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Profile of a Movie Poster Collector: Rick Bayne

By on March 13, 2013

This month’s featured Movie Poster Collector is Rick Bayne in Part Three of a series of articles that highlights some of the great Australian collections. Rick’s interest in movie posters covers many genres. Although he primarily collects Australian posters he also has an impressive collection of international movie posters.

Tell us about yourself. Where do you live and what do you do for a living?

RICK BAYNE Movie Poster CollectorI live in Warrnambool, on the south-west coast of Victoria about three hours from Melbourne. I was previously editor of the local daily paper and worked in newspapers for about 25 years. I wisely left the editor’s role about six years ago and now enjoy running my own media business doing newsletters, media releases, annual reports, websites, event management, case studies etc. I was born in 1961, married with two children in their early 20s and also like weightlifting and keeping fit, Elvis music and travelling.

When did you start collecting movie posters and what motivated you to start your collection?

HEARTBREAK RIDGE Daybill Movie PosterI collected a few from the Terang Drive-In when I was a teenager but didn’t really start collecting until the mid-1980s when I started doing movie reviews for the local paper. The cinema manager was throwing out some posters and asked if I wanted them. I got the likes of Commando, Fright Night, Heartbreak Ridge and kept saving from then. The cinema owner was very kind, and I also started doing video reviews so kept a lot of that material as well.

I picked up some nice old heralds, I guess about 13 years ago, when a woman came to the cinema to sell them and the manager directed her to me. I later panicked about spending $300 on them, but I did some research and sent a consignment to a dealer in the US and paid that off in one hit.

About 10 years ago I purchased a huge collection – a whole room, garage and trailer full. People told me I was mad to pay what I paid for them (I had to borrow money from my mother-in-law) but I knew I could pay it off within a year and with a lot of hard work I achieved that. I also took about 5-6 carloads to the tip. I have since picked up a few smaller collections, but nothing major for quite some time. I’d love to get another collection, provided it had a lot of titles I don’t already have, but I still have many spares that I need to cull. I don’t want to buy just to re-sell and any collection would have to include `keepers’. I have a policy that I don’t sell a single-copy poster but selling spares helps feed my habit so collections are good.

I started because I just like the look of them on my wall, or even stored away. Sometimes they are from a movie I particularly liked, other times it’s for the art and colour. Strangely, I have no interest in other art.

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

Yes, an Elvis on Tour daybill and a re-issue Double Trouble (also Elvis) daybill from the Terang Drive-In. Some people say I still have the first dollar I earned as well. I also have an Elvis: That’s the Way It Is daybill that was earlier collected by my best friend, who turned me into an Elvis fan. He later died in the Ash Wednesday bushfires and I got the poster which is framed in my `Rick’s room’.

The first poster I paid for was The Birds and I still have that too.

Do you collect on any particular subject or interest? What is the main focus in your collection?

My favourites are sci-fi and horror, particularly from the 50s era. I also collect Elvis and have all but two daybills from his 33 films (Blue Hawaii and Love Me Tender are the missing titles, though I have one-sheets, half-sheets and lobby cards from those titles). I also have a lot of Eastwood, John Wayne, Hitchcock, Australian, British comedy posters…anything that catches my eye. There is no real focus to my collection – just what I like.

Do you keep an eye on the local auctions in Melbourne? Have you been able to pick up anything special from one of the auctions?

Them Sci Fi Movie PosterI watch the auctions in Melbourne but so do many other people which means bargains are hard to find. I did get some really nice titles very cheaply a couple of years ago from a little-known auction house.

There are still a few retail outlets for Movie Posters in Victoria. How do the prices compare with those on the internet?

I haven’t been there for a while but they do tend to be a bit expensive, but they have rent, staff and profit mark-ups to consider. I am a bargain hunter, and quite proud of it, so tend to wait till I can find something at a price I like.

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

Because I work for myself from home I can have various auction sites on in the background and keep a good watch on things. I have slowed down quite a lot. I don’t worry about newspaper ads these days.

Do you get to meet other movie poster collectors?

Incredible Shrinking Man Australian One sheet Movie PosterMore on email and message boards than in person, but I have met a few dedicated collectors and sellers which was great. It is nice to see other collections and I like showing mine to anyone interested.

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

Yes it can be competitive and from time to time I have been caught up in ridiculous bidding wars, but I generally try to avoid that. All’s fair in love and poster collecting, though sometimes I’ve been worried that certain collectors might bid on things just to be difficult and force up the price.

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

I’d love Creature from the Black Lagoon and Godzilla posters (I have lobby cards), Rear Window, the two missing Elvis daybills, I need three Bond daybills to complete that collection, some nice old John Wayne titles, more vintage stuff. I don’t buy many modern posters, or even take them for free from local cinemas, but there are occasional new posters that grab my attention like a recent pick-up of Death Proof Aussie one-sheet and Django Unchained.

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

No, because my focus is so broad, there will always be something I don’t have and would like. That’s the problem with poster collecting; it’s never ending.

Do you prefer to collect Australian posters? If so, why?

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie PosterAbsolutely, Australian posters are the best. The colours are much more vibrant than their US counterparts, particularly up until the late 60s. I also like UK quads and have a lot of US posters, but I don’t collect foreign language posters.

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

Yes, as mentioned above, but sadly not for some time. I’ve got some cash put aside should the opportunity arise. As long as I can pay them off by selling doubles I’d buy again.

Do you trade with other collectors?

Sometimes, but I’m usually a bit reluctant and am probably a bit difficult to deal with. Some swaps have gone very easily, others not so easy.

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

No, I want it to remain a hobby. Anything I sell or swap goes back into buying more posters. I only list spares on eBay and don’t plan to change that policy. I have rejected some big offers on certain titles. I have been selling a few bulk lots cheaply just to clear some doubles and make space. I worry my poster cabinet is overloaded.

Are any of the posters in your collection on display ie framed in your home?

Yes, I rotate the displays every year to keep them looking fresh and to make sure the posters aren’t damaged by reflected sunlight. This year I have mainly Hitchcock daybills, along with my usual sci-fi and an Elvis and a Marilyn Monroe title.

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

King Kong Australian Daybill Movie PosterI have a big storage cabinet for one-sheets and daybills, stacks in display folders, about eight boxes of press books etc, a cupboard full of lobby cards, a map draw for different size posters. I basically have a poster room (there is also a cabinet of records) and heaps of tubes under the stairs!

Do you get any of your posters linen backed?

Only if I have to; I prefer to have them `natural’.

How do you keep track of your collection?

The storage cabinet has spaces for one-sheets and daybills in alphabetic order. Then I have favourites in display folders and I have a list on my computer, including a sale list that I’m pretty useless at updating. I have occasionally bought a poster that I already own.

 

Have you ever missed out on getting something that you later regretted?

Yes, a collection a guy agreed to sell to me last year. We shook hands on it and then he later reneged. His actions were deplorable and for someone his age he should have known better. Worst thing was I travelled a seven-hour round trip and I had agreed to the price he asked. I hope he reads this and feels guilty (though no offence is meant to the buyer).

I also sold only copies of A Streetcar Named Desire daybill and Endless Summer Aussie one-sheet when I was paying off the loan, which in retrospect I also regret.

There was also a buy-it-now lobby card on eBay that I procrastinated over and missed which was stupid.

Is there one favourite poster in your collection?

That’s tough. Can I be greedy a claim a not-so-dirty dozen?

Them Australian (one-sheet)
King Kong 1948 (daybill)
Gone With the Wind (long daybill)
Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (3sh, daybill 1/2sh)
Plan 9 From Outer Space (US one sheet)
Night of the Living Dead (US one-sheet)
King Creole (daybill)
War of the Worlds (daybill)
The Green Slime (daybill, US one-sheet)
Mole People (daybill, Aus one-sheet, LC set)
Dial M for Murder (daybill)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Aus video poster)
Countless others could make the grade!

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

Well I’ll never sell my posters unless they are spares, so I won’t make a fortune from them but I guess my children will get a nice return some day.

Because I have been able to buy collections and sell spares I have been able to pay my way with collecting. Some have doubled in value over the past decade (i.e. I started selling Jaws daybill for about $50-$60, now it’s more like $150 and I’m almost out of spares. Others have gone down, which is good for buying. I like a lot of B-grade titles so often there isn’t much competition.

You have held some Exhibitions of movie posters from your collection. Have these been successful for you and how much work is involved in setting it all up?

In recent years I have organised a collector’s fair as a fund-raiser for a local drug and alcohol centre and have always taken along a nice display of posters. Last year we had 750 visitors, which was great. It is a huge amount of work and I am going to take a break from it after this Easter. I’ve had too much work over the past year and am trying to cut down a bit. I don’t sell the posters but have been able to help some people with spares, and last year someone bought in a dozen or so daybills for me.

After I bought my big collection I had a sale at a local school hall which again was a huge undertaking but I needed to get some quick money. I think I was able to pay off about $5000 after that weekend.

Do you collect anything else apart from Movie Posters?

Yes, Elvis Presley, records, books, CDs etc.

Is your collection insured?

Yes, but not for what it is really worth. Anyway, some of them would be hard to replace.  When I had to make an insurance claim recently for an investment property (brass door handles were stolen) we were knocked back so insurance is not a good topic at the moment.

What does your family think about your collecting interests?

They tolerate it and have gradually given into my nagging and let me display more throughout the house. My wife has actually encouraged me to buy collections and buy special posters because she knows I get so much enjoyment out of it.

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