The value of a poster can be greatly affected by its condition. Posters were never made to be collected, but made to be pinned, taped, or pasted up for display as disposable advertising material, so their condition can vary. Common flaws can include handling and fold wear, creases, wrinkles, pinholes, nicks, tears, stains, tape or tape residue, trimming and fading. Most film posters were issued machine-folded from the distributor, but these fold lines are not considered defects unless there is excessive wear or splits. Dealers and auction specialists often assign a grade for posters based on the existence and severity of these common flaws.
There is no universal, regulated grading scale for vintage posters - some dealers use a similar scale to coins and comic books, grading from poor to mint, others use a 10-point scale from C1 to C10, while many auction houses use a letter based scale from A-C. We use the letter based scale, because we believe it is the easiest for non-experts to understand. Please review our detailed condition grading scale below, which includes equivalencies to other grading scales in use. However, our grading is intended as a guideline only - we provide detailed and honest condition notes on every item we sell, so nothing should be a surprise when you receive your order.
When a poster has been linen backed, grading the item can be more difficult as any defects may have been restored and the poster may appear to be in mint condition. Only an expert would be able to tell how much restoration was done. We do not sell extensively restored posters unless they are exceptionally rare. If a poster has had any restoration, we do our best to describe its condition before and after backing where possible.
We strongly advise that you carefully view the condition and appearance of a poster using our high-resolution zoom. All photographs represent the actual poster sold - we do not use stock images on our site.
Probably unused in superb condition with no perceptible flaws of any kind. Often unfolded. If folded, the folds are clean with no wear. Exceptionally rare.
A (Near Mint/C9)
Excellent condition with bright fresh colours. Folded posters may show very minor wear to fold lines. May have four tiny pin holes - one at each corner. Otherwise no holes, tears or paper loss. May be backed with no restoration. Extremely rare.
A - (Very Fine/C8)
Excellent condition - bright and clean with minimal signs of use. No major defects and the artwork undamaged. May have minor splits to fold lines or a handful of small tears (not more than an inch) and/or pin holes to border only (or staple holes if not torn), not extending into image. Fold lines may have slight colour loss due to wear but not a heavy white line. May have a few minor creases and smudges (not affecting image), minor foxing or yellowing. May have writing on reverse which does not bleed through. No paper loss. May be backed with minor retouching to fold lines in places or very small spots of airbrush to minor defects in borders.
A very presentable and nicely preserved poster with good colours and image undamaged. May have several tears, chips, creases, pin holes, minor paper loss, small tape marks and light staining/foxing to borders only. May have heavier wear to fold lines and small holes at cross folds. If backed these defects might have restoration and borders may be airbrushed.
B (Very Good/C6)
A sound example, although with wear and defects commensurate with age and use. May have a few minor tears to image in areas other than fold lines - no longer than 2in. in length. May have several pin holes including to image. May have light creasing to image and minor surface paper loss to areas other than fold lines. May have minor border repair or tape residue to borders. Paper may have slight browning and sun-fading with minor stains and/or soiling. Writing to reverse may bleed through. If backed, defects may have restoration with small areas of airbrush or repainting to artwork.
B- (Good to Very Good/C5)
Shows significant signs of wear and tear, including numerous pin holes, creases, tears, heavy fold wear and splits. May have several small holes and paper loss to image. May have more severe foxing/staining, moderate sun-fading and brittle paper. Borders may be trimmed. If backed may have areas of major restoration.
Heavily worn with significant tears and paper loss. Considerably faded. Extensively restored. Heavy staining or soiling.