sizes:
U.S. movie posters (the most common) generally are 27 by 41 inches; theater posters, 81 by 41 inches; window cards, 22 by 41 inches.
In England, posters are 25 by 40 inches, or 40 by 50 inches.
In Italy, they are 55 by 39 inches, or 78 by 55 inches.
In Switzerland, they are 50 by 36 inches.
In China, they are 31 by 20 inches.
In Japan, they are 40 by 28.5 inches.