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    

Master Replicas Han Solo Elite Edition Blaster 1/1 Prop Replica Star Wars UsedPoltergeist Screen Used ClownStar Wars Master Replicas Rebel BlasterJoseph Jasgur Photograph Of Young Marilyn Monroe Norma Jeane Baker 1946 Pin-upChappie Screen Used Die Antwoord R4 Gun (relist)Rare, Original "caprice" Press Book Signed By Doris DayHalloween * 1978 Original Movie Poster 1sh John Carpenter's Michael Myers Mask[recast] Avengers Iron Man Mkiii Mk3 Clean (life Size) 1:1 Big Statue BustVintage~1977~1984~1985~kenner~star~wars~potf~last~17~luke~skywalker~stormtrooperEarly Marilyn Monroe Vintage 1946 Wild Rarest Pin-up Blue Book Model PhotographGhostbusters Proton Pack From Ghostbustin' 911Star Wars X Wing Wing Helmet Prop. Luke Skywalker 1:1 Star Wars V The Empire Strikes Back Original Mounted Production Used Storyboard3 Rare "the House Of Frankenstein" 1944 Movie Lobby Cards Karloff & Chaney Planet Of The Apes * 1968 Original Movie Poster 1sh Charlton Heston HalloweenPoltergeist Madison Bowen Kennedi Clements Screen Used Stuffed Piggy CornCattoys 1:1captain America Winter Soldier Shield Metal Made Prop"frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man" 1943 Movie Lobby Card *rare*Neca Mcfarlane Army Of Darkness Evil Dead Deadite Pit Witch Henrietta S Mart AshGhostbusters Pke Meter - Matty Collector - Adult Movie Prop Replica MattelStar Wars Han Solo In Carbonite, Rare , Life Size Prop Replica 1.00 From Real 89 Cape The Dark 4 Batman Knight Costume Suit Cowl Template ProtoGorgeous 1930 Greta Garbo Fabulous Art Deco Anna Christie C.s. Bull PhotographHalloween Movie Blood GlobeGodzilla 1956 King Of The Monsters Movie Lobby Card #6 Staring Raymond Burr1920s Jazz Age Kenneth Alexander Large Photograph Vintage Cloche Hat Lili DamitaFactory X 1:1 Scale Marvel Comics Captain America Shield Movie Prop Replica '34 Vintage George Hurrell Joan Crawford Art Deco Glamour Photograph Sadie MckeeRobert Hitchcock Oil Lamp With Clock Work Blower From Steve Mc Queens EstateDc Comics Batman Utility Belt Prop Replica Rare Gold EditionA Nightmare On Elm Street - Original 1sh Movie Poster 41x27Scream Killer's Knife Prop Signed By Neve Campbell & Skeet UlrichChappie Screen Used Tetravaal Scout Assembly Line & Generic Scout Parts Set (rl)2 Star Wars Force Fx Master Replica Light Sabers ( Darth Maul) New In BoxDc Comics Batman Utility Belt Prop Replica Rare Gold EditionMichael Myers Mask - Warlock - Cgp - Prototype !!!Rare Collectible 1950 Disney Regal China Alice In Wonderland Cookie Jar Mad Max Fury Road Huge 4 X 6 Feet Movie PosterTo Kill A Mockingbird *1962 Original Movie Poster 1sh Gregory Peck Harper Lee's Space 1999 Equipment The Crew Of The EagleInvasion Of The Body Snatchers 1956 3 Sheet Original LbStar Wars The Force Awakens! 2015 27x40 Ds Poster! New! TeaserCharred Master Pt 4 Freddy Krueger GloveBack To The Future 2 Marty Mcfly Future Jacket Prop Replica Rare Collectible Hot Pursuit Daniella Stunt Double Herve Leger Dress & Shoes Ch 1Iron Man Mk 7 Helmet Prop Replica Raw CastRomantic 1920s Vilma Bánky Large Melbourne Spurr Silent Film Flapper PhotographDiaghilev Ballets Russes 1916. Prog. Massine. Tchernicheva. Leon Bakst. FedorovaIron Man Helmet Prop Replica Cast As Seen In Avengers - Age Of UltronLove Bites Traci Lords Original Adult Poster Signed By Suze Randall For Charity!The Texas Chainsaw Massacre * Original Movie Poster 1sh 1980 New Line HalloweenMarilyn Monroe Let's Make Love 1960 Gorgeous Original Vintage PhotographThe Exorcist *1973 Original Movie Poster 1sh Linda Blair Devil Halloween HorrorAvengers Ultron Signed Movie Poster & T-shirt Downey Thor Captain Hulk FantasticHalloween 1978 Original Folded Never Used Us 1sh Movie Poster Black Ratings BoxBlade Runner Blaster Parts Lot / Movie Prop Replica PartsScarface * 1983 Original Movie Poster 1sh Al Pacino Tony Montana Coke AuthenticE.t. The Extra Terrestrial 1982 Original Movie Poster Drew Barrymore 27 By 41Clara Bow It 1927 Beautiful Original Vintage Photograph By Otto DyarIconic Camera Negative Silent Film Star Olive Borden Photoplay Magazine Photo Nr