Why Are Posters So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Brandon Porter

Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

Posters are an important part of home decor, and everyone has their personal favorites. They can represent memories, travel, special occasions, and more, making them all the more valuable.

However, the actual prices of posters may be a shock if you haven’t checked them out in a while. If you want to know why posters are so expensive, carry on reading!

Why Are Posters So Expensive?

1. Rare Posters Are Collector’s Items

Posters are a unique form of art and decor and have been around in their present form for over a hundred years.

Further, rare posters commemorating movies, events, people, and places can become collector’s items with a hefty price tag.

Rare posters include artwork from famous artists, vintage or limited edition posters, and special commemorative posters.

Also, these can cost hundreds of dollars or even a couple of thousand, even though they are not the original artwork but high-quality mechanical reproductions.

2. Design Costs Are High

Not all posters are rare or vintage, but even a contemporary poster can be expensive because posters are created by professional artists who are highly paid.

Of course, design costs for posters for sports, celebrities, and movies can run high, and these are factored into the price.

3. Cost Of Materials And Labor

The cost of manufacturing posters includes quality paper that looks good and lasts, inks for the printer, and labor costs for the skilled techs who operate the printer.

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In addition, the manufacturer has fixed recurring costs like rent, utilities, and salaries, which are all factored into the cost of the poster.

4. Quality Frames Are Expensive

The framing adds to the appearance of the poster as it will be displayed in your home, and it also adds to the final cost.

Further, quality frames can be expensive, depending on the materials, style, and size.

Also, frames are usually made from wood or metal and are professionally designed, which adds to the cost. Customized frames also cost more and can run as high as $200.

Still, some posters can be bought already framed, but the frame will increase the price.

5. Labor Costs For Framing

Labor Costs For Framing

Framing must be done professionally to avoid ruining the poster, and the skilled labor costs for framing are high.

Often, posters are not framed in-house by the seller but sent to the frame shop. Naturally, the costs of transportation back and forth add to the total price of the poster.

6. Shipping Is An Extra Cost

Framed posters are bulky items that must be handled carefully. With that, unframed posters can be mailed in shipping tubes.

However, framed posters must be carefully packed in sturdy shipping boxes with peanuts or bubble wrap to ensure the frame or the poster doesn’t get damaged in transit.

Of course, shipping and handling costs increase the poster’s total cost. Further, valuable posters may be insured for shipping, adding to the price.

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7. Posters And Frames Are Taxed

Customers have to pay taxes on posters and frames. So, if you’re spending a couple of hundred dollars on a poster, the taxes will add a substantial chunk to the price.

Also, if your poster is rare enough to be classified as artwork, you may have to pay other taxes besides sales tax.

8. Limited Edition Posters Are Valuable

Limited edition and out-of-print posters can be expensive because there’s only a limited supply, which drives up prices.

Additionally, original posters can become valuable objects and are even featured by leading auction houses.

9. Designed By A Well-known Artist

Famous artists who designed posters include Toulouse-Lautrec, Mucha, Cappiello, Andy Warhol, and AM Cassandre. Therefore, their posters have a high value,

Original posters can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. In this context, original does not refer to the original artwork but the first issue of the poster.

Also, a poster signed by a famous artist is still more valuable.

10. Buyers Are Willing To Pay High Prices

The price of posters, like all artwork, is determined by what buyers are willing to pay.

Also, the valuation of artwork does not refer to its functionality but its perceived and socially-accepted value.

That said, prices for posters that are highly sought-after can run into thousands of dollars. The most expensive movie poster of all time sold for an incredible $690,000.

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11. Posters Are Sold As Art

While purists might disagree, posters are sold as artwork and are priced accordingly.

Like art, vintage posters featuring travel, winter sports, automobiles, ocean liners, and classic movies are bought as investments.

Art is increasingly seen as a good investment that does not lose its value over time, and this perception helps to drive prices up.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why lamp shades are so expensive, why Festool is so expensive, and why Lovesac is so expensive.


Posters are expensive because people are willing to pay the high prices for rare and vintage posters and ones commemorating significant events, people, and places.

Even if they’re not vintage or rare, posters are pricey because they are professionally designed and carefully produced by skilled printing technicians.

Also, framing costs can add a fair to the price of a poster while enhancing its appearance.

In the final analysis, posters are expensive because people will pay more for the things they value.


  • Brandon Porter

    Brandon Porter is an architectural draftsman of 25 years and a self-proclaimed handyman. He loves renovating homes and making them his own, whether it's fixing up the plumbing or painting the walls.

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