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Did you know... that professional restoration usually increases a poster's value and amateur restoration usually lessens a poster's value?

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Added: 02/06/2012

In every collectible field (as well as in antiques and fine art) "restoration" is a much debated topic! In some fields, restoration (no matter how professional) greatly LOWERS the value of an item, because over time it becomes more and more difficult to find completely unrestored examples of a desired item, so collectors pay a premium for "unrestored", especially if the item has survived in excellent condition, and they often take this to pretty insane levels when an item is either from a "pedigreed" high grade collection, or when it is considered the best known condition example.
     This viewpoint has not had much success in the part of movie paper collecting that deals with older (pre-1960, and especially pre-1940) material, probably because so much of it is SO rare (from one to a dozen examples existing) that one can't afford to only collect "high grade unrestored" examples, because you would hardly ever get to add anything to your collection!
     This acceptance of restoration has led many dealers and auction houses to restore just about every expensive item they get, because they want the item to look its absolute best when it is offered for sale or auction. It is unfortunate that prospective buyers can't see how those items looked BEFORE they were restored, so they could better know how much restoration it has had.
     There are many excellent restorers, and I have profiled some of them in this club. Sadly there are also some pretty incompetent restorers who do between a mediocre and a poor job of restoration, but they never lack for customers, because there are always going to be those collectors who go with the lowest price restoration, and these people charge lower prices than the quality restorers.

     There are also those collectors who choose to do their OWN restoration. You would probably not consider doing your own plumbing repairs or sew your own clothes (because you know a professional will do a better job) but for some reason many people forget this simple wisdom when it comes to poster restoration!
     If you insist on "doing it yourself" it is important to remember that what looks good when it is first done may age poorly (or terribly over time).


     I have no doubt that when the people who taped up this poster and lobby card first did so, they looked at their work, and thought "That turned out well". But look what time (and the lack of acid-free conservation tape) did to these items! It will now be a very costly matter to fix either, and in both cases it would have been far better to have left the items as they were.

     Now this is not to say that restoration does not have its place, and that it can be a very helpful tool, when used at the right times and is done by a talented professional.


     The above two Argentinean posters were purchased from our auctions and our buyer had us send them to Mario Cueva at Lumiere Restoration, where they were restored and linenbacked. Now both posters did not have a lot of defects to begin with, but now they look their absolute best (and are far easier to handle and frame), and yet they in no way have a heavily restored look, where large sections of the poster have been spray painted. I feel the $140 each that Mario charged was money very well spent!
     And if someone were to tell me that they wanted to find either without restoration, I would have to tell they that I have never seen another example of either poster, so it might be many years before they were offered either in any condition!
     Overall, please remember to strongly consider leaving movie paper restoration to trained professionals, and that you need to do your homework before choosing one, and that you usually "get what you pay for"!

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