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Rating Condition of Posters

The rating of the condition of a movie poster, lobby card or any other item remains a very personal thing – therefore a few words on my basic rating system.

Generally all items are described in a way that all damages can be reconstructed by the customer, either by the item’s description or through the pictures.

There might be small variations with regard to the exact measurements of the lobby cards, as during the 50s and 60s, which are the main years of the hand tinted / real-photo lobby-cards, these were manufactured by hand. The cuts were done by hand too, in small amounts – this is why all my measurements bear the “approx”. You can expect to find no diversions of more than 5 mm. If a lobby card has been trimmed on purpose, this will be mentioned in the item’s description.

Eventually the ‘general condition’ depends on various criteria. An item that shows several small signs of usage can get the same rating as an item that has only one obvious flaw, but is otherwise as good as perfect.

It is of interest to my rating whether a movie poster is rolled or folded. I will never rate a folded movie poster as ‘mint’, no matter whether there are pinholes or not. For these I use the condition ‘near mint’. Until the middle of the 80’s it was common standard to ship the movie posters folded. Nevertheless you can still find rolled vintage posters as well.

Of course magazines, pressbooks, press kits and campaign books are without pinholes.

Movie programs can be offered punched but this will always show on the picture and / or the item’s description.

II am using a 7 degree rating system (mint to poor). Please find here my explanation of this system:


Mint / Z0:
Items rated ‚mint‘ show no signs of usage whatsoever, but look as crisp as freshly from the press. I choose ‘mint’ as a condition only if there are absolutely no pinholes, no creases, no border damages, etc. Furthermore a movie poster has to be rolled.

Near Mint / Z1:
This item is close to perfect and shows only very slight signs of usage (e.g. one pinhole per corner, slightest signs of storage, slightest border damages).

Excellent / Z2:
Movie posters rated ‚excellent‘ show the usual slight signs of usage (pinholes in the border are, typical signs of folding, slight border damages). Nevertheless they are still in a high quality condition.

Very Good / Z3:
Movie posters and lobby cards rated ‚very good‘ show the usual signs of usage (pinholes, folding creases, yellowing of paper, border damages). They are still in an overall nice condition. These items are absolutely worth collecting.

Good / Z4:
Movie posters rated ‚good‘ show signs of usage that do not affect the image at all or only slightly. A lobby card can be trimmed slightly or bear a tear. Tape is allowed on the backside but this will always be mentioned in the item’s description. These items are still worth collecting.

Fair / Z5:
Generally I will not include items rated ‚fair‘ here on my site. They would have to be rare collector’s items. You can expect their price to be recognizable below other conditions. Movie posters rated ‘fair’ show obvious damages (e.g. strong water damages, smudges, obvious missing parts,)

Poor / Z6:
I don’t think that I will ever include a movie poster of this condition... just in case: ‘poor’ describes items that are close to deserve an ending in the recycling box. These items show several severe damages at the same time. These items usually only function a place holders. The item has to be extreeemly rare (e.g. a German first release of 1926’s Fritz Lang’s Metropolis…) to be included here at all.