1961 “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Half Sheet Poster

Value (2004) | $4,500 Retail$5,000 Retail

GUEST:
I was in graduate school at the University of Southern California back in the early mid-'80s, and I bought this at a movie poster store in Hollywood in 1985. I paid about $200 for it.

APPRAISER:
Oh, really? Wow. What you have is called a half-sheet. Back then they produced movie paper in a wide range of sizes. What we have today, what we see in front of the movie theaters is called a one-sheet and that's the basic unit, and was back then the basic unit, but they also produced half-sheets. This is 28 x 22 inches. They produced long, thin posters called inserts, they produced great big posters called three-sheets, six-sheets, even billboards-- they would decorate the lobby with and the neighborhood with. They'd put window cards in all the stores. It's exactly the same image in all the poster sizes, but it's called the "key art." It was like a logo, and they would keep on repeating it over and over again in all the various formats. So the half-sheet was a very popular size. Being horizontal, it sort of echoes the image on the movie screen. Now, this poster is from 1961, and the way you can tell is this little number down here. The first two numbers are the year.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
And the numbers after the slash are called the National Screen number. National Screen distributed all of the advertising materials to the movie theaters.

GUEST:
Oh, okay.

APPRAISER:
And they gave each film as it came along-- regardless of the studio, it was all in the order of release a number. And everything to do with the advertising, the trailers for that film, had that number. As for condition, it is as bright and clean as you can get a poster to be. It obviously has not been displayed.

GUEST:
No, I've had it rolled up.

APPRAISER:
You've had it rolled up. There's one slight area of damage here, this tear. Now, it could be mended with archival tape. Also, you could have this what they call linen-mounted and they can then repair this and very slightly paint in where that tear goes into the T. But this poster is so excellent, I would try and just stabilize this by using archival tape so that the tear doesn't increase any. Repairing this tear either way is not going to change the value up or down. It's just a matter of stabilizing it. Now, the collectibles market is very cruel. A lot of famous actors and actresses die and the things don't go up in value. And there are exceptions, and the major exception recently has been Audrey Hepburn.

GUEST:
Really? She's one of my favorites.

APPRAISER:
Mine too, actually. (both laughing) In the '80s, $200 was a little bit steep for what you paid, but when you buy movie posters in Hollywood, you're paying super retail. Back then, it should have sold for about half of that.

GUEST:
Oh, really?

APPRAISER:
As it went into... As it went into the '90s, the value went up into the low hundreds. After she died, the values just skyrocketed. Right now, to put a value on this, a half-sheet in this condition for "Breakfast at Tiffany's," would sell for between $4,500 and $5,000.

GUEST (laughing): Oh, you've got to be kidding me. $4,500? Oh, my gosh.

APPRAISER:
The one-sheet has gone as high as $7,000.

GUEST:
Wow. I had no idea.

APPRAISER:
So I'm glad you brought it in to us.

GUEST:
Oh-- well, thank you. $4,500... (laughing) I had no idea.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, CA
Appraised value (2004)
$4,500 Retail$5,000 Retail
Event
Omaha, NE (July 10, 2004)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paper

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