John Wayne is one of America’s most beloved and famous actors. He was prolific on the silver screen, having averaged a pace of 3.5 movies a year. He kept this up for five decades and appeared in 170+ motion pictures. The most sought-out collectibles from his acting career are original movie posters . They were printed across many different languages and can fetch mighty high prices based on their condition and rarityMovie posters give collectors and movie lovers alike a glimpse into how Wayne’s movies were marketed and advertised. They can also bring back a sense of nostalgia for those old enough to remember his films as they were coming out.

Nov 11th, 2017 @ 10:23


John Wayne with american flag

Poster rarity

Experts think there are, at most, 20 movie posters from each of Wayne’s 93 pre-1945 films. Many believe the number could be less for some of his more famous movies like Stagecoach (1939) and Flying Tigers (1942)Posters from the pre-war era are rare because paper was needed for the war effort. Not much could be spared to print movie posters. In addition, movie theaters were told to return posters to the studio after use.

Angel and the Badman, 1946

Angel and the Badman, 1946

The Fighting Kentuckian

The Fighting Kentuckian,1949

Poster Conditions

Many posters that were made before 1985 come with folds due to the shipping process from the printing studio to a movie theater. A lot of posters from more recent years come with a linen backing that is intended to reduce creasing and prevent wear. However, these linen backed posters are sometimes not as desired by collectors. There’s also a bevy of reproduction and reprint material out on the market. Some cinemas released small poster cards that featured some of his films as well.

The Searchers, 1956

The Searchers, 1956

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962

Is Your Movie Poster Authentic?

Authentic John Wayne movie posters usually command some big money. A poster from the film Stagecoach sold in September for 31,000 UK pounds ($US 41,000) as part of a bigger auction of 66 posters. The posters were actually found by builders in Cardiff Wales while they were renovating the home of a deceased cinema owner. All of the posters were actually being used as carpet underlay in the house, but were still in pristine condition. The poster collection was so rare and in such good shape auction house Rogers Jones & Co Auctioneers couldn’t even put an estimated price on them. Some of the other posters featured Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Laurence Oliver, and Henry Fonda.

Paradise Canyon

Paradise Canyon, 1935

Conclusion

Many of Wayne’s posters that hit the market are not going to be in perfect pristine condition. Since they were used in theaters, they usually come with pinholes, folds, tears, tape and writing. Some people see these blemishes as part of the history behind the piece. Others opt to put a linen backing on the poster to prevent further degradation. Adding a John Wayne movie poster to any collection is sure to be a great choice. As one of the nation’s most iconic actors, and the embodiment of the American spirit, John Wayne’s legacy lives on, and his posters continue to rise in value.

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