By the late 1920s, when Disney’s cartoons first appeared, theatre owners were provided with a full array of promotional material for new movies. “Legitimate” collectable movie posters are those which were part of this material which was made as for theatres and not intended for sale to the public. This material was on loan to the theatres which were supposed to destroy the posters or return them to the studio.
All types of theatre and promotional material is collected but the most valuable category is “one sheet” posters usually measuring 27″ x 41″. (Posters are made in sizes up to 12-sheet for large billboards and down to small handout sizes.)
“Original issue” posters, which are issued before the movie is released, and “original release” posters, issued at the time of the movie’s first release, are the most valuable. Each time a movie is re-released, the “re-issue” and “re-release” posters are considered to be less valuable. Sometimes the poster for the re-release is the same design as the original poster.
Until the late 1980s, Disney usually did not mark re-release posters as such but instead put the original copyright year on them. As posters started to become valuable to collectors, Disney started putting a five-digit number on its posters and warned theatres that they would be penalised if they sold them or gave them away.