This glossary is a professional reference to collecting and selling movie posters, concert posters and photography.
Any image purchased by Ralph DeLuca will be identified.
All other images are examples of the type of movie memorabilia Ralph DeLuca is looking to purchase.
A poster issued before release of the film. May be a different design from the regular release poster, and includes a release date printed on the poster.
The most common varieties include:
- Daybill (DB): 13x27. Similar to the US insert but printed on thin paper. Issued folded in threes. Daybills are a perfect size for framing, yet are scarce, often featuring unique artwork. Very hard to obtain and highly collectible. A good investment.
- One sheet: 27x40. Used to be issued folded but are now rolled.
Warner Brothers, 1927
Grade: FN+ 6.5
Italian 2 Fogli (39" X 55")
2 Sheet Vintage Movie Poster Italian
Grade: VF 8.0
Banners come in a variety of sizes. Older banners are usually a standard size (24x82 or 24x60.)
Newer ones come in all different sizes, usually very large 3-4 in width, to 8-12 in length, either horizontally or vertically.
Older examples were printed on bookbinder's cloth or light cardstock; modern ones are vinyl or light cardstock or paper. Because they are weather-resistant, they can be used either indoors or outdoors.
Some come with either reinforced holes, a hanging bar, velcro and/or other glue adhesive. Banners can be released as advances or regular issues.
Their artwork can vary from simplistic to extremely detailed.
Although banners take up a lot of display space, they are still considered very collectible to movie art collectors.
Banners are printed in limited numbers, which makes them harder to obtain than more common sizes.
Still used today. Usually shipped rolled
Measure 24x33 before 1939; currently about 14x22, and are positioned either horizontally or vertically.
Billboard or 24 Sheet
Approximately 106x234, printed on paper stock, the size of a roadside billboard. Usually printed in 12 sections. Almost always folded. Extremely rare.
British Posters, UK Posters
The most common varieties include:
- Quad: 40x30. The standard British poster. Printed on paper stock. The image is often designed to fit the horizontal format, and is not just an imitation of the US one sheet artwork. Used to be issued folded but are now rolled.
- Half sheet: 22x28. Virtually identical to the American half sheet and uses the same format. It can be rolled or folded. It is not as common as the Quad.
- Double Crown (DC): 20x30. Printed on paper stock.
- One sheet: 27x40. Not as common as the Quad (see above). Printed in Britain for use in other countries. Used to be issued folded but are now rolled.
- Three sheet: 41x81. Not as common as the US three sheet.
- Underground Poster, a.k.a. Giant Fly (Fly): Approximately 65x40. Printed on paper stock. Used on the walls of London Underground stations and bus shelters. When this size is not produced, several copies of international one sheets are grouped to fill the display area instead.
- Front of House (FoH): 10x8. Printed on cardstock. Usually issued in sets of eight, in color, for display in theater lobbies. Often smaller versions of sets.
- Billboard: 80x90. The top 10 inches are left blank so the theater information can be put in later, as with US window cards.
Browning and Tanning
As paper ages, it can turn brown. Depending on the severity, browning can be considered either a major or a minor flaw
Vertical format. Printed on a coated cardstock or vinyl paper.
Designed for display in glass-enclosed bus stop shelters.
They normally feature colorful, eye-catching artwork.
Many are double-sided, and come as part of a series.
Often, movie studios use them for major productions.
Very large, making them very hard to handle and display, although they are popular with some collectors.
Still used today. Usually shipped rolled.
Used mostly in Los Angeles.
A full-color, often hardcover book featuring complete press information on films story line, full cast, and star biographies. Includes the content of a Press Book.
Country of Origin
A poster coming from the country where the film was made. These posters often command a premium over other posters for the movie. For example, the British Quad for the British film Goldfinger would be more expensive than the U.S. one sheet for this title.
Embedded lines created by crinkling or mis-folding paper or cardstock materials. Only pertains to fold lines found on post-1980s material.
Creases differ from wrinkles: Wrinkles are surface defects, not as deep or damaging; creases go deeper into the paper and can remove color, leaving a white space.
Door Panel (DP)
Printed on paper stock. Often four different designs created for use on theater entrance doors.
Issued for major productions or special theater runs. Issued alone or in a set.
Usually contained unique artwork, generally featuring a films characters.
Caused by sunlight. Depending on the severity, often considered a major flaw.
A tear along the fold line of a poster. Unless it is a large tear, a minor flaw.
As a poster is opened and closed over time, fold lines can get worn. Usually considered a minor flaw, but can become a major flaw if fold wear is heavy and a lot of white is showing, when it is considered more of a crease.
Prior to 1985, most vintage original movie posters came folded from the printer. Not considered a defect. Exceptions are Mylar one sheets and larger cardstock posters, which were issued rolled; if folded, then considered a flaw.
Foreign Censor Stamp
Occasionally, foreign countries put a circular stamp (1-3 in diameter) on the front of the poster. Depending on the size, location, and whether or not it detracts from the original image, this can be a major or minor flaw. If large and distracting and cannot be removed, then it is a major flaw. Some consider this to be a good flaw, because it is part of the posters history and helps to determine its authenticity.
Small brown spots caused by age. Created by tiny pieces of metal embedded in the paper during the printing process. Usually a very minor flaw, but can be major if severe.
The most common varieties:
- Mini (for posting on walls): 40x55 cm (app. 16x22), but size may vary considerably. Almost always folded.
- Petite: 60 x80 cm (app. 23.5x31.5). Mini or Petite are sometimes called an Affichette.
- Door Panel: Approximately 152x58 cm (app. 60x23). Almost always folded.
- Grande: 120 x160 cm (app 47x63). The standard French poster. Also known as a One Panel or a Grande Affiche. Almost always folded.
- Two Panel: Approximately 160x239 cm (app. 63x94). Almost always folded.
- 8 Panneaux: 4 x3 m (158x118). Used above the marquee in large French cinemas. Also known as an Eight Panel, because usually folded in eight pieces.
When a poster has gone through Gel Sizing, it has been flattened, cleaned and de-acidified. The paper is washed with a purified form of sea gelatin, which greatly strengthens the paper and physically eliminates fold lines. Not mounted to anything once completed, and the finished poster will remain dimensionally stable even after exposure to changes in atmospheric conditions.
Usually folded. The most common varieties:
- A00: 118x166 cm (46x65). Very rare.
- A0: 84x118 cm (33x46). May be vertical or horizontal. Very rare.
- A1: 59x84 cm (23x33). The most common.
- A2: 59x42 cm (24x17).
- A3: 29x42 cm (11x17).
- A4: 21x20 cm (8x8).
German lobby cards are also printed on paper, rather than cardstock. Vary in size from 8x12 to 12x18.
Glass Slides- (example to the right)
Usually 3" x4".
Produced from the silent era through the 1940s.
Used to promote coming films and to advertise local businesses.
28x22. Printed on cardstock. Image is usually different from that on one sheet; often the same as the first image (title card) in the lobby card set. Folded twice is not considered a defect. Usually quite rare compared to a one sheet or insert. Stopped being issued in the early 1980s
A poster with normal minor wear and tear, such as pinholes, fold separations, etc.
Printed in a variety of sizes, from one-page to a four-page foldout. Distributed in advance of a films opening. Designed to be imprinted with the name of the theatre and play dates of the film. Samples were often included in a films' press book.
From staples and/or pins. Considered minor flaws, unless there are more than a few and/or are distracting.
A recent creation. Employs elements of a Lenticular on a foil background.
14x36. Usually printed on cardstock; later inserts were printed on lighter stock. Vertical format American movie poster inserts are usually rolled and on thicker paper stock. This smaller size makes them popular with collectors. Inserts from the 1960s and earlier often folded. Rarer than a one sheet. Studios stopped issuing them in the early 1980s.
The most common varieties:
- Locandino: 13x27. Printed on paper stock.
- Photobusta or fotobusta (fb): 27x19.Until the late 1950s measured 14x20. Glossy, high-quality lithographs, used as lobby cards in Europe. Sizes may vary. May be either vertical or horizontal. Double Photobusta: 40x48. Until the late 1950s measured 28x40.
- Foglio (uno): 28x39. Also known as the one sheet. Usually folded.
- 2-fogli (due): 39x55. Standard size. Also known as a two sheet. Usually folded.
- 4-fogli (quattro): 55x78. Large poster printed in two pieces. Usually folded. Also known as the four sheet.
The most common varieties:
- B0: 40x58. The size of two B1s. (See below.) Commonly referred to as a Japanese two sheet. Large format quads used for special releases. Rare.
- B1: 40x29. Slightly larger than the American one sheet. Harder to find than the smaller B2 format (See below). Not widely collected in Japan, where space is at a premium and smaller poster formats like the B2 and B5 Chirashi mini-posters are preferred. Most B1s are destroyed or thrown away after display in cinemas; however, they are one of the most widely issued.
- B2: 29x20. Standard and most popular Japanese cinema poster; most common larger format poster collected in Japan.Generally easier to come by than the B1.
- B3 Nakazuri: 14x20. Used for Japanese subway train advertisements. Usually hangs horizontally.
- B4: 10x29. Sometimes referred to as the Japanese insert. Hangs vertically.
- B5 Chirashi: 10x7. Mini-posters or flyers distributed in Japanese cinemas. Most popular collectible poster format in Japan, where the notion of kawaii (pretty small) is preferred over larger posters. Usually double-sided, with publicity information or additional artwork on the flipside. Sometimes open into four-page posters. Occasionally thicker card versions have limited release. Chirashi means to diffuse or disperse.
- STB Tatekan: 20x58. Two B2s hanging vertically on top of each other. Rarely used with modern releases. Best examples are classic posters from late 1950s- early 1970s. Also known as the Tatekan poster format. Phased out mid-1970s for Japanese releases; earlier (1972-73) for non-Japanese releases.
The design concept for a movie poster. Key elements often re-worked for use on Advance, Teaser or other styles of movie posters. Elements were also used for trade promotions, press kit covers, etc.
When used without a modifier, key set refers to all the stills (hundreds) selected as the master set of images for a film. Also, a movie publicity term for a specific group of 8x10 stills or any complete group of stills selected for a particular purpose. Usually mounted on canvas and placed in binders. Other uses of the phrase key set include:
- Newspaper Key Set (a.k.a. New York newspaper set): Stills placed in a press kit. The complete newspaper set was often called a brown bag set, because they were placed in a small bag and stamped with the title of the film and other information.
- Fashion Key Set
- Stunt Key Set
The same term was later used when color slides were introduced as part of the publicity package.
Approx. 27x41. Printed between composite sheets of plastic (usually about 3/16 thick), and lit from behind, creating a holographic/3D effect. Expensive to produce and thus quite rare.
Companies using the lithography process to print posters. Lithography uses stone or a metal plate to create a printing template, with the surface divided between areas that are treated to resist ink and those that accept it. Invented by Alois Senefelder in 1798 in Germany.
An archival poster conservation method, in which the poster is de-acidified and museum-mounted with wheat paste onto acid-free Japanese rice paper and adhered to canvas. Provides stability and prevents possible deterioration, smoothes and flattens out waves and wrinkles, making creases and folds less noticeable (sometimes invisible). If necessary, restoration can happen at this point. Linen backing can dramatically improve the appearance of a poster, substantially increasing its value.
Lobby Card (LC)
14x11. Printed on light cardstock. Originally made in sets of eight for display in theater lobbies. A typical lobby set consists of one Title Card (a special design usually depicting all key stars, listing credits; intended to represent the entire film rather than a single scene) and seven Scene Cards (depicting a scene). No longer used in the US, but still produced occasionally for the overseas market.
Lobby cards are no longer used in theaters and rarely printed for today's films. These small posters (usually 11"x14" in a horizontal format) were generally produced in sets of eight, intended for display in a theater's foyer or lobby. Lobby cards were also issued for some short subjects, but typically those were in sets of four card. A original lobby set typically consists of one Title Card (TC), a lobby card of special design usually depicting all key stars, listing credits and intended to represent the entire film rather than a single scene; and seven Scene Cards (SC), each depicting a scene from the movie.
- Jumbo Lobby Cards (JLC): 14x17. Made before 1940. Usually found only as single cards, but is extremely rare as a set.
- Mini Lobby Cards (MLC): 8 x10.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Universal International 1948
The Old Dark House
The Mummys Tomb
Ranging from approx. 11x18 up to formats almost as large a one sheet. Distributed at theaters during the early days of a film's initial run. Uses the final one sheet image.
Can be sized 11x17, 14x20 and 18x27. Were given away at premieres starting in the 1980s.
Refers to printing on mylar plastic, which has a highly reflective background, often mirror reflective. Then the plastic is coated with either silver or gold paint, and then the artwork is painted on top of that, leaving holes to allow the base paint to show through. Mylar posters are extremely colorful and attractive. Usually used on special limited edition one sheets. An expensive process. Printed in limited numbers.
NSS (National Screen Service)
Poster distributor, created in 1920. Through the mid-1980s, distributed nearly 90% of all American movie posters. Produced, printed, distributed and stocked all of the materials for most major movie studios. During the 1960s-70s, they had regional print shops in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey and Wichita. Bought out by Technicolor, Inc., in 2000. Now, movie studios tend to print and distribute their own advertising materials.
The NSS Number (NSS established a dating and coding system for movie posters) appears on most material distributed by them. On one sheets, it usually appears in the bottom right margin. The back of a poster was often stamped with the title and NSS number. A poster for a film made during the NSS era that does not have an NSS number may be a reproduction.
NSS Stamp Bleed Through: Sometimes the NSS stamp on the back is visible from the front. Depending on how severe, this can be a major or minor flaw. Some consider this a good flaw, because it is part of the history of the poster and helps to authenticate it if Linen Backed.
Approximately 27x41. Printed on paper stock. Standard poster size in U.S. theaters. Always vertical. If printed before 1985, most have two horizontal folds and one vertical fold, except Disney posters, which often do not have the vertical fold. Since mid-1980s, most posters are rolled. Also, with the advent of backlit light boxes in 1985, many modern posters are printed on both sides. Recent posters may be 27x40 or smaller.
A poster conservation method. When a poster has been paperbacked, it has been professionally mounted onto a piece of high-quality Japanese rice paper, and then onto a piece of acid-free backing board. During this process, almost all of the posters defects have been corrected (or greatly minimized). Similar to Linen Backing, but usually reserved for cardstock posters (inserts, half sheets, lobby cards and window cards).
Usually 24x36, Portal Productions is a California-based reproduction company; a poster with Portal Publications printed on the bottom corner (with a reorder number) has little or no value.
Mostly the same size as the German A1, but because of paper shortages during the Soviet occupation, posters are not uniform sizes, paper stock or colors.
A publicity manual for exhibitors, containing sample ads, promo ideas, sample press releases and images of posters that can be ordered. A part of the campaign book. Valuable as reference guides to rare versions and sizes of posters. May contain product tie-ins, information on radio/TV spots, images of stills, sample herald, etc.
Package of information sent to entertainment editors and film reviewers. Contains information to assist exhibitors promote and advertise a new release, including contest ideas, advertising suggestions, and a press book. Often in a folder with one of the poster images on cover.
Press Preview Screening Info Pack / Program
Material given to reviewers at press screenings.
Promotional gimmick sent to film reviewers and entertainment news editors. Not available for sale to the public. Studios discourage distribution of promo items beyond the newsroom.
Before a poster is finalized, a limited number of test posters is printed. Often includes a color test on the left edge. Sometimes printed in a single color or a combination of a few colors. Used to get a final approval before large quantities of the poster are printed. Once approved, final posters are printed and the proofs are usually destroyed. Rarer than a regular one sheet. No danger of purchasing a reproduction.
Rolled vs. Folded
Prior to the mid-1980s, most U.S. and foreign paper movie posters (such as one sheets)were shipped to theaters folded (approx. folded size = 10 1/4x13 1/2). Only occasionally were they issued rolled, making rolled ones from before the mid-80s highly desirable. Cardboard stock posters (such as inserts) were issued either rolled or folded. Today, all U.S. posters are rolled, while foreign posters still tend to be folded.
Printed by the NSS (or by the studio) following a films original release. Common sizes for re-strikes are inserts and one sheets. Produced for poster dealers. May differ slightly or be identical to the first NSS printing.
Returning a poster as close as possible to its original appearance. Specially trained artisans remove or disguise stains, fix holes and tears, replace missing paper, clean, enhance color, touch up fold lines, and in some cases, recreate the image.
Single-Sided / Double-Sided
Before 1988, when lightboxes became popular for theater lobby display of one sheets, posters were single-sided. . The lightboxes wash out the image on single-sided posters, so double-sided posters, with the image re-enforced by being reprinted on reverse, came into use. Early double-sided posters are considered desirable because 1) far fewer were produced in the early days of the format and 2) they are much more difficult to reproduce, although there are a few examples of double-sided reproductions.
Six Sheet (81" X 81").
First National, 1919).
Grade: VF- 7.5
Printed on paper stock, usually in four overlapping sections.
Generally used in larger U.S. theater lobbies and movie palaces, or on the outside of a building.
Almost always folded. Very large and cumbersome, and therefore extremely rare.
Studios stopped issuing them in the 1970s.
Small sticker with additional information affixed to an original movie poster by distributors or theater managers while the movie is still in its original release. Might contain an amended rating, a review, etc. Considered a very minor defect to most collectors, depending on size, location and whether or not it detracts from the original image. If large and distracting and can not be removed, then it considered a major flaw. A snipe is also the information strip on the back of a still.
Hardbound or paperback multi-page booklet filled with scenes from a film and background information on production. Created for major movie releases and sold in lobbies of first-run movie theaters.
An early lithography method for advertising posters from the 1870s-1950s, Hand printed. Characterized by rich, deep colors. Treasured by collectors. The print run could have been from one hundred to a few thousand. Artists spent days drawing on special lithographic stones and printing on a lithograph press. Each color was drawn on a stone with crayons or greasy ink. The drawing was then fixed to the stone with acid. Ink was applied and then a sheet of paper was pressed on the stone. This was done repeatedly for each different color. Considered a lost art and almost never used today. See Lithographers.
A poster conservation method in which the poster has been flattened, cleaned and de-acidified. May include minor touch-up if the fold lines are noticeable. Not mounted after completion. Recommended only for posters in Near Mint condition and those of a strong stock paper with fold lines that are not weak.
8x10. Usually black-and-white photos, often with a glossy finish, used for lobby display and press promotion. Issued in sets, sometimes on photo paper, sometimes on cardstock similar to lobby cards. Sometimes referred to as Mini Lobby Cards. Used for promotion. Included in Press Kits. Very collectible.
Louise Brooks 1925-26
Still Photo 8 x 10 inches.
For certain films, two or more styles of posters are created to appeal to different markets. Sometimes, during a long run, a new style is introduced to refresh an ad campaign. For example, one poster for a given film may focus on the romantic angle, while another might feature an action shot. Styles are designated A, B, C, etc.
59x45. Horizontal. Used in US mass transit systems, mostly in New York. May feature different artwork from one sheet. May be either rolled or folded. Somewhat large and cumbersome, but because they are printed on a thick paper, they are durable. Still used today.
Used to refer to a one sheet folded with three horizontal creases and one vertical. Very rare and very desirable.
A poster promoting a film, but not using its title.
41x81. Vertical. Printed on paper stock on two or occasionally three separate overlapping sheets. Often pasted onto a wall outside of a theater. From the 1970s on, sometimes printed in one piece and issued as international versions to be used abroad.
14x11. Printed on light cardstock. A specially designed Lobby Card usually depicting all key stars, listing credits; intended to represent the entire film rather than a single scene.
Window Card (WC) (See example to the right)
14x22 in its standard size. Printed on heavy cardstock. Top four 4 inches left blank by the printer for the local exhibitor to fill in. If this top portion has been trimmed off, the value decreases. Placed in the windows of local stores (in exchange for movie passes). Also:
- Jumbo Window Card (JWC): 22x28. A rare size.
- Midget Window Cards (MWC): 8x14