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Did you know... that legendary dealer/collector Deke Richards passed away recently?

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Added: 05/13/2013

One of the very first movie poster dealers to recognize the vast potential of the Internet for the movie poster hobby, and one of the first to jump aboard eBay as the main venue for selling, was Deke Richards, who sadly passed away recently. I (Bruce) didn't know Deke Richards personally (although we bought and sold with each other many times over the years), but collector Bruce Henninger recently contacted us and offered to write a biography about Deke, and we are quite happy to print that here, in memory of this legendary collector/dealer, who also had a major career long before he sold his first movie poster! Here is Bruce Henninger's tribute to Deke:

"It was with a mix of surprise and sadness that I learned of the passing of legendary dealer-collector Deke Richards in late March. Deke's main claim to fame in the wider world at large came as a songwriter for Motown in the 1960s and 1970s, penning such hits as the Jackson 5's "ABC." [Note from eMoviePoster.com: see his wiki page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deke_Richards] But here in the movie poster field, where he directed most of his energies during his later years, he was known as a fair and honorable purveyor of vintage memorabilia, pouring his own collector's passion into his business and treating others as he would wish to be treated.

I started buying posters and lobby cards from Deke in the 1990s, through the pages of the now sadly defunct Movie Collector's World, many years before I even knew he'd ever been a semi-famous songwriter. I spoke with him numerous times on the phone, although I never got the chance to meet him in person, and he was never less than courteous and generous with his time, as has been my experience with the majority of people in this wonderful hobby of ours. He was always willing to work with his fellow collectors, even going so far as to send out color Polaroids of posters a customer might inquire about in those days before the Internet, and offering a liberal layaway policy as well so that less affluent buyers might still have a shot at owning a more prestigious piece than they otherwise might. His return policy was very generous too, and he always guaranteed his material and accepted returns for any reason (hmm - sounds like a certain other dealer around here that I could mention!). Deke was widely known for offering top-condition material, to the point that by the 2000s even his fellow dealers were admitting that "if you want as close to mint as you're going to find, go to Deke - his stuff is the best." He was not without a sense of humor, either; in the front of each of the hefty print catalogs he periodically published, when listing the ranking of condition grades from "Mint" to "Poor!" his description of the latter read, "I don't have any 'poor' condition posters. 'Poor' posters should be used for wrapping fish or coffee grounds." In one catalog, on a page between the photo section and the listings, appeared the words, "Happy hunting ... Let the games begin!" And that's what the hobby still was back in those days: a fun pursuit where collectors would scramble to grab up some goodies for themselves before all the prime material and bargains got snatched up by more astute buyers.

But Deke continued to wheel and deal well into the Internet Age, becoming one of the first movie poster dealers to set up an interactive website listing and picturing all his posters for sale and offering customers a way to reach him by e-mail as well as by phone and regular mail. This fledgling medium allowed him to offer a new feature, "Trader Deke's," in which he could show off the many gems in his private collection which weren't for sale but for which he might accept trades if you could offer a treasure that really struck his fancy, in the spirit of the old-time trades which were such a big part of the hobby in its infancy. I continued to buy from Deke all through this period as well, adding 1950s cartoon one sheets from his inventory to my collection as recently as last year. I'd known things were changing when the last couple of e-mails were signed by his assistant rather than by Deke himself, but I never imagined his health had failed him to the extent that it had. For now, his website remains as it was before his passing, and fans of classic vintage poster art can still view his final offerings, as well as duck into Trader Deke's to get an eyeful of his impressive collection - a fitting tribute and testimonial to the passion of his later life. I'd encourage you all to spend at least a few minutes there; it's definitely worth the trip at http://www.posterpalace.com/!"


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