Whether it’s fantasizing about the life of a movie star or wishing you lived in a galaxy far, far, away, movie memorabilia resonates for millions of people regardless of their position and place in society. Some are drawn to horror movies, others prefer film noir, and who doesn’t like a classic cartoon?

You can collect based on the artifacts associated with a favorite star—Marilyn Monroe memorabilia is perennially popular—or items aligned with a particular film, although fans of “The Wizard of Oz” are forced to obsess about things other than those fabled ruby slippers, since the originals reside in the Smithsonian.

Like the films themselves, movie memorabilia comes in all shapes and sizes. Vintage animation cels, movie posters (one-sheet and two-sheet), and movie photos are some of the most popular film collectibles. Original vintage movie posters are relatively scarce because they were often destroyed by the movie theaters at the end of a film’s run, but rarity is not the only reason for the high demand—vintage movie posters from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s commonly depict some of the most beloved stars.

Movie photos, which were designed to appear as though they were taken in the course of filming but were normally posed, show stars in exquisite detail. Naturally, the oldest of these sorts of photos are generally the most prized, as are autographed movie photos.

Lobby cards (also called window cards) are another collectible category. Unlike movie photos, which were printed in limited editions, and movie posters, which were often too large to be properly stored, lobby cards were printed in relatively large numbers, so there are plenty of them around. Despite the fact that they aren’t in short supply, some individual lobby cards and especially certain sets still fetch quite a price, especially for classics like “King Kong.”

Movie props and costumes are also highly collectible. Props are most often available as authorized replicas, but sometimes prop masters will unload their personal collections, which gets original items out into the market. Costumes are often considered museum pieces or the sorts of things that raise eyebrows at auction, the most expensive example being Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress, which she wore as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Fans of particular stars, cult films, or popular series such as “Star Wars” accumulate movie memorabilia, as do people who are infatuated with Hollywood power couples—Bogart and Bacall back in the day, Pitt and Jolie more recently. When it comes to the movies themselves, some of the films with the most devoted followings include “Gone With the Wind,” “Casablanca,” and “Lord of the Rings.”...

Sometimes the clamor is simply a question of supply and demand. For example, James Dean memorabilia is extremely popular, even though he only appeared in three films before his untimely death. Because his career was so short, there is only a limited amount of Dean memorabilia. Conversely, Greta Garbo was extraordinarily popular, appeared in numerous films, and lived a good long life, but Garbo almost never signed autographs, which makes her scrawl a rare prize, indeed.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gallery Of Surf Classics

Gallery Of Surf Classics

Maynard Eshelman's gallery of over 250 classic surf movie posters and lobby cards from the 1960s. The highlight of … [read review or visit site]

Steve McQueen Film Poster Site

Steve McQueen Film Poster Site

If you're a Steve McQueen fan, this site can't be beat. Roger Harris has put together a definitive collection of Mc… [read review or visit site]

Steven Hill's Movie Title Screens Page

Steven Hill's Movie Title Screens Page

If you're the type who likes watching the titles and credits at the beginning of movies, you'll love this site. Ste… [read review or visit site]

Cinema Treasures

Cinema Treasures

This user-contributed database of classic movie theaters currently lists over 17,000 theaters worldwide. Browse by … [read review or visit site]

Warner Bros. Title Card Gallery

Warner Bros. Title Card Gallery

Dave Mackey's filmography and title card gallery for 35 years of Warner Bros. cartoons. Browsable by year or alphab… [read review or visit site]

Steves Disney Collection

Steves Disney Collection

Steve Lee’s large collection of original Disney art: pencil drawings from animated features produced during W… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

May 1957 Richard Avedon Marilyn Monroe Risque Beautiful Vintage Rare PhotographStar Wars Stormtrooper Armor Suit CostumeTed 2 Sam Jones Sam J.ones Screen Worn Flash Gordon Costume Ch 4 Sc 122-124Indominus Rex Hatchling Jurassic World Life Size Replica Jurassic Park PropTed 2 Screen Used Glassware & Leaf Prop SetDer Konig Der Hochstapler Original German Movie Poster 1929 Brigitte Helm Ted 2 John Mark Wahlberg Screen Worn Wetsuit & Scuba Gear Ch 5 Sc 22-24Ted 2 John Mark Wahlberg Screen Worn Vera Wang Suit Shirt Tie & Shoes Ch 1 Sc 2Amc Stubs Exclusive Full Set Of Inside Out Pins Including The Rare Bing Bong PinTed 2 Guy Patrick Warburton Screen Worn Comicon Tick Custom Ch 3 Sc 110-121Ted 2 Tami-lynn Jessica Barth Screen Worn Wedding Dress Veil Gloves & Shoes Ch 1Ted 2 Samantha Amanda Seyfreid Screen Worn Thakoon Dress Shirt & Purse Ch 1Star Wars Han Solo In Carbonite Lifesize Prop ReplicaHaunting & Dramatic 1937 Greta Garbo Photograph Vintage Clarence Sinclair BullTed 2 John Mark Wahlberg Screen Worn Sweatshirt J Crew Shirt & Pants Ch 9 Sc 32Vintage Large Format Fine Art Deco Photograph 1928 Clara Bow Er Richee RisquéTed 2 John Mark Wahlberg Screen Used Iphone 5 Cell PhoneTed 2 John Mark Wahlberg Screen Worn J Crew Shirt Pants & Shoes Ch 3Star Wars Master Replicas Darth Vader Lightsaber Sw-117 2003 Prop ReplicaTed 2 Customer Liam Neeson Screen Worn Jacket Shirt Pants Belt Ch 1 Sc 13Jurassic World 5ft Movie Poster 2015 (read)Stunning Art Deco Glamour Photograph Carole Lombard Vintage 1932 Otto Dyar RareMr. Dna Original Production Cel From Jurassic Park Scene Multi Layer W DrawingsJaws 1975 Original Movie Poster 27" X 41"Star Wars Original One Sheet Movie Poster Style A Mark Hamill George Lucas 1977Ted 2 Samantha Amanda Seyfreid Worn Alex Wang Sweater Skirt Rag Bone Shoes Ch 2Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 Bloody Michael Myers Mask Signed By CastTank Girl 1995 Cult Movie Screen Used Ripper Creature Fiberglass Helmet PropMad Max: Fury Road - War Boys Metal Pendant Rare Promo Item/merchandiseStar Trek Klingon Bird Of Prey Resin Model Kit 27" WingspanMichael Myers Mask (uncle Version 2) CgpRevenge Of The Jedi Original One Sheet Movie Poster 27x41 Star WarsAmc Stubs Exclusive Inside Out Pins - Full Set Of 6 Including Rare Bing BongDon Post Creature From The Black Lagoon Mask Bust Collector Halloween Prop RareJ. Peterman Heart Of The Ocean Necklace With Box And Coa1989 Indiana Jones Khyber Bowie Knife, Sheath, Box, And Holder To Hang On WallStunning Elmer Fryer Fine Art Deco Lili Damita Photograph Vintage Large FormatJaws Trilogy Video Store Promotion Kit - Complete With Blow Up Jaws!The Orphanage Tomas Life Size Resin Bust Sideshow Prop Horror Mask PrototypeIndiana Jones Henry Jones Jr Us Passport Replica Prop Lost Ark Last Crusade Nr!Ted 2 Ted Screen Used Bay Colony Foods Name Tag Button & Grocery Bag Prop Set[remote Version] New V2.0! 1/1 Full Scale Iron Man Helmet Replica Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.j. Abrams, Harrison Ford New Adv Ds 27x40 PosterLady From Shanghai Femme Fatale Rita Hayworth Vintage 1947 Glamour Photograph NrTarman Return Of The Living Dead Zombie Bust Jason Freddy Myers Mask (damage)Ted 2 Tami-lynn & Ted Jessica Barth Screen Used Insemination & Adoption Prop SetVintage Seductive Louise Fazenda Jazz Age Flapper Photograph Witzel Art Deco 20sStar Wars Efx Luke Skywalker X-wing Pilot Helmet 1:1 Official Prop ReplicaOriginal Release Lobby Card #4 The Searchers (paramount 1956) John Wayne Nm (c9)Orion Pictures Desperately Seeking Susan Authentic Replica Jacket MadonnaThe Day Of The Triffids Original Half Sheet Movie Poster 22x28 19621926 Exotic Silent Film Semi Nude Rosa Rudami Witzel Risque Art Deco Photograph1978 Dawn Of The Dead 41" X 37" Movie PosterRare Marushin Pfc Uzi Sub Machine Replica Prop Cap Gun Model Kit Mint In Box!Original Release One Sheet Poster White Christmas (paramount 1954) C7! No Res!1975 Jaws 41" X 37" Movie PosterJurassic World 4ft X 6ft Mosasaurus Bus Shelter Double SidedThe Avengers Hulk Maquette Sideshow CollectiblesGorgeous Art Deco Glamour Photograph Smiling Jean Harlow Vintage 1930s Ted AllanThe Haunted Annabelle Doll - Animatronic - Life Size - The Conjuring, Annabelle