It all started rather innocuously enough, I was getting a print and poster framed for my daughters, and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a Revenge Of The Jedi poster.
I didn’t know the difference between rolled, folded, NSS or studio issue. I never heard of linen-backing, but I had to have this poster. I had one as a kid from the Star Wars fan club, that I hung up proudly at my birthday, only to be told by my friends that the title had changed...Jedis don’t get revenge. My mom ended up tossing the various posters and photos from the fan club, they really didn’t survive multiple moves, Florida weather and bugs. But I always loved this poster.
I hung it up in the living room, when the kids were out of town, and when they came back, Kyra thought it was awesome, but wondered why the lightsaber colors were reversed. She thought maybe because there’s some good in Darth Vader and Luke was fighting back the dark side.
I then set out to learn everything I could about authentic movie one-sheets and told my new poster dealer I was in the market for Star Wars.
There’s a lot of information about the various fake Revenge Of The Jedi posters out there. Cloudy corners. Visible fold lines (reproduced from the photo of an originally folded one-sheet) on rolled copies. I always recommend getting from known sources, as ebay is risky.
Next came Style A, Tom Jung, who I guess was channeling Conan The Barbarian. My dealer explained the 4 printings, that these were almost always found folded with NSS markings. The first printing (77/21-0) was the most desirable. The first printing has the domestic version (with the PG ratings Box) and the International (no ratings box).
While rolled copies with NSS markings of the first printing were known to exist, they were very rare. So, getting a fully folded or tri-folded first printing made sense, get it linen-backed professionally (which helps the paper from aging, and the fold lines can be touched up, to almost be non-existent) and, when framed, it looks freakin’ awesome.
But I wanted to do some independent digging which led me to Cinemasterpieces and MoviePosterCollectors. These sites and the subsequent poster forums became tremendous assets and led me to purchase...
The Killian Enterprises Star Wars Saga Poster checklist. I also bought the 3 widely known bootlegs of Style A, Teaser B and Style C, so I could familiarize myself with what to look for and see the “minty white” bootlegs first hand. In my mind, that was $120 well spent.
I shared the checklist with my kids and partner and they pointed out their favorites, they laughed at the Star Wars Anniversary Birthday Cake (with Kenner action figures) and marveled at the original foil Advance with the crazy W.
From then on, armed with everyone’s favorites, I set out to “get the checklist”.
But first, in the interest of fairness for my two girls, I picked up another Revenge, had it authenticated and linenbacked, that way, each of my daughters would have their own poster...the one that started it all.
Return Of The Jedi style B was next. Fairly easy to find a rolled copy and fairly inexpensive. I also had this one in my room as a kid, I mean, I was a teenage boy and there’s a metallic bikini front and center.
The Empire Strikes Back NPR was a wild departure for me. My dealer acquired a lot with two of these and had them linen-backed. My childhood friend Claude had taped the NPR series when it aired, and we used to listen to it on the drive to and from school. It was super cool, with sound effects and the like.
When I realized that Ralph McQuarrie did the artwork (the guy I largely attribute to some of the iconic design elements of Star Wars), I really fell in love with the colors. It was so unusual, so cool...and Yoda is a fav with the kids.
I also learned the term snipe (the radio station was adhered to the “white” bottom border.
This kicked off the search for the Celia Strain Star Wars NPR with C-3P0.
The Style A Half Sheet was unusual, in that a lot of half sheets merely seemed to letter box the one sheet and move the text to the side or bottom. This one featured different, additional art. So, I dug it because it was extra or alternative art to the very famous and iconic one sheet, not a shrunken down one sheet with a lot of white border.
There are some cool half sheets out there (The Enforcer, Disney Animated Films) that made me change my point of view about collecting them. Much like the NPR poster got me to think about more than movie posters, this half sheet got me to think outside of the 27x40 or 27x41 format.
I probably won’t be getting a 3 sheet or Quad in my collection anytime soon, but this opened up my search for foreign artwork alternatives. I had remember reading about the Hungarian version of classic Star Wars posters on Gizmodo. They were super trippy, bordering on hilarious, but that, combined with my daughters love of Darth Vader, led me to...
Puma Head. This Russian poster is equal parts awesome and terrifying. Hieroglyphics and lightsabers for hair are only a handful of the curious choices made.
Granted, various embargoes and the fact that we pretended to have laserbeams in the sky code named “Star Wars” meant that Russians didn’t get to see the movies until 1990.
This was a negotiated purchase from a respected dealer.
Do you think audiences were disappointed when they saw the poster and then saw the film?
Equally trippy and fun is the Polish C-3P0. This one was linenbacked already. I picked it up from an Art Gallery. I love the “graphic” feel of the stars surrounding him.
There was a book written about the Star Wars Poster Collecting and they seem to have rated these hard to find, international oddities as “investment grade”. Some sites saying Star Wars posters increase in value $5 a year, if not more.
Admittedly, I like collecting stuff...I have this completist anxiety. And while I can try to convince myself that this is an investment that will appreciate in value (like any other art), you really need to appreciate the artwork itself.
I dig these strange and unique international posters, it pains me when the more banal “text on a page” posters sell for much more. I’d rather hang Puma Head Vader or this C-3P0 print on the wall, than “A long time ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...
”There are some “graphic” styles I enjoy. Like the Alien Alien Alien teaser, Vertigo, Anatomy of a Murder. Or if there’s a great tag line “In Space, no one can hear you scream” or “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water”...but I can’t necessarily convince myself that these are a great investment. The market has cycles...and each new Star Wars movie affects the price.
Back to Killian’s list, my dealer had found and linenbacked an Empire Strikes Back Style A the “Gone With The Wind” recalled poster. I had a commercial variant (for the book) of this and the calendar in my room. My oldest daughter loves this one, she’s a sucker for romance.
I’ve encountered three different versions of this one:
Folded and tri-folded with Litho in USA, logo, and NSS Paragraph in the center bottom. No other markings (save for hash marks??).
The rolled and folded “studio versions” I’ve encountered, say “Empire Strikes Back One Sheet” on the left hand bottom border and “Printed in USA” in smaller type, all caps, on the right.
‘Empire Strikes Back’ 1 Sheet - International on the left (all caps). “PRINTED IN USA” in smaller type, on the right.
There are zig-zag repros and bootlegs out there. And, the one source online to aid in authenticating these appears offline. So, check for sizing. I guess repros were based off the studio style. But at this point, NSS paragraphs and GAU logos have also been faked.
I bought a really rough Empire Style A and SW Style D from the guy I bought the SW Style half-sheet and Revenge from. He also showed me his Star Wars Style C, Teaser, and Style A, but they were all bootlegs/restrikes. When I called him out on it, he feigned ignorance, but as I had already authenticated the Revenge and Style A Half-sheet, I rolled the dice as I loved the Circus Style D and wanted another Empire Style A (at a much lower than dealer price.
I took them to Poster Mountain to have linenbacked and restored, but it became very, very expensive to fix the paper loss and sun damage to these. I opted to leave the Style D (which was designed to be distressed anyway) distressed and went in search of a better example for both.
I paid way too much at HA, but got this copy from them and took it to my dealer to linenback and frame. At 1/3 the cost of Poster Mountain, I gotta give props to Mario at Lumiere Poster...he made the fold lines disappear.
There are licensed/fanclub versions...and two “original” versions. One with NSS details and the other with Style “D” with “D” in quotes.
I over paid in my first acquisitions and restoration...and ultimately donated them to my daughter’s school for a charity auction. I’d swore I’d be mindful of condition going forward on my next purchases and, lean on Lumiere Restoration going forward.
An Investment Brokerage Firm was selling off a collection from a former Kenner employee. While they were focused on the really rare toys, prototypes, and even alt packaging, I bought up a series of posters. All rolled, in great condition. It included a SW Rerelease R810077, another amazing copy of Revenge, Soundtrack version of Style D and....
R81 Empire Strikes Back. Not my favorite of the collection, though Darth Vader dominates the image and there’s the cool At-At Walkers, it definitely left me wanting more.
It’s roughly here where I started my hate/love affair with emovieposter.com. I wanted to learn more about the Soundtrack versions of posters (no one seemed to bootleg these, but they were still easy enough to get rolled examples at a good price, with authentic art)...and up popped an auction with the Style A Soundtrack version.
While technically, not an original movie poster, they were an inexpensive acquisition, included on the Killian Checklist and fulfilled my completion anxiety. I also watched in amazement as a Mylar Advance with the wrong “W” in really crap condition sold for over a $1k.
I thought the weird “W” was cool, but I couldn’t believe how beat up the foil copy was. I was also bummed at how expensive just a plain Teaser Style B was. I mean, it’s just words on a blue paper. No real art to it. Not like the Style C which was going for crazy money on Cinemasterpieces.
Star Wars NPR was next, Celia Strain’s artwork would hang right next to Empire NPR. While there are repros of this, pay attention to the size offered for sale and the Star Wars logo below the art.
If the Star Wars logo is all on one line, it’s for the Cassette/Compact Disc, not the original NPR Broadcast. Between the NPR designs, I prefer the Empire. But, Anthony Daniels went into the booth for both these radio programs, so he deserves a lot of credit...as he’s the only cast member who did it.
The rumor was, in the time before videocassettes, Lucas wanted folks to relive the movies (no longer in theaters), so he gave the rights to NPR for $1...and gave them a bunch of SFX from the films and even included some scenes that weren’t in the films.
The guy who did the voice for Han Solo in this series, had auditioned (but didn’t get the part) in the films.
For my partner’s birthday, I bought her the infamous Happy Birthday poster.
This was a folded, linenbacked copy. But the linenbacking was bubbling and the fold lines were poorly touched up. It’s still being worked on, as the bubbling was indicative of the poster delaminating from itself. So, poor Mario has to remove the old-linenbacking, reback it, and then inject glue into the bubbles of where the poster is pulling itself apart.
While I got it at a good price, I should’ve held off to buy a better rolled copy. I still haven’t gotten it back from restoration...
So, while I love the story and the rarity, I made a mistake in buying one where the poor linenbacking had done more harm then good. So, when an Ebay listing says you can go crazy and re-linenback this poster and it will be mint, keep in mind there’s a cost to fixing a poor linenback job.
There is a licensed reprint, but the crooked text in the bottom left hand margin is how you’re supposed to differentiate.
Update: I was able to buy a rolled version from the Kenner employee, this folded one I finally auctioned off at a loss.
Like the Chantrell Style C that has eluded me to date, I was curious about the Hildebrandt Style A. I first saw a commemorative print of this and was eager to find out the story. I guess this was used as the Spanish Style A and for a Factors commercial give away type thing.
I was simultaneously bidding on the Spanish Style A on HA and ebay, with ebay being the winner. I wasn’t aware of any of these being bootlegged, so, I thought it worth the risk/price point. That 20% buyers premium was really starting to annoy me (and I found myself spending more time on emovieposter.com).
My oldest is in a Spanish Immersion school, so, she took a liking to this one, which I’ve sent to Mario to get linenbacked. It’s sort of an updated Jung variant...a little more resemblance to the actors...but still pretty sexy.
Profiles in History was selling off a bunch of Gary Kurtz’s collection, which included props and posters, the most famous piece being a certain gold metallic bikini.
He had some great rolled examples from all the films...which went to pretty exorbitant price levels.
I ended up winning this one...which was still a pretty heinous price...I’m told I should enjoy the pedigree, but I don’t.
That buyer’s premium, again, was a nightmare.
The poster is in amazing condition, but I’m going to have to hold onto this one for decades before there’s a break even.
There is some debate about there being a deviation in the printing of some (usually studio examples) with a more purple ink. More noticeable in the top right corner.
During this time, I had been tracking Chaykin (Star Wars Poster 1) on HA and ebay, and combing through the emovieposter.com auction histories. Sellers on ebay would list a price maybe 50% higher than what they are going for. But, some would say “make offer”. I tracked a lower priced “buy it now” that had been listed and relisted for months. I made a lowball offer and thought I wouldn’t get a response, but I did....with a counter...that wasn’t too far off and I got him down below recent sales prices.
I wasn’t aware of any bootlegs, it was the right size (the licensed reprint is smaller), it was linenbacked, formerly folded and one of my framer’s favorites. I had it checked as I learned there was a bootleg of it and read up what I could on MPA (their site is often down it seems). But it passed the test and hangs on my wall.
It’s where I learned that the ebay listings are intentionally marked up...because it only takes 1 person to buy it at that price. And the known poster sellers who sell only legit items, charge a premium for that assurance/guarantee. There are sellers who are known to sell bogus stuff...just google “minty white” and you’ll get a whole list of folks who sell restrikes/bootlegs as legit. I also learned that if you do the deal outside of ebay, the seller saves 14% in fees (still go through paypal if you can’t meet them in person). So, usually, you can recover 10% minimum in this way.
Emovieposter.com was prepping their big “Force Awakens” Star Wars Poster Auction. Big ticket items were the Star Wars Concert Poster, a believed to be international variant of the Empire Style A (only seen a few times before) and the infamous triple bill (all three movies played in a few theaters, with a handful of specially made posters).
It’s here I had my sights set on finally getting my Style C. In the interim, someone was selling their rolled Mylar Advance and Happy Birthday, but set the reserve far above recent sales. I pulled the trigger and negotiated for an out of ebay deal on a Mylar Advance that might’ve been the best condition I will ever lay eyes on. I bought another, that was in rough shape, thinking Mario could fix it (at less than half the price) And I bought a third that was damaged in shipping. It turns out, none of the linenbackers want to work on the Mylar Advances. They can’t be linenbacked or repaired. The dings I would have to live with. They also delaminated when rolled too tightly (less than 4” diameter tubes). Which created unsightly creases/bubbles.
These Mylar one sheets, were a total pain. I framed the NM one, returned the one damaged in shipping (why did I pay $40 in shipping for you to put it in a triangle post office poster box)...it makes me crazy when folks don’t ship in sturdy tubes or double boxed. Best shipping, emovieposter.com and Cinemasterpieces (their PVC pipes turned poster tubes are awesome). I hung onto the severely delaminated one, more as a cautionary tale to myself.
The Star Wars Auction at HA and Emovieposter.com (funny they both had the same idea) had arrived. I finally picked up the Style C International. I also picked up the Australian Style C...but the Style C International has better colors. I also picked up a Trifolded domestic A and rolled international A, both first printings. The rolled one I framed, all the others went right to linenbacking.
The hairy bootleg is easy to spot...I have a tougher time judging by the colors and paper. There is differing information as to the ratings box. The bootleg I have doesn’t have the ratings box (which generally indicates it’s the international version). The ratings box was apparently done for U.S. Military bases. So, in concept, the ratings box Style C should be legit (and even rarer).
I guess it’s like the undated Revenge poster, so few prints were made that bootleggers couldn’t get their hands on them...so they bootlegged the more widely available dated Revenge and International Style C.
The Australian Empire also ended up in my lap, and off to the linenbacker it went.
I also got a better rolled copy of Happy Birthday and a Phantom Menace Advance for my youngest.
Along with the hands holding lightsaber one sheet and...
So, this is my first insert sized poster. While I had the hands holding the lightsaber onesheet in my room as a kid, it quickly gave way to the style B cast poster.
The art is kinda ho-hum for me, in the 27x41 size.
However, with the tall/skinny insert layout, I find the art to be really intriguing. And my youngest refused to hang a “good guy” colored lightsaber only in her room. Which led me to...
Empire Teaser. As my youngest is all about Darth Vader (she was upset when The Force Awakens one sheet I got at D23 and the theatrical onesheet didn’t have enough Kylo Ren on it)...I went on a mission to get a Empire Teaser.
My dealer had a mint folded NSS style, which I had linenbacked and framed.
In case there was any doubt, the posters my youngest has picked for her walls are:
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Empire Strikes Back Teaser (aka Star Wars II)
Revenge Of The Jedi
Phantom Menace Advance
Why the Phantom Menace? Well, she loves little Anakin and the Darth Vader shadow. In truth the advances for the prequels were pretty cool. The later Struzan Style B’s didn’t do it for me.
I did pick up a rolled studio version of this one, just to file away for her.
I thought my oldest might like the pink hue to the R82 Empire. Nope. She opted for SW Style D, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and Empire Style A (for winter months only).
This was a linenbacked, folded version, I ended up getting cheaper than most linenbacking procedures cost.
While linenbackers can be hit or miss (once you find a good one, you hang onto them), this linenbacked poster from emovieposter.com checked off another on the list.
I’m still not entirely convinced that this Teaser B is legit. While it has the union logo and the NSS paragraph is much clearer than the bootleg...I just can’t tell.
The paper is old, but at this point, most of the minty whites and other bootlegs are 3 decades old as well.
The guy I bought it from, I also bought a Vader foil soundtrack poster (not on Killian’s, but still kinda fun for my youngest). So, while people don’t usually go out of their way to fake the foil posters...it doesn’t mean this one is legit (see a previous seller who had legit half sheets and a Revenge, but had bogus Style A, Teaser B, and Style C).
I have compared the “blue” to the Spanish Teaser B I picked up at HA. They are the same. But the fact this one is rolled...makes me wonder.
I mean, the prevailing info out there says if it’s missing the union logo, it’s bogus (union being on a strike is a joke)...but how hard would it be to print a union logo on those bootlegs?
And why does the 77/21-0 Style A bootleg (hairy belt) have the union logo and Teaser B bootlegs don’t? The argument that people working in the print shop were nervous about the union coming after them is curious, why weren’t they nervous about it in the Style A restrike?
I picked up a pair of 10th Anniversary Foils for cheap. Basically to--carefully--roll up (in 4” or larger poster tubes) and store away. Having seen the prices jump all over on Teaser B, Mylar Advance and Advance Second Printing, I couldn’t stomach the thought of these silly text posters 100x in price in another 30 years. So, I’ll hang onto my Force Awakens teaser, these and my Teaser B’s...I don’t think enough of them to frame them...but I’ll sock them away and move them when the price is right.