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Has Anybody Sold MOVIE POSTERS thru an Auction House?


TomJH
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I'm considering selling some lobby cards and posters though an auction house. I believe that one that enjoys a particularly good reputation is Heritage Auctions, located in Dallas.

 

Would anyone who has sold posters/lobby cards in this fashion have any particular advice before I start the proceeding?

 

One burning question: how do I prove what the items are that I mail to them?

 

I don't wish to sound paranoid but what if the the auction house gets back to me and tells me that a particular lobby card or poster I say was a part of the package is not there? Even though I know it was. I guess what I'm asking is - what's to stop a possible thief in their midst from taking one or more of the items for him or herself?

 

Considering the fact that some of these items could sell for a thousand dollars or more, I'm just trying to understand what it is I have to do in order to not get potentially burned. This particular thought, paranoid or not, has stopped me from selling this paper nostalgia in this manner for a few years. It's my understanding, though, that an auction house is probably the best way to go if you hope to get your money's worth.

 

Years ago, I showed my stuff to a local dealer. He offered me $800 for everything (I know, of course, he was probably offering me about 10 per cent of their value). I thanked him and declined the offer. He followed me around his shop after that increasing the offer. Whenever I came to his shop afterward he ALWAYS was ready to make another offer. So I know he liked what I had.

 

I think an auction house is the better way to go rather than directly with a dealer, if I hope to get a greater percentage of their value. Still, that question of proving what I send if they claim it isn't all there when they receive the package has always stopped me from proceeding.

 

Would anyone who has sold posters or lobby cards in this manner have any advice? Thanks very much.

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I just looked at their web site, lots of very neat stuff but I'm afraid that most are out of my price range. Probably stating the obvious here but if you can reasonably value the items that you have I would assume that by insuring those items (a good idea regardless in case there's damage during shipping) before you send them to the auction you would then have some documentation of those items. If you have a fairly large number of items to sell just send a few of the lesser value items for a trail run. If you get satisfactory results then send your other items later. I have only bought a few items (lobby cards) from emovieposter.com, they sell some fairly high priced (determined by the bidding) items. I'm strictly in the low priced market though. Good luck with your efforts.

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I haven't bought/sold movie posters through large auction houses, but have lots of dealings with large auction houses selling antiques.

 

You are right to be cautious. I've purchased items only to find "substitute" items waiting for me, other buyers walked away with the item I really purchased. I've also caught Sotheby's (in particular) passing off repros & stolen items, claiming "Oh we didn't KNOW" bs.

 

I would contact any auction house first and say exactly what your concerns are, they should be able to advise you so you feel comfortable mailing your items.

Take photos, package everything in sleeves to protect them. You don't want to find any new damage to your pieces lowering the value. Your photos should be good back up for proving condition when sent.

Insure your package, listing each individual item.

 

I don't trust these people one iota. If it were me, I'd sell the items myself on ebay (which is where I sell movie posters) or better yet personally be at the auction (what I do if my consignment is over $1000)

 

You want to trust them to send them BACK to you if they don't sell? Oy.

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Thanks for the responses, TikiSoo and mrroberts. It's a risky business trying to sell something at an auction house. As you say, I can express my concerns to them before sending anything.

 

Taking photos of the items makes sense except for the fact that I don't own a camera. I suppose I could buy one of those cheapie one time use cameras, though, Of course, even if I do have a photo of a particular item, that doesn't actually prove that I sent it if they claim to have not received the item,.Still, it's better than not having an image of the poster.

 

I don't know what is involved in insuring the items, which I did plan to do. I'll see if the items any be individually listed when doing so.

 

I've had some of these lobby cards since the '60s, when they were considered to have no value and I purchased them for next to nothing through the mail. Now that they're worth some money it seems a little silly to hang onto them since I could definitely use the cash now.

 

There use to be a movie nostalgia store in Toronto with original lobby cards and posters, primarily from the '50s onward, though you could find a few earlier items, too, if you looked hard enough. The owner of the store was a well known local legend. Film celebrities like Gene Kelly or, I believe, Johnny Weissmuller would sometimes visit his store when they came to town. In any event, he priced everything very cheaply since he simply loved movies and never claimed to be a businessman. He was, in fact, a bit of an eccentric.

 

I spent many happy hours in my teens rumaging thorough his store and walking away with the occasional little nugget, such as an original Quiet Man lobby card or a beat up original lobby card from Bob Hope's Cat and the Canary. And it was fun.

 

Today, however, there are no stores like Captain George's anymore (that's what he called himself). And it is fairly pricey if you do find anything (certainly outside my affordability range).. Now all I can do is try to sell some of the stuff hoping to not get ripped off in the process.

 

In any event, thanks very much for responding.

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Tom, I've been a collector (on and off) since the '60s too. Been to Toronto's stores and haunted the NYC memorabilia shops when I lived there in the '70s. I have over 15,000 stills and lobbies, hundreds of posters, pressbooks and other collectables.

I've sold posters on line myself and through Bruce Hershenson - emovieposter.com, as mentioned by mrroberts. I found that I was more successful through Bruce. I usually don't climb out on a limb for anyone, but Bruce has an impeccable reputation and deals only in movie collectables. I suggest that you look at his website and check out his volume and satisfaction results. I have never had a problem in my transactions with him and plan on conducting all my future sales through him.

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Tom, about 20 years ago I made my first visit to Toronto, spent a few day just seeing the sights. There was a guy (I believe on Bloor St) who sold old records, a big store( like an old department store) and on the walls he had just about every album cover you could think of tacked up. Is that place still there? I am registered on emovieposter although its been a while since I did any bidding, the couple of times that I did and won I got very nice results, items as they were advertised and properly shipped to me. If nothing else checking these different sites, including ebay, will give you a feel for how these things are valued.

 

Edited by: mrroberts on Feb 5, 2014 1:17 PM

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mrroberts, since you mentioned a department-like store on Bloor Street, you must be referring to Honest Ed's. The store is one of Toronto's retail legends, selling everything at cheap prices, from groceries to clothes to DVDs (previously records) to chinawear to whatever.

 

And, yes, the walls of his store are decorated with hundreds of photographs of film and theatre luminaries, many of them personally autographed to Honest Ed Mirvish, the store's founder, who passed away about six or seven years ago, I believe. There's a giant picture of Sinatra there, for example, with best wishes from Frank to Ed.

 

Mirvish was also behind some theatre successes in Toronto, and, thus, you can also find aged theatre promotions of productions that have played in the city over the past few decades. Every Christmas Honest Ed's gives away hundreds of free turkeys and it has become a Toronto tradition to see the lineups of people standing in the snow waiting to get their free bird.

 

I've been amused by the fact that I can go into Honest Ed's, a place whose narrow ailes can barely accomodate some customers with very wide hips, and look at a picture of John Barrymore, for example, starring down at me, knowing fully well that most customers there haven't a clue as to who he was.

 

Unfortunately, Honest Ed's sons just sold the place to some kind of conglomerate last summer. That conglomerate hasn't stated what they will do with the site yet, but they are known for building sky high business offices. Apparently, we will still have Honest Ed's for another three years or so before the wrecking ball will level the place. Having just lost another legendary retail structure, Sam the Record Man, a couple of years ago, Toronto is seeing its face evolving from the past.

 

Actually, just around the corner from Honest Ed's was Captain George's movie nostalgia store to which I made reference, where I spent so many hours going through posters and lobby cards as a kid. Mirvish was the landowner of a small street upon which the store existed (known to some as Mirvish Village) and charged Captain George next to no rent, I believe, just because Mirvish wanted a store like that around. That's why Captain George sold much of his stuff at highly affordable prices, a joy for buffs like myself at the time. That, too, is a thing of the past now, just as Honest Ed's soon will be, as well.

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After my last post I did a little investigating and rediscovered that it was Peter Dunn's Vinyl Museum. Apparently there were several locations in Toronto, I drove by the one on Bloor St, stopped and spent several hours looking around the place. Tons of records and other stuff, I can't recall if there were much movie related items there. I was very interested in finding old records at that time.

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I haven't sold yet but I have bought through Ebay.com, it is easy to look up what the posters sell for by looking at completed auctions and buy it now's.

 

If you want the most for your posters you can list them on the site for free and only pay when something sells. If it is a high value item you send it with confirmation and have the person sign for the delivery that way you are covered.

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I can't say that I've heard of that record place, mrroberts, but there are so many of them in Toronto. Glad you liked your record store I bet there weren't that many Sinatra autographs on the wall there or pix of John Barrymore.

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