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Did you know... that you should not attempt to repair posters yourself?

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Added: 03/10/2014

Over the years, I have been consigned literally millions of posters and lobby cards. I am always saddened when I get a collection where the owner was a "do-it-yourselfer", who tried to "fix" defects his/her items had, usually through application of copious amounts of tape. IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES, THIS LOWERED THE OVERALL VALUE OF THE ITEMS!

I had a collection of thousands of different one-sheets consigned to me (that was accumulated over a 40 year period) and that collector would take bits of other posters and tape them over the back of paper loss on most posters, and then put Scotch tape over most separations and pinholes. Then he would use colored pencils or watercolor paint to "touch up" the fronts!

I am sure that when he first did this, most of the posters he did this to looked far better from a reasonable viewing distance. But over decades, most of the tape yellowed and/or dried out, and much of it bled through to the front. Much of his touch up faded at a different rate from the poster, so over time what was once barely noticeable became VERY noticeable!

Worst of all, had he left these posters alone, most would have been a pretty simple linenbacking job. But because of his amateur repairs, he both greatly increased the cost of repair AND he created the need for much professional paint touch up that would not have been there had he left the poster alone.

Now of course this is an extreme example, but in almost every case I can imagine, you are FAR better off either leaving items exactly as they are, or entrusting them to a very talented restorer, someone who CAN repair them in a way that does not lower the value (but while restoration will often enhance an item's value, it will also often not increase it by even the cost of the restoration, so often it makes more sense to leave that item "as is").

An entire book could (and should!) be written on the subject of when to have your items professionally restored, but for now, bear in mind these simple guidelines I suggest when considering restoration:
1) If you have no plans on selling OR displaying the item, hold off. You can always do restoration later, and you can't undo it. There are likely to be improvements in methods over time, and you will have more money you can instead use for more acquisitions!
2) If you plan on selling the item, realize that the new owner may well pay more for it unrestored because either they prefer unrestored items, or they want to see exactly how it looked before, or they want to use one particular restorer or have it restored in a certain way, etc. You may well get more for it selling it "as is". It is a sad fact of life that often a heavily restored item only sells for much more than it would have unrestored because the auction house or dealer MASSIVELY misrepresented the extent of the restoration that item had.
3) If you plan on displaying the item, then restoration is likely surely warranted, but only if you plan on keeping it for a long time, and if you can't simply buy a better condition unrestored example for less than the cost of what you have plus the cost of the restoration.

See Also:
Did you know... what linenbacking is?
Did you know... that professional restoration usually increases a poster's value and amateur restoration usually lessens a poster's value?
Did you know... that there are some basic items that EVERY collector should consider owning?


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