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Did you know... that almost every country used different sizes of posters, but that there were mostly standard sizes within each country?

Did you know... that almost every country used different sizes of posters, but that there were mostly standard sizes within each country?

Whenever a collector begins collecting posters from ANY country that they have never purchased before, the different sizes can be VERY confusing, because they almost always drastically vary from country to country. Here we describe the different sizes of posters used by country. We provide the information we know about each country's posters (especially the sizes of their posters). This does not comprehensively cover all countries that printed movie posters, but it does cover the more popular countries (and we list them alphabetically).

NOTE: If you have information to add about any of the below whether it be additional poster size descriptions, corrections, historical information, or ANYTHING ELSE worth noting, please contact us so we can update our information!

Argentinean posters measure approximately 29" x 43" (slightly larger than a U.S. one-sheet) and are typically printed in the Spanish language. Many U.S. movies were reissued years later in Argentina with new posters, and it takes some knowledge to know what Argentinean posters are original release and which ones are Argentinean re-releases. When buying Argentinean posters, one should always be sure that the seller guarantees the originality of the posters. Sometimes Argentinean posters have artwork (by artists like Venturi) that is far superior to that of the U.S. poster.

Australian daybills measured approximately 15" x 40" from the 1920s through the late 1930s (these are called "long daybills"). They are FAR more scarce than daybills from after this time (you can not find long daybills on most pre-1940 movies, and on the few you can find them from, there is often only one known example or a few known examples, except in the rare cases where someone found multiples of a single title).
    At some point almost exactly around the end of 1940, paper shortages caused by the onset of World War II caused Australian printers to drastically reduce the size of daybills, to 10" x 30" (this meant that they could print four daybills from the same sheet that used to yield two "long daybills"), meaning that the new daybills were exactly half the area of the old ones. At the end of World War II, as the paper shortages diminished, this size of daybills was increased to roughly 13" x 30", and they remained that size all the way until around 1980, when they became shorter, measuring approximately 13" x 26", and they have remained that to the present day.
    Daybills are similar in size to U.S. inserts, but they are very often full artwork posters, whereas U.S. inserts were almost always photographic posters, and daybills are always printed thin paper, while inserts are often on a thicker paper. A lot of collectors enjoy collecting Australian daybills for this reason, and also because they can be framed in many places where a one-sheet U.S. poster can not.
    For a period of time, Australian poster makers printed Australian lobby card posters , which combined six lobby card images with a credits are at the bottom. Some frugal theater owners would cut them up and use them as lobby cards! They measure the same as Australian one-sheets, and are normally folded in the same way.

Belgian posters (from after World War II) usually measure approximately 14" x 22", although they sometimes vary quite a bit. Prior to World War II they were much larger and usually measured around 25" x 34". There are other, more rare sizes from during World War II that measure approximately 12" x 17"  (few of either size survives, due to the Belgian paper shortage at that time that caused most posters to be destroyed). Unlike posters of many other countries, Belgian posters can be printed horizontally or vertically in the same size (although the majority of them have vertical images). Sometimes there is both a "vertical" poster and a horizontal poster for the same movie!
     Also, the vast majority of Belgian posters have a "blank" area at the top (usually around 4" high), where the theater could either imprint or hand write play dates, or sometimes glue a paper snipe on that area (just like with U.S. window cards). Belgian posters (especially prior to the 1980s) will often have a tax stamp attached somewhere on the poster. Many collectors see this as a "badge of originality" and certainly NOT any sort of defect. Finally, know that many films were released multiple times in Belgium. We put great effort into identifying if the posters we are offering are from the first release or from a re-release, and we always mark which the poster is clearly in the auction description.

IMPORTANT! Collectors should be aware that there are many reproductions of Belgian posters. Some of these reproductions have "Printed in Belgium" printed in the bottom border (instead of "Imprime en Belgique" in French). Other reproductions may have the correct writing at the bottom, but are on a newer sort of paper! We examine each Belgian poster we are consigned and only offer 100% original Belgian posters!

Danish posters are almost always printed in the "A1" size measuring approximately 23" x 33", although they can vary by up to 1". Danish posters (especially prior to the 1970s) usually have completely different artwork than posters from other countries and older posters can be difficult to find.

East German posters (made from 1949 to 1990) can often contain quite striking artwork (similar to that of Polish posters). Non-Russian/Non-East German films would often be released from a couple years to several years after it's initial release elsewhere in the world; albeit this was so the powers that were could check for subversive materials in the film before the East German public would be allowed to watch such films. The most common East German sizes are "A1" which measure 23" x 33", "A2" which measure 16" x 23", and "A3" which measure 11" x 16".

English posters are among the most confusing of all posters! England has an odd history of movie poster sizes! Before World War II, the sizes mostly corresponded to U.S. sizes, except strangely most of the names were "doubled" (U.S. three-sheets were English "six-sheets", U.S. six-sheets were English "twelve-sheets", etc.). The few British Quads that have survived from the 1930s DO measure 30" x 40", but they are a vertical format rather than a horizontal one!
    After World War II, English posters got even more confusing! There are British Quads, which measure 30" x 40" in a horizontal format, and are the most common size. There were English one-sheets (I have heard that they were solely printed for export use in other countries, and were not used in England, and this seems quite possible), and a size called a "double crown" (which measures 20" x 30"). There is also a size called a "liftbill" which was used in the London underground train station and they typically measure 16 1/2" x 22". If anyone can provide a better overview of English posters, please e-mail it to me and I will begin using it in my descriptions of English posters. Here is an overview of the main different modern sizes:

British quads are similar to U.S. one-sheets, but they are horizontal instead of vertical, and they measure 30" x 40". Most from before 1980 are folded. Many collectors like British quads because they display horizontally instead of vertically (similar to a half-sheet, but twice the size).

"English Front of House lobby cards", which, despite their name, much more closely resemble U.S. stills. These normally come in sets of 8 or 12, and have an English rating on them, and of course, no NSS information. They can be either color or black & white which is indicated in our description above.

English lobby cards are lobby cards that look very similar to regular U.S. lobby cards, but are marked "Printed in England", "Made in Great Britain", or something similar. They are almost always from movies that were made in Great Britain, and usually there is a U.S. lobby card set for the same title. However, the original English lobby cards are far more rare.

There are several standard sizes of French posters although the measurements can vary depending on studio and year.  Although there are other sizes as well, the standard sizes are as follows:

  • French 1p - known as a "Grande" poster and measure approximately 47" x 63" or 120cm x 160cm
    This is the standard French poster size
  • French 2p - known as a "Double Grande" poster and measure approximately 63" x 94" or 160cm x 240cm
    These are printed in two pieces that overlap to form this large poster size.  They are normally horizontal format posters, but can also be vertical.
  • French 23x32 - known as an "Affiche" poster and measure approximately 23" x 32" or 60cm x 80cm
  • French 15x21 - known as a "Petite" poster and measure approximately 15" x 21" or 40cm x 60cm
  • French LCs - measure approximately 8 1/2" x 11" or 21cm x 27cm.  These are usually issued as sets of 8, but may also be issued as a set of 6, 10, or 12.  For some films, up to three different sets may be issued which are designated with "A", "B", and "C".
  • French door-panel - known as a "Pantalon" poster and measure approximately 23" x 63" or 60cm x 160cm
  • French 31x47 - measure approximately 31" x 47" or 80cm x 120cm
    If you know the official French poster name for this size, please tell us.
  • French 4p - known as a billboard poster (we don't know the official French name) and measure approximately 91" x 123" or 240cm x 320cm
    These are printed in four pieces that overlap to form this large poster size.
    If you know the official French poster name for this size, please tell us.
  • French 8p - known as a billboard poster (we don't know the official French name) and measure approximately 118" x 156 3/4" or 300cm x 400cm
    These are printed in eight pieces that overlap to form this large poster size.
    If you know the official French poster name for this size, please tell us.

German posters (short for "West German" posters) come in various sizes (see below), although the most common German size is the "A1", which measures 23" x 33".  German posters usually have completely different images than U.S. posters, often with wonderful artwork.  They are virtually always a consistent size, so if a poster has measurements that are different from the size listed, it is likely either a special size, is trimmed, or is from a different country (collectors sometimes confuse Danish and Dutch posters for German, but they use completely different languages, although the untrained eye may have difficulty telling the differences).  It's also important to note that during World War II, U.S. movies were not distributed in Germany, but many U.S. films from that time frame (approximately 1939 to 1945) were eventually released in Germany in the 1950s or later.  These are referred to as "first release" because they are from the "first release in Germany".

  • German A1 posters measure 23" x 33", and are the standard German poster size
  • German A2 posters measure 16" x 23", and are a fairly rare size
  • German A0 posters measure 33" x 46" (or 33" x 47"), and are rare size, often commanding higher prices than other sizes.  We've also noticed that this larger size quite often has completely different artwork than the A1 poster.
  • German two-panel posters measure 46" x 66", are often printed in two pieces ("two-panel"), and are a rare size, often commanding higher prices than other sizes.  We've also noticed that this larger size quite often has completely different artwork than the A1 poster.
  • German lobby card posters measure 23" x 33" (the same as the "A1") and combine eight lobby card images with perforated edges so they could be separated if theater owners chose, and they are normally folded in the same way as an A1.  Sometimes, different styles of German lobby card posters are made with different sets of images.
  • German lobby cards usually measure approximately 9 1/2" x 12", but may vary depending on when the cards are from and possibly other factors.  Sets can be 8 cards or more.

One final note: there are also "East German" posters which are completely different from (West) German posters, and are far more rare.  They often measure the same as West German posters, but are easily identifiable by the "Progress Film" logo present on them, which is the bureaucratic entity that handled exclusive distribution in East Germany.

See Also:
Did You Know... that there are German and Japanese posters from the late 1940s printed with English on them?

Italian posters most often come in five sizes.

  • one-panel, the Italian equivalent to a U.S. one-sheet, (called a "2 fogli" in Italy or a one-panel or two-sheet in the U.S.) measures 39" x 55".
  • two-panel (also called four-sheets or '4 fogli") that measure 55" x 78" and they are printed in two sections that overlap.
  • one-sheet (often called an "Italian one-sheet" in the U.S.) is the Foglio which measures 28" x 39" and are somewhat uncommon.
  • locandinas which somewhat resemble U.S. inserts and which also come in a variety of sizes, though most commonly approximately 13" x 27"
  • photobustas which are printed on glossy paper and come in a variety of sizes and are most commonly are made in sets (similar to U.S. lobby cards, except that they are almost always quite a bit larger, and on thinner paper). Photobustas can vary quite a bit in size though most commonly approximately 18" x 27". Some of them measure only slightly larger than a U.S. lobby card, and some measure slightly smaller than a U.S. one-sheet! But they almost always come in a set of 8 (but this too varies!).

See Also:
Did You Know... that Italian movie posters are among the hardest of all countries to date?

Japanese posters varied in size prior to World War II, but very few of them survive, and they are extremely scarce! After World War II, the Japanese posters became standard sizes as follows:

  • Japanese 20x28 - known as a "B2" poster and measure 20" x 28 1/2"
    This is the standard Japanese poster size
  • Japanese 40x58 - known as a "B0" and measure 40" x 58"
  • Japanese two-panel (2p) - known as a "STB" or "Tatekan" poster and measure 20" x 57"
    These are printed in two 20" x 28 1/2" pieces designed to overlap at the top of one and the bottom of the other, thus creating a two-piece or two-panel poster.  It is said that these were (mostly) phased out in the early-1970s and are no longer or rarely being made.
  • Japanese 29x40 - known as a "B1" and measure 29" x 40"
    These are typically a vertical format poster, but can occasionally be in a horizontal format
  • Japanese 10x29 - known as a "B4", "speed poster", or "Japanese insert" and measure 10" x 29"
  • Japanese 14x20 - known as a "B3" or "Nakazuri" and measure 14" x 20"
    These were used in bus, subway, and train stations and resemble U.S. heralds in that they have information about the movie printed on the reverse.  Often, collectors have these posters linenbacked, as they are willing to lose the information on the reverse in order to better enjoy the image on the front.
  • Japanese 7x10 - known as a "B5" or "Chirashi" and measure close to 7" x 10"
    These also resemble U.S. heralds in that they have information about the movie printed on the reverse.  Often, collectors have these posters linenbacked, as they are willing to lose the information on the reverse in order to better enjoy the image on the front.

See Also:
Did You Know... that there are German and Japanese posters from the late 1940s printed with English on them?

Mexican lobby cards typically measure 12" x 17" or so, but there are also some that are somewhat larger, and there are also ones that measure exactly 11" x 14". All are printed in the Spanish language, and almost all are on a heavy paper stock similar to that of U.S. lobby cards

Polish posters are most commonly seen in two sizes, 23" x 33" and 26" x 38", although they can vary slightly from these sizes, and there are also much smaller and much larger Polish posters, although those are rarely seen. The most notable aspect about Polish posters is their often wild surrealistic art, often having only the slightest connection to the movie they are advertising! Most Polish posters are often valued far more according to the artist and the quality of the image rather than by the movie that is advertised.

Russian posters measure various sizes. Because the Russian alphabet bears no relationship to the English alphabet, it can be very difficult to determine what movie a Russian movie poster is advertising! We have people who read Russian determine that we are listing each Russian poster we sell under the correct title! Also, there are often "export" posters for Russian movies that were printed in other languages such as French or English that were made to be used when those movies were shown in other countries!

Spanish posters (the ones that were printed in Spain) often are slightly smaller than U.S. one-sheets (around 27" x 39"), and normally have completely different art from that of the U.S. posters. Note that in the 1930s to 1950s, U.S. studios often printed posters for their U.S. releases with the exact same artwork, but with Spanish writing (often with a "Toda En Espanol" added to the image), for use in U.S. theaters with primarily Spanish-speaking audiences but these are NOT posters from Spain! These are U.S. posters printed in Spanish, and are not to be confused with Spanish posters from Spain!

Swedish movie posters can vary in size quite a bit, but are most commonly found in three sizes: 23" x 34", 27" x 39" (often referred to as "Swedish one-sheets"), and 12 1/2" x 27 1/2" (known as a "Swedish stolpe" and sometimes referred to as a "Swedish insert"). The 23" x 34" and 27" x 39" sizes often have distinctively striking artwork that is completely different than that found on posters from all other countries. Stolpes, on the other hand, are more like a cross between U.S. heralds and window cards with a blank area that theaters could imprint their name and show dates.

Turkish movie posters are similar in size to U.S. one-sheets, and often measure 27" x 39". They often contain both the Turkish title and the U.S. title in large letters, but some have the English title in small letters, and some have no English title at all. They almost always have very different graphics from the U.S. posters, and sometimes they have artwork that appears on no other poster! They are printed on a paper stock similar to that used for pre-1960s U.S. one-sheets. Turkish posters are not dated, so it is difficult to know exactly when the poster was released, but it seems likely that most of them date from after the first U.S. release, but usually likely within a few years of the U.S. release (except in the case of a much later re-release). If we have a guess as to when the Turkish poster was released, we put it on the auction, but otherwise we put the original year of release. Please do not buy any Turkish posters unless you can live with the uncertainty as to when they were released.

The most common Yugoslavian poster size is around 19" x 27" but other sizes (such as 27" x 39 1/2") also exist. Yugoslavia fragmented into separate countries during the 1990s. For the sake of simplicity, we still list posters from the new countries (such as Serbia, Croatia & Bosnia) as Yugoslavian.

Yugoslavian posters from before World War II are extremely rare! Yugoslavia is believed to be the only eastern European country that had a pre-WWII contract with Universal Studios but we have never seen any posters from this time period.

After World War II, import and distribution of movies was controlled by the government and, in the early post-war years, mainly imported films from the Soviet Union. Eventually, a single distribution company was created for each Yugoslavian republic. Morava Film distributed films for Serbia, Zeta Film for Montenegro, Croatia Film for Croatia, Makedonija Film for Macedonia, Vesna Film for Slovenia and Kinema Sarajevo for Bosnia.

In the 1950s, most Yugoslavian posters featured art by Yugoslavian artists such as Alfred Lehner, Guglielmo 'Willy' Stipanov, Ivanisevic, Stokic, Sasa Nikolic, and others. Later, it was more common for posters to use foreign art but some posters were still created with original Yugoslavian artwork.

Yugoslavian posters rarely have a date printed on them but the artist's signature sometime include the year which helps to date the poster. Until sometime in the 1980s, most U.S. films were released in Yugoslavia 2 to 4 years after the U.S. release date.

Next week we will cover all common U.S. sizes!

See Also:
Did you know... that movie poster sizes did not change for nearly 100 years? (Part One)
Did you know... that after barely changing for nearly 100 years, one-sheets had several changes starting around 1980? (Part Two)
Did You Know... that Italian movie posters are among the hardest of all countries to date?
Did you know... that there are several different types of 8" x 10" publicity movie stills?
Did You Know... that there are German and Japanese posters from the late 1940s printed with English on them?

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