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A vintage Bollywood movie poster by its very nature is rare. The fact that a movie poster printed decades ago on thin gauge paper for publicity of a film has survived over the years qualifies it as a “rare” item. All ephemera pertaining to the publicity of a Bollywood movie were printed to be used. The vintage Bollywood movie posters that have survived over the years comprise excess publicity material originally printed for publicity of the film but never used. Determining how rare a Bollywood poster is requires a significant amount of research. Rarity of Bollywood movie posters depends upon a number of different factors such as:

  • Age of the poster

  • Design (whether hand painted, photographic or a combination of both)

  • Print Type (Litho, Litho-Offset or Offset)

  • Success of the film – both commercially as well as critically

  • Estimated numbers circulated

  • Estimated numbers in existence

We believe in following a scientific approach for grading the rarity of our old vintage Bollywood movie posters.

All of the above mentioned factors together contribute towards deciding how rare a Bollywood movie poster really is. Let’s explore each of these factors in detail:

Age of the poster plays a significant role in deciding rarity. Certain rare Bollywood posters in our catalog date back several decades. For a vintage Bollywood poster to have survived intact over the years is nothing short of a miracle. In summary, a first release Bollywood poster will obviously be rarer in comparison to its re-release counterpart.

Design of the poster usually indicates its time of release. For example, hand painted Bollywood posters predate their photographic counterparts. Also, certain designs were exclusively used during the first original release of the film. These designs were later discarded or changed for newer layouts during the subsequent re-release of the same film. As such, one can understand how rare a Bollywood poster really is by carefully studying the design of the Bollywood poster.

Print Type is a giveaway of the era and hence a deciding factor when it comes to understanding how rare a Bollywood poster really is. Certain lithographs from the early 1940s and 1950s are really sought after and very difficult to find, making them extremely rare.

The success of the film often influences the print and circulation of the Bollywood posters thereby playing a critical role in understanding its rarity. Certain flop Bollywood movies that were pulled off cinema screens prematurely, printed publicity posters in limited numbers. As such, very few Bollywood posters have survived for films that had a shorter release run, making them very rare and sought after. Some of the blockbuster Bollywood movies that ran successfully for several weeks on the other hand suffered from a separate problem – a majority of the posters printed for their publicity ended up being used with only a handful surviving in intact condition, making them equally rare.

Estimated numbers of posters printed, circulated and surviving today is a handy reckoner for understanding how rare certain Bollywood posters are. Some of the posters which were printed in very few quantities and circulated to select cinema halls are very difficult to procure in intact condition, making them very rare and sought after.

In summary, to help buyers identify rare Bollywood posters from our catalog and make a buying decision based on rarity, we have devised the following three rarity grades to specify the approximate levels of rarity of each vintage Bollywood movie poster for sale on our website:

  • Rare

  • Very Rare

  • Rarest

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