Identification and Price guides for Antiques & Collectibles

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ARTISTIC & COLLECTIBLE POSTERS - Appraisal Values & Pricing Factors

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lithographic poster from 1929
Essentially, posters are visual announcements in print. They have two basic components, one is a message or call to action and the other is their aesthetic impact. Both are necessary ingredients to render a poster as effective as possible.

This dual identity appeals to a range of collectors. Some are primarily interested in the actual message, perhaps as a nostalgic reminder to an old advertisement they recall from their youth or even an announcement for a concert they attended. Others are mostly focused on the visual beauty and artistry that goes into making or composing a poster. In this regard, there is a strong similarity of posters with Art Prints and the way they are made. Most posters use Lithography or Offset printing methods, since they usually need to be produced in large numbers and there is a concern with costs.

In general, the age and condition of a Poster are two dominant factors that determine its value or worth. Although usually printed in large quantities, they tend to be regarded as practically disposable and very few survive. Also, even if a poster still survives, there is no guarantee that it has been preserved well or has not been folded several times and now is scored with deep creases. Unlike paintings or other works of art, there are very few ways to restore an antique or vintage poster.

If you do want to keep a current art poster for your later years or the next generation, make sure to store it well. To preserve a poster, other than framing it for display, you can store it flat inside acid-free sleeves or rolled-up in appropriate tubes available for this purpose. Make sure that whatever you use, you also select a place that is free of moisture and dust.

The artistic style, subject-matter or theme, visual impact and genre of the image also have a tremendous effect and frequently "sell" a poster. If its condition is great, you have a winner. If it's also old and/or rare, then you have a treasure. Signed posters, such as by a band of the concert it advertises or a political leader whose campaign created it or even an actor on a movie poster, then consider yourself extra-lucky. These fetch the most money at auction and are prized with collectors. In fact, in these cases, not only you can attract buyers enchanted by the image or artistic style or era it represents, but also collectors that are fascinated with the actual message or subject-matter.

Appraisal values for posters vary greatly depending on the factors briefly described. Below are some examples of art posters of all sizes & ages that are included in our Pricing Guides database.

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