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    

Diems Official Mtv Challenge Shirt & Shorts (100% Of Proceeds To Charity)1953 Marilyn Monroe Photograph Milton Greene Bed Sitting Contact Sheet Sexy OoakJoseph Jasgur Photograph Of Young Marilyn Monroe Norma Jeane Baker 1946 Pin UpAnnabelle DollOriginal Titanic Movie Prop: Life Jacket -- Life Vest W/ Coa & Original BoxExpendables 3 Movie Dolph Lundgren Screen Used Black Mil-tec Vest Wardrobe PropCylon Centurion Battlestar Galactica Costume Armour Helmet Prop Kit Mattel Hover Board From Back To The Future With Mini Replica - BttfOvomorph (egg) Replica From The Film Aliens Signed By 9 Cast Members Harrison Ford Signed Autographed 11x14 Photo Psa/dna #w00904 Star Wars Han SoloGuardians Of The Galaxy Ds Movie Poster Cast Signed Premiere Autograph AvengersLife Size 1:1 Chucky DollExpendables 3 Movie Mel Gibson Screen Used John Varvatos Velvet Sport Coat PropProp Money New Style $500,000 Duffle Bag Package For Movie, Tv, Videos NoveltySteve Mcqueen Fire Helmet Battalion Chief Towering Inferno Replica Sffd BadgeS476. Vintage: Wheaties Lone Ranger Life-sized Promotional 25x75" Poster (1957)Han Solo In Carbonite, Star Wars, 1:1 Movie PropVintage 1942 George Hurrell Art Deco Blonde Beauty Jane Wyman Glamour PhotographGhostbusters Proton Pack Movie Prop With Lights And SoundsKen Taylor Poltergeist Mondo Poster Custom Framed Or Unframed - Rare Mib Nrfb 2007 Tonner Le 2000 Cinderella "prince Charming" 17" DollVintage 1951 Elizabeth Taylor Photograph Virgil Apger Rare Finest Pin Up EarlyVintage Mylene Demongeot 1961 Photograph French Pin Up Pouty Bikini Sexy IngenueLost World - Jurassic Park 1997 Rare Lenticular Movie Poster 27 X 40Victor Crowley Hatchet 1 Silicone Life Size Bust! Made By Jason Myers MaskGhostbuster Ghost Trap Matty Collector New In BoxStar Wars Efx Force Unleashed Stormtrooper Commander Helmet 1:1 Scale1:1 Life Size Terminator Terminatrix Tx Bust PropJames Dean Eyeglasses By Shady Character Black Frames Tinted Johnny DeppChris Kyle CoinBlade Runner Blaster & Stand Prop Replica SidkitIndiana Jones Raiders Lost Of The Lost Ark Abner Ravenwood Journal Replica Prop!S477. Vintage: Wheaties Tonto Life-sized Promotional 25x75" Poster (1957)Vintage Star Wars Original One Sheet 24" X 36" Movie Poster Ptw531 19771965~james Bond 007~huge Orig Drive-in Movie Poster~thunderball~fairly Good CondIndependence Day 1996 Movie Production Used Usaf Flight Jumpsuit Wardrobe PropAuthentic Marilyn Monroe Hair Lock W Photo Autograph Certified Memorabilia1980's Ghostbusters Proton Pack And More!Marvelous Large Format 1930s Art Deco C.s. Bull Vintage Photograph Madge EvansExpendables 3 Movie Dolph Lundgren Screen Used Black Military Combat Prop PantsGhostbusters Proton Pack With Lights And SoundGhostbusters Mattel Matty Collector Ghost TrapVintage 1954 Pin Up Film Noir Photograph Gloria Grahame Femme Fatale Naked AlibiDisney Herbie: Fully Loaded 2005 Movie Michael Keaton Screen Used Degree PropCaptain America Helmet The Winter Soldier 2015 Movie Helmet 1:1 Collectible 1929 Art Deco Flapper Vamp Evelyn Brent Vintage Photograph Turban Broadway DramaMattel Ghostbusters Pke MeterZombie Halloween Horror Movie Prop Collector Annabelle Possessed Doll Rare!! *Star Wars Custom Movie Maquette B-wing, With LightsG&p M41a Alien Pulse Conversion Kit For Marui M1a1 Series RipleyJurassic Park Barbasol Cryogenics Canister Cryocan Cryo Can PropWild Risque 1929 Pre Code Jazz Age Photograph Dance Of Life Burlesque Costume Nr Fine Art Deco Hollywood Regency Oversize Photograph Vintage 1945 Ginger RogersJohn Wayne The Duke Country Western Celebrity Signed Autograph Photo B & W Ruby Slippers Dorothy Wizard Of Oz Replicas Display W Case Judy Garland Funko Pop Disney Hipster Nerd Ariel With Glasses Hot Topic Exclusive VinylGone With The Wind One Sheet Movie Poster Clark Gable Vivien Leigh R-19541957 Universal Sci-fi "the Incredible Shrinking Man" Half-sheet "b" Giant Cat!!!Kane Hodder's Trading Card #4. Winning Bidder Gets A Phone Call From Kane!Gene Tierney ~ Original 1941 Glamour Portrait For Sundown... Linen-backed