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Stock Rising For Sports Movie Posters

May 12, 2009

By Ray Schulte, SchulteSports.com


Authentic vintage movie posters have skyrocketed in value over the years -- with no downturn in sight.
Back in the mid-'80s, a friend gave me a "Safe at Home" lobby card as a gift in exchange for some advice concerning his baseball collection. It was a nice gesture -- especially since the movie starred Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris -- and the thought of collecting sports movie memorabilia was intriguing.

When I began my collection, I started with sports-related posters from pre-1970s, American-made movies with prominent athletes. As always, the collectibles had to be in excellent mint condition.

The poster for the 1938 film "Rawhide," starring New York Yankee great Lou Gehrig and actor Smith Ballew, is a favorite in my collection. Other favorites include: "Follow The Sun," a 1950 movie about the life of golf legend Ben Hogan; "The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950); "Pride of the Yankees" (1952), starring Gary Cooper and Babe Ruth; and "The King of the Texas Rangers" (1941), starring football great Sammy Baugh.

Authentic vintage movie posters have skyrocketed in value over the years -- with no downturn in sight.

There weren't as many sports-movie poster collectors 20 years ago as there are now. Bill Hughes, one of the foremost buyers and sellers of vintage movie posters, comics, signatures and coins in the country, was extremely helpful in explaining the movie poster collector's mentality and steering me in the right direction.

During the explosion of movie houses across the country, the National Screen Service or the movie studio would issue stone litho painted posters to be displayed in the theater. There were various sizes: one sheet, insert, half sheet, three sheet, lobby card and window card.

Vintage movie posters are scarce because movie houses had to return them to get the next movie's posters. The majority of the posters were returned as requested, but over the years some stored in theater or movie company basements and warehouses made their way to dealers and collectors.

National auction houses such as Christies and Sotheby's started featuring vintage sports movie posters in the early 1990s and now every auction house throughout the country, as well as online auction companies, conduct vintage poster auctions.

"The 'Holy Grail' of sports movie posters is 'Babe Comes Home,'" Hughes said. "The 1927 film cast Babe in the movie and features him in the poster as well. The stone litho poster has vibrant colors and this poster is extremely scarce."

Hughes purchased a "Babe Comes Home" one sheet in 2004 for $138,000. Today, it is worth up to $165,000.

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MORE COLLECTIBLE NEWS

The Highland Mint has released fully updated Major League Baseball Signature Ballparks PhotoMints for all 30 big league teams. Each PhotoMint features a color photo of the ballpark taken on Opening Day of this season and facsimile signatures of some of the team's players.

Each stadium's PhotoMint is limited to 2,009 prints.

SchulteAuctions.com launched its sports/entertainment memorabilia online auction platform. Vince Greco Collection and Brian Roberts Game-used Collection coming soon. Consignments welcome. Visit www.SchulteAuctions.com or e-mail contactus@SchulteAuctions.com and Register Today!

Issue 137: May 2009