Original 1939 Wizard of Oz Movie Poster

This example is a reproduction of an 'Original' Wizard of Oz poster. '1939,' the year the movie was originally released, is printed on it just like an original, but that is only because an original piece was copied to make it. Today's distributors of reproduction film posters often will advertise that they are selling 'original movie' items, but this is just a play on words. The copied images may indeed have been taken from an original movie's poster, but the copies they make of that item are not 'original' at all. This kind of advertising can be misleading when the item being advertised is really only a copy of an original.

Since it remains one of the the most popular and collected movies of all time, and being that probably very few 'original' 1939 Wizard of Oz half sheet movie posters still exist (the size closest in size to this item), it is hardly likely one will ever be made available for only $250. All the original posters, lobby cards and similar items made to advertise this particular movie at original release are today very scarce. Often individual items from the original movie will change hands only between advanced collectors rather than being offered to the general public. Depending on condition an original Wizard of Oz one sheet size movie poster, of which likely less than 20 originals exist, can sell in the $20,000 to $50,000 range.

Having been steadily produced over time by many different companies for 'decorative' purposes,there are now untold numbers of reproduction copies of old movie ephemera representing all film genre's on the market today. While poster size and the type of paper on which it was printed can help to identify a non-authentic piece, reproduction items will quite frequently be found wrapped in plastic for 'protection', as is the example in this listing. Thus it can be next to impossible to feel the paper or to look for other aspects of production correctness prior to making an 'in person' purchase in an antique shop or mall. In addition, because many mass reproduced pieces from the 60's and 70's have now attained some age of their own, they may bear evidence of use and age, such as edge chipping, creases, foxing and stains. These condition characteristics frequently expected to be found on older paper items can fool the eye into believing a copy might just be the real thing.

Luckily on this particular item something is apparent through the plastic over-wrap that quickly identifies it as a later copy. The company who distributed it some 40 years ago, Portal Publications, saw fit to add their name in the footer text. But Portal Publications is not the only company that has produced these kinds of items, and many other makers of reproduction movie memorabilia did not and do not mark their copies in the same obvious way. Often a copy of a particular old lobby card or poster can be so good it is only the specific copyright text, studio release information, numbers, logos or letters that should be present, but aren't, which can identify an item as non-authentic. Not all earlier posters are dated, either. But after 1940, many were. A National Screen Service code can generally be expected to be present in footer text on post-1940 posters and similar film associated advertising pieces, as well. And if the size of a piece does not match a size in which an original was known to be issued, its a fake.

Some original sizes for real Wizard of Oz film articles are:

Standard one sheet (poster) - 27 by 41 inches Half sheet (poster) - 22 by 28 inches Insert (poster) - 14 by 36 inches Lobby card - 11 by 14 inches

This reproduction item measures 28 inches wide by 20 inches, which is not a correct size.

Item ID: 2007RP000103

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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