The debate rages on. Is it desirable to have movie ephemera signed by the poster artist, actors, or the director of the movie? Does it increase or decrease the value of the piece?
These are debatable issues. Most would agree that a relatively inexpensive poster from a recent movie, say LA Confidential, that is cast signed, would have increased value. Sellers commonly ask over $1000 for those type of pieces. On the other hand, an older poster from a coveted title, say Creature from the Black Lagoon, that has significant value, when personalized, ie: To Alan Best Wishes.... would decrease the value of the piece. But what if an original Casablanca poster was inscribed To Alan, Best Wishes, Humphrey Bogart ? I believe that signature on that poster would trump the fact that it was personalized.
So what are my thoughts on this topic? I would not be inhibited buying a poster I wanted if it were autographed. As a corollary, I would not buy a poster I didn’t want because it was signed. Sidebar I distinctly don’t like collages made up of a still or poster surrounded by signed checks and other scraps of paper with actors names. Since I feel COA’s are DOA, a personalized signature would not deter me, as it adds a measure of authenticity. Some autographs, even in the day, were hard to come by. So a personalized vintage still is fine. The highest level of satisfaction is attained by having the person sign in front of you. Easier said than done, snap a photo of the signing if possible. On older posters a regular pen supported on a solid surface is desirable. Unfortunately I've seen ball point pens poke through and tear older posters. On newer posters a fine felt tip marker is fine. The signature should be in an on obtrusive area of the poster. In the golden age of films, penmanship was taught in schools and some of the inscriptions and signatures are in themselves works of art (Below).
European actors and actresses had particularly beautiful handwriting.
I have a few signed pieces in my collection that are special to me. A Roy Scheider, RIP, autographed laser disc jacket from Jaws, obtained at the annual Artists and Writers softball game in East Hampton, NY. After signing he asked me if there were any other of his films I particularly liked? All That Jazz I replied. He smiled and went on to the next person. Richard Dreyfuss was also there but I couldn’t get to him.
As we sit around the Passover (Jewish Easter) table located in a room where the walls are covered with movie posters, the youngest child asks the famous 5 Passover questions. Yes folks there is a fifth question. Why is this Indiana Jones Raiders poster different from all others? The father answers because it is signed by our great sages Spielberg and Lucas. I’m a big Indiana Jones fan (still think Karen Allen is my true soul mate) and this limited 167/221 signed poster (Above) falls into the category of “these are a few of my favorite things.” One other is a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Anniversary poster signed by Newman and Redford(Upper Right). Neither of these are official release posters. They were created for this special purpose.
Finally a fantasy, if the genie of the lamp said you could have any photo in your collection signed by all in the picture this would be the one (Above). Dream on…keep collecting..Alan.