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Australian Movie Poster Collectors Profile: Vesna Babic

By on April 24, 2013
Movie Poster Collectors

This month we feature Vesna Babic in the continuing series on Australian Movie Poster Collectors. Vesna is very well known to many collectors and dealers around the world. She has an impressive collection that includes some wonderful Long Australian Daybills and movie posters for Australian made films.Tell us a little about yourself – where you live, family, interests…

I’m from Melbourne, married and have a beautiful little girl who will hopefully inherit some of my love for most things classic.  I love watching movies but rarely have the time these days.  When I’m not looking after my little troublemaker, I work for an IT company which deals with Retail software.

Vesna Babic Movie Poster CollectorHow long have you been collecting movie posters and what motivated you to start your collection?

Hmmm can’t really remember when I started but I’d say I’ve been collecting pretty bits of paper for well over 10 years now.  I wanted to buy some posters for some of my favourite films and I never looked back really.  One thing led to another and the collection just grew.

What was the first poster you acquired and do you still have it?

I bought a group of posters for some Clint Eastwood films and yes I still have them…framed and up on walls at home.

You have accumulated an impressive collection of posters for Australian Films. What are some of the key titles that you have?

I love the early ones, so I think it would be for titles like Flying Doctor, Daughter of Australia, Sons of Matthew etc.  Though titles like Suburban Mayhem and the Proposition are great too.  Many of the quads are quite stunning also.

SONS OF MATTHEW Movie PosterInterest in original posters for Australian films seems to be growing rapidly. Do you think they are a good investment for Movie Poster Collectors?

Hmmm,  sad to hear that…there goes more bargains!  As for investments,   think the cult hits like Mad Max will probably fair well in the dollar area for quite some time.  Otherwise, I think generally within the movie poster collecting world, most people don’t really care.  If you have a love for aussie films, you might appreciate them more, but I certainly wouldn’t buy them with an eye to them being an investment.  Like everything else, collect what you love and if you can make a dollar down the track when you are ready to let go, even better.

Do you collect on any other particular subject or interest? Has the focus of your collection changed over the years?

Oh yes, my focus has definitely changed over the years, and I suspect will continue to change.  I started by just collecting for films that I liked, but then moved to collecting paper on actors I adore like Vincent Price, Gregory Peck, Jerry Lewis, Robert de Niro.  I also collect Australian cinema as well as our beautiful aussie long daybills, which are probably my favourite.  Even within poster collecting, I was originally focused on just Australian paper, but that quickly grew to anything which I like from anywhere in the world.

SUBURBAN MAYHEM Movie Poster Do you keep an eye on the local auctions in Melbourne? Have you been able to pick up anything special from any of the local auctions?

I do try to keep one eye on the local auctions, but the time to do so with a young family is lacking.  I’ve picked up a few items over the years, but these are now becoming fewer and farther between and I just don’t have the time to spend looking really.

Have you been able to find posters for your collection at retail outlets in Victoria?

I have, there are a couple of stalls at local antique fairs and when time permits I enjoy just having a browse.  I’ve even managed to pick up items for fellow collectors for their collections.

You seem to have a real knack for finding high quality posters. How much time do you spend searching the internet and local auctions, newspaper ads etc?

Not very much really.  The time I do spend is probably most spent searching the web…I have a few key dealers who know what I like and keep me in mind when something comes my way.  I’m always happy to hear if someone turns up something I need or something they think I will like.  I’ve also made some great friends in the hobby who keep an eye out for me and let me know when they come across something I might like.  I think more so now than ever, good relationships within the hobby are key.

Do you get to meet other Australian Movie Poster Collectors?

I have met a couple, but would love to meet up with many more of them I only know from online forums.  Anyone coming to Melbourne, hit me up for a catch up!

Abbott and Costello DaybillsHow difficult is it to find posters for your collection? Do you sometimes find yourself in competition with other collectors that you know?

As the sub-collections fill up, it is getting harder and I am almost always in competition with other collectors.  Sometimes they win, sometimes I win.

What is missing from your collection that you would love to obtain?

I would LOVE to complete the Jerry Lewis mini collection I have going as I am so close…I need some of the daybills from his early films, so anyone who comes across or has daybills for My Friend Irma, Sailor Beware, Scared Stiff or 3 Ring Circus please do let me know!

Do you think you will ever get to a point when you feel that your collection is complete?

No never and I am resigned to that fact.  I think unless you collect on something very specific, a collection will never be complete.   My collection is constantly changing and evolving.  If I manage to complete one or two of my mini collections before I kark it, I will be very surprised.  Besides, it’s the thrill of finding something you need that keeps you going…

Australian DaybillsAustralian Daybills have never been more popular. What do you think it is that sets them apart from posters from other countries?

I am biased because I absolutely adore them, especially the long daybills.  They can be gorgeous to look at, the colours and brightness are very eye catching.  They can have quite unique art and their size make them perfect for framing.

Have you ever come across a large quantity of movie posters?

I have…on a few occasions. I’ve had to purchase a larger collection in order to be able to acquire a few key pieces for my collection.  One day when I am organized I will find new homes for those posters I don’t need.

Do you trade with other collectors?

Oh yes, in fact trading is one of my favourite ways to acquire pieces for the collection.  That way we both get what we want for minimal cost to either of us.

You occasionally sell posters on eBay. Do you see yourself becoming a dealer at some point in the future?

No I don’t think so.  When time permits, I will shed all the posters which are excess to my collection, whether they be through sales, trades or give aways. Once that happens, I think I will just be content to enjoy what I have and continue to chase what I need and like the look of.  Then when I kark it, I’m sure those left behind will just use my posters as wrapping and filling when they clear out our house.

Long Daybill Movie PosterAre any of the posters in your collection on display ie framed in your home?

Yes, I have several framed posters up around the house.  I have about 30 frames permanently up which hold Long Daybills, Daybills, One Sheets, a French Grande and an Italian 2 panel.  Needless to say the larger posters are kind of permanent fixtures, while I like to swap out the remaining smaller daybills and one sheets as often as I can.  I don’t understand collectors who have some wonderful pieces which they never enjoy.

Your movie poster collection is large. What do you do with the posters that you don’t have on display?

Most live in two flat files I have which are now overflowing.  Some of the smaller pieces are in art folios while the rest remain rolled up in numerous tubes, or stored in archive boxes.

How do you keep track of your collection?

Spreadsheets, spreadsheets and more spreadsheets…quite out of date by now I imagine.

Is your collection manageable? Are you able to easily locate posters in your collection?

It used to be, but over the years it has gotten a little out of control. They are all contained to the one room (which at the moment looks like a bomb went off in it). Generally speaking, I know what area to look in to locate a particular poster.  One day it will get back into order.

Movie Poster CollectorsDo you get any of your posters linen backed?

Yes, anything which is in actual need of restoration or cleaning which I will be keeping for my private collection or would like to put on display is backed.  Anything which essentially doesn’t need restoration of some kind for a particular reason, I leave as it is.

Have you ever missed out on getting something that you really wanted?

Many a time for many reasons.  I like not to think about those times too much, especially when I see the same poster turn up on a dealer site for considerably more.

BONNIE SCOTLAND Australian DaybillIs there one favourite poster in your collection?

Not one, there are way too many I love and can’t see myself parting with.  I probably love my long daybills most…I have one for the Do Re Mi troupe (not a movie poster but I love it.) Also the long daybills for The Way of all Flesh and a Woman of Paris are favourites.  I recently acquired the long daybill for Bonnie Scotland which is fast becoming a favourite too.  I love the posters I have for Abbott and Costello films not to mention many of the Vincent Price posters…I could really go on forever.

Do you think movie posters are a good investment? Are they increasing in value?

I personally do not buy them as an investment.  I buy what I like and can afford.  If when the time comes they bring a bit of profit, even better.  If not, as least I spent my money on something which brought me joy and I enjoyed looking at.  I would never recommend anyone buy movie posters as an investment.  Though if I found an original Frankenstein poster for cheap, I would definitely be all over that one!

Do you collect anything else apart from Movie Posters?

Sadly yes.  I have a small collection of sculptures for comic heroes which is pretty much complete…I also have a small collection of toys which I have amassed over the years.

Is your collection insured?

It just falls under my normal contents insurance.

What does your family think about your collecting interests?

I was lucky that my then boyfriend now husband enjoys them too.  I try to purchase and include items for films which I know he really likes, hence the massive Buckaroo Banzai poster up in our house.   I think it helps that we both love Eastwood and those posters form a large part of my collection.

I’ve also managed to pass the bug onto my older nephew who has a few pieces up in his room.  He has his eye on several pieces in my private collection, which will most likely end up with him when I kark it if he is still interested.

Everyone else thinks I’m nuts, probably rightly so.

Thanks to Vesna for her insights into the world of movie poster collecting. Watch this space for more articles in the coming months. Who’s next!!

About John Reid

4 Comments

  1. David

    April 24, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Top read Vesna and John!

  2. Rob Coulson

    December 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Vesna, I am a fellow collector who lives in Melbourne who would like to talk to you and view your collection if possible. You are inspiring!! John has my particulars and can pass them onto you If he deems appropriate. Cheers ROB

  3. Darrell Wanders

    March 25, 2015 at 11:52 am

    hi Vesna
    Who would you recommend to linen back and frame up movie posters , I’ve had a few posters stored away for years and would like to starts getting them framed
    Thanks Darrell

    • Darrell Wanders

      March 25, 2015 at 11:53 am

      I’m also in Melbourne

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