Condition and Grading
As there is no set standard for grading the conditions of posters as there is for say, comic books, we stand by a widely used method of grading on a C1-C10 scale. Essentially it is a best out of 10 scale. C10 being "MINT" and C1 being completely worthless and beyond restoration.
For an investment quality piece you would be looking for something C8-Excellent or above. These are the posters most likely to appreciate in value over time. But don't forget that even lower graded pieces can be brought back to life through restoration or linen conservation backing. So not all is lost if your favorite poster happens to be a C6-C7 with some rips and tears. And don't forget that not every purchase needs to be an investment. If you fall in love with a poster that hasn't fared so well over the years that is completely fine.
Something to take into consideration is that Original Movie Posters that were issued by the NSS (National Screen Service) or by the film studios in order to advertise their films, were meant to be used. Finding a "never used" poster is incredibly rare. These posters were to be hung in the theater with pins or clips in the corners and then either destroyed, returned, or sent along to the next theater with the film print. Remember that since they were intended for use, a C9 poster can still have a small pin hole in each corner or light clamp marks from where it was displayed. Also, most posters issued prior to the mid 80's were shipped to the theater folded (once vertically down the center and three times horizontally). These folds do not detract from the value of a poster as long as they are in good condition and the ink in the poster is unbroken.
The search to find a C10-Mint original poster for your favorite film can take a lifetime, become an obsession, and is a lot like searching for your white whale. Let us know if we can help you with your search.
C9 NEAR MINT
C7 VERY GOOD TO EXCELLENT
C6 VERY GOOD
C5 GOOD TO VERY GOOD
C2 POOR TO FAIR