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

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Added: 06/24/2019

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!

Around 15 years ago I was consigned an amazing of collection of around 15,000 different one-sheets (all different, from 1940 to the then-present) 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").

And here is another example. Thirty years ago, I went to a fellow's house, someone who had wonderful and really rare items, that he wanted to sell me (this was in the days before I switched to NEVER buying from anyone, so that I there would not be any "conflict of interest" between and its consignors, as there is with so very many auctions, some of which own a significant percentage of what they auction, and they have a vested interest in promoting their items over those of their consignors).

When I arrived at the fellow's house, he was sitting at a table, and he had a $10,000 item laying face down on a table, and he had just finished putting his 100th small piece of scotch tape on the back. He proudly announced, "Perfect timing. I just finished repairing this poster!" Of course, he did not know, and I did not have the heart to tell him, that every one of those pieces of tape would need to be removed from the back, since it had other flaws that meant it needed restoration.

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! Plus, it is not impossible our hobby will one day put a premium on having unrestored examples, as so many other hobbies do.

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".

3) However, it is a sad fact of life that sometimes a heavily restored item 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. That can't happen if you sell through, because we never misrepresent any item, and besides, do you really want to ever sacrifice your integrity in this way?

3) If you plan on displaying the item, then restoration may be warranted, but only if the defects substantially detract from the visual aspect of the item, AND 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.

REMEMBER! There is nothing wrong with buying a restored item (especially a super-rare one) but ONLY if its pre-restoration condition is clearly disclosed (as well as the quality of the restoration) and as long as the restoration is reflected in the selling price.

Tags (?): #ConditionRelated #PosterInfo

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