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    

Vintage 1956 Marilyn Monroe Candid Behind The Scenes Bus Stop Camera NegativeRare 1933 Large Joan Crawford Pre-code George Hurrell High Glamour Photograph NrMarilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier Prince & Showgirl Milton Greene Contact SheetVintage Young Myrna Loy Roaring 1920s Jazz Age Flapper At Piano Photograph RareMarilyn Monroe ~ Original Glamour Portrait... Circa 19511954 Marilyn Monroe Vintage Bob Henriques Photo Seven Year Itch Contact Sheet1957 Original Violators Teenage Juvenile Delinquent B Movie Lurid Poster RisquéThe Last Jedi Teaser Poster From Star Wars Celebration Orlando Last Jedi PanelRevenge Of The Creature Original 1955 Set Of 5 Lc's 11x14 John Agar Good-exVintage 1935 Marlene Dietrich Mysterious Smoking Art Deco Glamour PhotographStar Wars Celebration 2017 The Last Jedi Poster 40th Luke Carrie Fisher Emma Watson "beauty And The Beast" Screen Worn And Autographed Wardrobe W/coa.The Last Jedi Teaser Poster - Star Wars CelebrationFrankenstein 1970 Original 1958 3sht Movie Poster Folded Boris Karloff GoodLoretta Young Teenager Original Vintage 1920s Warner Bros. Leggy Portrait PhotoTerror From The Year 5,000 Original 1958 Set Of 8 Lc's 11x14 Salome Jens ExThem Original 1954 Set Of 8 Lc's 11x14 James Whitmore Vg-exLeatherface's Bloody Apron Worn In Texas Chainsaw 3dElegant Silent Film Beauty Laura La Plante Vintage 1920s Freulich PhotographBarbarella - Original 1977 1-sheet Movie Poster 27" X 41" 770161Missile Monsters Original 1958 1sht Movie Poster Tri-folded Ex2 Fast 2 Furious- Brians (paul Walker)-screen Worn T-shirt & Dickies Shorts! Coa2 Fast 2 Furious – Tej’s (ludacris) - Screen Worn Racing Scene Jumpsuit! - CoaMister Babadook Book Signed 1st Edition # 665 Out Of 2000 PrintedHuge Lot Of 42 Vintage Western Comics 1950s. #1s, Wyatt Earp, Roy Rogers Etc.Vintage 1920's Portrait Of Joan Crawford In Tears By Ruth Harriet Louise 10 X 13Lone Ranger And The Lost City Of Gold Orig 1958 3sht Movie Poster Folded ExZombies Of The Stratosphere Original 1952 3sht Movie Poster Folded Vg2 Fast 2 Furious – Tej’s (ludacris)- Screen Worn Mechanic Scene Jumpsuit! - CoaOld School (2003) - "spanish's" (rick Gonzalez) Fraternity Jacket With CoaVintage 1930's Joan Crawford & Clark Gable Portrait By George Hurrell - 11 X 14Pre-code Art Deco Vamp Rita La Roy Vintage 1930s Ernest A. Bachrach PhotographSon Of Frankenstein 1939 #46ad Karloff, Lugosi Signed By Boris KarloffRisqué 1934 Pre-code Bellhop Chorines Vintage Hips, Hips, Hooray! PhotographThe Mummy 8 X 19x27 Italy Fotobusta 1971 Christopher LeeHollywood Exploitation B-movie Gritty Vintage 1940 Girls Of The Road PhotographScars Of Dracula 6 X 19x27 Italy Fotobusta 1971 Christopher LeeTaylor Momsen Stage Worn And Autographed Wardrobe W/coa. The Pretty RecklessDorothy Janis In Cherokee Indian Native American Costume Vintage Photograph '20sThing That Couldnt Die Original 1958 Set Of 8 Lc's 11x14 Vg-nmKirk Douglas Stanley Kubrick Tony Curtis Camera Crew Candid Set Spartacus PhotoStar Wars Original 1977 Set Of 8 Mini Lc's 8x10 Harrison Ford Carrie Fisher NmBette Davis James Cagney Original 1941 Lobby Card The Bride Came C.o.d.Famous Outlaws Bonnie & Clyde Attraction Poster For Authentic Photos! Shootout! Slime People Original 1963 Set Of 8 Lc's Robert Burton Susan Hart NmMst3k Creature Feature 2014 Movie ButtonsHuge Lot 162 Vintage Movie Stills & Publicity Photos 1940s-60s'outer Limits' 1963 'the Chamelon' By Robert Towne - Original Studio ScriptUn Angelo E Caduto - Fallen Angel Original International 40x56" Poster 1945Space Children Original 1958 Set Of 8 Lc's 11x14 ExOriginal 1956 Re-release King Of The Rocket Men Chap 1 Lobby CardKate Beckinsale As Selene The Death Dealer From Underworld Lifesize BustSideshow Collectibles Scarface Bust Ghostbusters Ghost Trap Prop Mattel Matty Collectors Replica Toy Exorcist Regan Prop Life Sized Statue Horror Figure MonsterEdith Head Costume Wardrobe Sketch From "a New Kind Of Love"Tng Chucky Doll Prop (life Size Custom Brad Dourif Signed Movie Chucky Doll)Stormtrooper E-11 Blaster Prop~hyperdyne Labs High End Lights And Sounds (mint)Ghostbusters Gb2 Proton Pack ReplicaBruni Blank Chrome Gun, 8mm (made In Italy)