Sunday, December 11, 2005


This weeks sale of Tony Nourmand’s collection of exploitation posters (aka Debbie Does Deptford) at Christie’s London was a bit of a damp squib, as they say over here. 123 of the 300 lots passed (for a 40% unsold rate) and the auction took in $120,000 (this and other prices given are net of the 20% buyer’s premium and are calculated at $1.75 to the the British Pound. )

This is a bit of a puzzlement since the auction was extremely well promoted: an excellent dedicated web site was launched for it, the sale was tied in to the publication of Tony’s new book on exploitation posters and the event received massive publicity not only in the British press, but there were coverage my media outlets around the world. There was a preview party (attended by the PPs - Privileged Punters) put on by Christie’s and there was a constant buzz on the movie poster discussion groups for weeks before the event and what was a first for a movie poster sale, Christie’s issued a special supplement to the catalog to correct color problems with 21 of the images reproduced.

I con only conclude that the avid movie poster buying audience Christie’s has created since its first sale in the late 90s did not take to what is obviously an acquired taste in kitsch. The youngish art directors who have decorated the light washed exposed brick walls of their Shoreditch flats with U.S. 3 sheets of The Italian Job (“It’s not really about he subjugation of women, you know. It’s more about the culture of violence”) and Yugoslavian posters for Taxi Driver (“I haven’t quite figured out what two ostriches and a zeppelin have to do with Scorsese’s vision of mid 20th Century America, but the graphics are quite striking, don’t you think?) weren’t ready to follow Tony Nourmand with a leap of faith off the cliff of bad taste. The danger with being on the cutting edge is that one can get sliced in half (or perhaps in this case it should be the rutting edge --- I know, I know: once a tart for puns, always a tart for puns.)

As for results the high point of the sale was the Italian large format poster for Big Jim McLain (title Marijuana in Italy.) Designed by Luigi Martinati, it went for $7900. This was a bit of a low point for me since I was the underbidder. My client had given me a brief to go as high as $7400 and while I might have pushed it a bit, I was in a battle with a phone bidder who was coming back on each bid with no hesitation. it was obvious they wanted this poster at just about any price. If I had been buying it for myself, I might well have gone on bidding so as to make it a really expensive buy for this person. I was also outbid on several other items. Several of my clients did not believe that posters such as this would go for more than a few hundred dollars. I did get Girl With An Itch for one happy customer and in this case, even though he was willing to go much higher, it cost him a mere $175. Obviously it had no reserve, which was a problem with many of the lots, where the base price seemed just too high. I think there would have been a lot more bidding action if the reserves had been removed. Among other results, Gun Crazy and Chelsea Girls sold for $5200, which was the low estimate for each. A stunning poster with art by Hap Hadley for Cock Of The Air went for $5600 which was one bid above the lowest guide price.

On the whole, I still think this was an important sale. For all its trendiness and penumbral relation to show business, the movie poster hobby is quite stodgy. Someone has to attempt to lift t he flap and let other types of film paper into the tent. We can’t go on selling the same 450 posters over and over again forever.

Coming up this week, also at Christie’s (South Ken, London) is a small (156 lots), but nicely put together sale of film and entertainment memorabilia. There’s some Chaplin material as well as a selection of golden age Disney animation cels and production drawings plus an impressive collection of autographs as well as props from Star Wars, Dr. Who and the Harry Potter series. Complete results of the exploitation sale and an online catalog of the entertainment sale can be found at

As indicated on this site’s ( masthead, The Nostalgia Factory has been sold to Newbury Comics, a Boston based chain of record stores with outlets in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine. In a bit of irony, back in the mid 90s, our second store in Boston was on Newbury Street, just about directly below Newbury Comics’ flagship outlet. Barbara and I are working with Lisa and the other nice folks at Newbury Comics in the transition of the inventory and web site. Pretty soon I will be launching an information only site ( that will cover travel, war and advertising posters as well as film posters. It will basically be a place to get some answers to the questions we keep getting about posters generated by our appearance on Antiques Roadshow. The site should be up and running in a few weeks. We’re currently in London through the end of March. I’m working on a couple of books and Barbara is finally able to devote more time to her mystery fiction site, Meanwhile, I can be reached via: if there are any comments about Poster News Bulletin. Merry Christmas to all.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


A pair of major auctions loom on the horizon: The Heritage Vintage Movie Poster sale on November 10th and 11th and the Christie’s (London South Ken) Exploitation Poster Art event.

First, the Christie’s sale: the venerable auction house is taking a bit of gamble, devoting an entire sale to what might be considered, at first glance, tawdry promos for guys in raincoats movies. But several factors lead me to believe that they might be onto a runner here. Firstly, this isn’t just any group of flea-pit/drive in posters. The sale is based on a book published this week, Exploitation Poster Art by well known London based film poster dealer and author of many books related to the field. Actually, the book is the basis of the auction, which is properly titled: Exploitation Poster Art: The Tony Nourmand Collection. The sale features over 300 pieces and many are featured in the book. Secondly, there are some amazing posters on offer, including a double crown (30 x 20 inches) for Andy Warhol’s and Paul Morrissey’s Chelsea Girls ( 1966)with art by Alan Aldrige; the Italian quattro (79 x 55 inches) for Marijuana (Big Jim Mclain - 1952) starring John Wayne with art by Luigi Martinati and and a U.,s. one sheet (27 x 41 inches) for one of the classic psychedelic poster images, The Acid Eaters (1967..) Add up the impressive credentials of the collection’s source, the prestige of the venue, the surprising quality of the posters included and the massive publicity campaign undertaken (the book/auction have their own - very well produced - web site with background, images and links: and I think there will be some surprising events. Barbara and I will be at this auction and I might note, as a merely anecdotal indication of the auction’s potential success, we have been commissioned by several of our customers to place substantial bids on some of the more interesting lots.

The Heritage sale will take place at their Dallas headquarters. The entire catalog is on line at (and bidding can be done on the Internet as well as the traditional format - left bid, phone etc.), but as with previous sales, I strongly recommend one purchase this catalog as a reference work. It runs over 300 pages and the comments on each poster, written mainly by Grey Smith and Ron Moore, contain often never before revealed gems of information about either the subject poster or the film it promotes. There are over 1000 lots in this auction and one is hard put to pick out highlights, so I’ll go with some personal favorites: the six sheet (81 x 81) for Laura (1944); Wings (1927) one sheet: Italian quattro for Assalto Al Cielo (Chain Lightning 1950) with fantastical futuristic artwork by Martinati and a stunning one sheet for Thief of Bagdad (1924.) This is just a bare taste of the 1000+ lots. There is a massive Humphrey Bogart section, some major horror and sci-fi pieces and a nice selection of 30s Disney material. Warning, once you hit the website and start looking at lots, you’ll be there for hours.

There are a two books just issued that deserve some attention. First is The Star Wars Poster book by Steve Sansweet and Peter Vilmur(Chronicle Books.) Until now poster dealers and collectors have had to rely on scattered sources of information about the Star Wars posters produced. There are web sites, auction catalogs, such oddities as the Star Wars Checklist (which was invaluable) and oral history from grizzled ex-projectionists, movie theater managers and ushers who actually handled the posters when they were issued. Well now there has appeared what I believe will be the definitive work in the field. This large format 300+ page hardcover book displays 288 images of star wars posters from all six of the films. It is exhaustive in its coverage of U.S. and foreign posters, tie-in promotional posters, special issues, etc. Each posters has descriptive text and the quality of the visuals is exceptional. I’m fairly sure that from now on we will be referencing Star Wars posters by the page numbers in this book. Steve Sansweet has long been known to Star Wars poster collectors as someone you could e-mail with a tough question and always get a response from. His knowledge and that of his co-author, drench each page. There is a great section on bootlegs and reprints (with a method for telling an original Star Wars Style D from fake a that will make your head spin the first time you read it. But it’s well worth memorizing -- don’t try to understand it, just how to repeat to yourself. It rivals attempting to understand the Italian poster re-release codes, the Belgian telephone numbers, the French printers and other arcane ways to date posters.) The back of the book contains 27 pages of miniscule type that lists every known theatrical release Star Wars poster; every known advertising and promotional poster and every know commercial poster. These pages are worth the price of the book ($50.00) alone.

The second book is Leonard Maltin’s 2006 Movie Guide. I reprint the review I wrote for Barbara’s site The site is devoted to reviewing mystery fiction, but every once in awhile, the publishers send along a movie book, aware of our other interests. Barbara has this strange compulsion to review just about every book sent her. Those books that don’t make it through the review process are the really badly written self published works. Once not too long ago, there were vanity presses for compulsive authors who couldn’t write and they are still around. I love to read the titles from the Exposition Press ad in the Sunday Times ( God Was My Co-Signer: Memoirs Of A Loan Officer). But now we have self publishing with print to order so not even the modest amount of money needed to self print holds back the flood of horrid writing. This is the kind of stuff that came in over their transom which first readers at publishing houses had to pour through in hope of finding another Gone With The Wind. Rant over. reviewing the evidence is an enjoyable site if you are a mystery fan and Leonard Maltin’s book is a joy to hold in both hands.

by Leonard Maltin
Plume, August 2005
1664 pages
ISBN: 0452286999

Reviewed by rudy franchi

When Barbara and I were writing our book, MILLER'S MOVIE COLLECTIBLES, we relied on a number of sources for release dates, plots, casts, names of directors, and so on. The imdb ( was invaluable of course as were Ephraim Katz's FILM ENCYCLOPEDIA and the various books by the late Leslie Halliwell. But the one work we kept by our side and referred to most often was Leonard Maltin's MOVIE GUIDE. Updated annually, this huge (1500+ pages) work not only contains information on 16,000 movies but its accuracy is amazing.

Mr Maltin is not just an expert on films old and new, he is steeped in a cinematic brew that seems to have penetrated his every pore. His love of movies, especially early comedy shorts and animated films, shows through in every entry and his comments on each film are a joy to read.

Even when he is forced to give half a star (or even his lowest rating BOMB), he finds something positive to say about a particular actor or scene or line of dialogue. I've always felt that he agrees with me that there are really no bad movies, just some bad editing that left out all the really good parts.

Aside from the thousands upon thousands of capsule reviews, the book has a few other interesting features. One my favorites is the directory of movie stars that lists the titles of all the films that are mentioned in the book. There is a similar index for directors, an addition dear to the heart of this unreconstructed auteurist.

One quirky page that I expect to disappear from every new printing is the Widescreen Glossary. The two columns of tiny type lists over 100 different formats and their exact aspect ratio. I have the feeling that Mr Maltin has stubbornly resisted the removal of this example of foofish* arcana. It proudly serves as the frontispiece to the first page of capsule reviews in this current edition.

*FOOF (archaic): Friend Of Old Film; term was popular in the 1960s, but an apt description of Mr Maltin

www.reviewingtheevidence. com

Barbara and I continue to enjoy the California sunshine, but not for long. We leave for London next week and plan to spend four months in the gloom of a British winter. We will watch some bad Brit TV, take in a few plays and concerts, eat out with old friends and occasionally tdp into the swirling waters of the London movie poster scene. We will visit some of the very upscale Cinema Poster Galleries, where price is never mentioned....not because of any remnants of British reserve, but rather because the owner is afraid the customer will faint dead away and mess up their newly installed parquet floor. Until next time, rudy franchi

rudy franchi/


Saturday, September 10, 2005




A flurry of upcoming activity in the world of movie paper collecting with three auction/shows in the next few weeks.

September 11 marks the first Sunday cinema poster sale for Christie’s South Ken in London. When we were on the antique show circuit, Sunday was our dreaded day, filled with tire kickers, be backers and lid lifters. Most dealers called it Museum Day, with mostly browsers. There were also The Vultures, since this was the last day of most shows and creepy groups of bargain hunters would hang around till we were about to pack and then start making lowball offers. I hope Christie’s has better luck. But then, after eons in business, they’ve hardly depended much on luck all that much. As for the auction, it’s just about the best selection in several years. With over 400 lots, they are revving back up to the late 90s five hour marathon auctions. Among my favorite lots: one sheet (27 x 41 inches) for the 1949 re-release of Tod Browning’s Freaks; War of the Worlds (1953) half-sheet (28 x 22) -- with a hefty estimate of $11,000 to $14,000; 2001 (1968) Eye one sheet; the style B one sheet for The Producers (1967); the Japanese double panel (20 x 58) for Two For The Road plus a strong selection of paper from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) including several lobby cards (14 x11) a window card (14 x 22) as well as a 3 sheet (41 x 81) and an Italian photbusta(various sizes - this one is 19 x 27). There’s also the 1965 release one sheet, which is one of the better images on the title. The sale also features some strong Bond material, new wave country of origin posters, Hitchcock items and a number of original release UK quads. To order the catalog or view it on line:

Mike Orlando of the noted Toronto poster shop Hollywood Canteen, is organizing a show of tv and movie ephemera to take place Sunday, September 11 at Days Hotel, 30 Carlton Street, Toronto. Mike says there are to be 30 dealers with at least 5 from the U.S. The Saturday before the show, Hollywood Canteen is also having an auction (in association with Richie’s of Toronto) featuring “Art, Fiction & Fantasy In Film” with posters by Rockwell, Vargas, Petty, Bass, etc. plus posters based on famous literary works and a number of posters for major science fiction and fantasy films. Information on both events can be found at Bonus is that all prices realized will be in Canadian $, which gives buyers about a 15% discount. This is in sharp contrast to the Canadian Internet dealers who post prices in U.S. dollars and then pocket the difference. A few years ago I was in Toronto when the Canadian dollar was at about 70 cents. I called a major poster dealer and said I would like to come over and buy a pile of stuff. She told me she was much too busy and that I should use their web site when I got back to the States. Needless to say, I never did. I only register this complaint because we started business in Canada and dealt with American dealers and collectors for ten years . Whenever the C$ was below the US$ (and it did fluctuate back then), we would always give the discount. At any rate (pun intended) Mike’s auction and sale would make for a nice weekend in Toronto, a city that will surprise and amaze you with how boring it is. (Obviously, we spent our ten years in Canada in Montreal, arch enemy of Hog Town.)

rudy franchi




Poster News Bulletin ( the web log embedded on the
front page of the mega movie poster site, Nostalgia Factory (, has just had subscriber #3500 sign up to receive the bi-weekly screed written by the site’s owner, Rudy Franchi.

“When we started PNB 6 years ago, the word blog was obviously not in use, but I guess our periodic commentary on happenings in the arcane world of movie paper was just that before there was a that.” The Bulletin not only provides news of upcoming movie poster auctions and shows that sell related ephemera, it often comments, in a somewhat acidic tone, on trends in the field. Several times it has exposed questionable doings at the major auction houses and one of its commentaries on such skullduggery received wide attention in the mainstream press.

The Bulletin lives in symbiotic relation to The Nostalgia Factory web site, nestled on its front page and obviously read by the large number of visitors to the site, which gets more hits and unique visitors than any other movie poster site on the Internet. A hardcore group sign up to receive notification of every new issue and those are the subscribers whose count has hit the 3500 hundred mark.

The Nostalgia Factory has over 41,000 entries of entirely original movie posters and related items (press kits, pressbooks, promos) and is the largest and oldest such site on the Internet. The material for sale dates from the silent era through current releases and comes in formats ranging from lobby cards to immense billboard type 24 sheets.

The site is run by Mr. Franchi and his wife Barbara, who are authors of Miller’s Movie Collectibles, a guide to collecting movie posters. They have been in the business of selling movie paper for 36 years and have associated with the PBS series Antiques Roadshow as entertainment memorabilia appraisers since the show’s first season 10 years ago.

Mr. Franchi states that “PNB started as a ploy to attract traffic to the site, but it’s taken on a life of its own.” Franchi, who’s weakness for puns has left him with no friends (and barely tolerated by his family) states that he has made it quite simple to unsubscribe from PNB. “Actually,” he says “it’’s as easy as falling off a blog.”

The Nostalgia Factory, 50 Terminal St., Bldg. 2
Boston, MA 02129 617 241 8300/ 800 479 8754/Fax: 617 241 0710
Co-Author of MILLER"S MOVIE COLLECTIBLES available at Amazon
Movie posters:,
Official suppliers of images to the IMDb
London Flat:
Entertainment Memorabilia Appraiser: Antiques Roadshow
Vintage Poster Consultant: Heritage Galleries
Movie Poster News:
Crime fiction reviews:
eBay User I.D.: firedog

"If the world made any sense, we'd all die in graveyards." Georges Simenon

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Fear and Trembling in the World of Movie Stills: two major firms that deal heavily in 8 x 10 glossies, both originals and re-strikes, have been hit with major lawsuits from Corbis, the mega image library personally owned by Bill Gates (known to us Apple users affectionately as The Borg.) Movie Star News, the Wal Mart of film stills, has been hit with a $3 million suit and the British based web site,’s insurance company made a settlement in a $million suit. Corbis has been buying up every image in sight, from the murals in the Sistine Chapel to studio discarded negs featuring Pauly Shore. They not only buy the actual photos, but once they are in their vast archive, they claim ownership of all reproduction rights (though one could sincerely hope that Pauly Shore never reproduces.) I find it difficult to believe one can claim total ownership to all uses of Michaelangelo’s masterpiece, but whose going to go up against 60 billion dollars. For those of you out there who deal in stills in a major way, I suggest you consult wit h your lawyer or at least watch Judge Judy on a daily basis.

Heritage movie posters has had two one million dollar sales in a row and they are going for a hat trick this November with yet another massive sale. This one will feature posters from Red Dust ((1932), a Bogart collection including a rare African Queen (1951) U.K. quad (40 x 30 inches) plus two major Disney one sheets( 27 x 41 inches): a mid 20’s Alice poster and the seldom seen Wayward Canary (1932.) Heritage is also picking up the pace with its monthly internet auctions ( and the quality of material being offered seems to be ticking up a few notches. I guess a rising tide of movie paper lifts all one sheets.

Speaking of the internet movie sellers, Bruce Hershenson has resumed his furious pace of mass auctions one eBay. This week he announced that he will be auctioning the GREATEST AND LARGEST COLLECTION OF GLASS MOVIE SLIDES, etc. , etc. Of course Barnum Bruce is always selling THE GREATEST of everything, but as for the largest: the 2800 slides he is offering pales in comparison to the 4000+ we bought a few years ago and have been offering for sale on eBay. We took a hiatus because of our move to L.A,. and we’d like to let all our regular customers know that we will soon be resuming weekly sales of these late teens and early 20’s slides. I’d send everyone an e-mail message, but I don’t have 10,000 copies of our book to give away, since we had a publisher rather than just a printer.

Speaking of eBay, over the years we’ve usually used this venue for more off-beat items that weren’t listed on our web site, such as the glass slides mentioned above plus movie promo items and a large selection of material from the long period before we specialized in just movie posters (orange crate labels, vintage t ravel and war posters, political items, etc.) Now we have started to offer a few items from our web site ( such as a rolled Scarface advance (1963), rolled poster of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) plus BFI quads (Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Singin’ In The Rain, Some Like It Hot.) To view the auctions, just click on the eBay box. There are a few posters up now, but a lot more will go up on Monday (Aug 8) night. Regards, rrudy franchi