Authenticating a Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 Re-issue Movie Poster

Authenticating a Raiders of the Lost Ark 1982 Re-issue Movie Poster

One of my favorite Indiana Jones movies was Raiders of the Lost Ark. Over the years, I’ve collected various movie posters here and there, but I never got this one. I finally found it on eBay at a reasonable price so I picked it up. However, as with any popular movie poster, the question of whether it’s original or not is always in the back of your head…especially when dealing with sellers on eBay.

Of course there are reputable sellers online and many of them can be readily verified, but then there are those who are not. Further complicating the issue is the fact that some people may be selling something as original when they don’t know that it’s not and vice versa! As always, use your discretion when dealing with any purchase…let alone those that go into hundreds of dollars.

My problem is that I found this copy for a really great price — far less than what Cinemasterpieces is selling it for. Since I couldn’t find any definitive sources for authenticating this poster (at least this version), I’m reaching out to the internet for help. I have taken some seriously high quality photos of some of the areas of interest so if anyone happens to have a known original, maybe you could compare it to mine.

The Details

What is known
I have found some basic information regarding authenticity and according to this list, mine appears to be legit:

  • Size: Mine is 27″ x 41″ – It’s said that the bootleg versions are 27″ x 40″ or even smaller.
  • Copyright: The copyright at the bottom of the poster is not present on the bootlegs. This includes the Litho text and GCIU logo. Mine has it all. (See below for more info about the GCIU logo)
  • Text: Most bootlegs are said to have blurry text in the credits. Mine looks pretty sharp.
  • Color: According to photos I’ve seen, my colors all match the originals while bootlegs tend to be noticeably off.

GCIU Logo
There’s some controversy surrounding the logo that you can see at the bottom of my poster. According to a lengthily discussion regarding original Excalibur posters, it has been advised that collectors avoid movie posters with this logo printed on them. A gentleman named Ed Poole said, in a 2012 newsletter from LAMP (Learn About Movie Posters), that movies release before 1983 with the GCIU logo on their posters should be considered non-original theatrical posters. He says they are actually video release posters.

Created in 1983, the GCIU was the Graphic Communications International Union. It has since merged several times and is now part of the Teamsters. The point is that there seems to be no way a movie released in 1981 and re-released in 1982 (which is what my poster is from) could have a printed logo on it from an organization created in 1983.

A quick note on an original Friday The 13th poster mentions this information as well, so it’s hard to tell what’s what. If the GCIU logo was used on studio-printed posters for the video releases of these movies, then inherently these posters are still originals — just not original theatrical posters.

Conclusion

Given everything I know so far, it sounds like I have an original video release poster from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The problem I’m having is two fold. One, is the GCIU logo information actually correct and two, if so, can there still be bootlegs of a video release poster?

The reason I question all this is because two copies of this same poster are listed on Cinemasterpiece’s website — a very well-known dealer of original posters. They have these posters listed at just over $300 each and they look remarkably similar to mine…the GCIU logo included. Given that I paid MUCH less than this and the seller listed it as “original,” I don’t know what to think!

I either have an original or bootleg theatrical re-release poster from 1982 OR I have an original or bootleg video release poster from sometime in 1983 or later. I’m hoping this article will be found by someone who can set the record straight.

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16 Comments

  1. Jim November 20, 2013
    Reply

    Looks like a re-release from 1983? I have an original first print. Think yours is an original second edition.

    • Brandon Hann November 20, 2013
      Reply

      Well I already established that it’s the re-release from 1982, but I was concerned whether it in itself was a reprint. In other words, I know that there’s the original theatrical release poster from 1981 and then there’s this one, but both posters have bootleg copies (and/or reprints) as well as the originals.

  2. Daniel Pulliam March 14, 2014
    Reply

    Your analysis is pretty much spot-on, Brandon. An original theatrical one-sheet from the 1982 release would have the GAU logo on it, and not the GCIU logo. If you’re interested in obtaining an original rolled GAU version, I know where you can get one for $90 shipped. Drop me a line if you’re in the market for one.

    • Brandon Hann March 14, 2014
      Reply

      Are you talking about a rolled version or folded?

      • Daniel Pulliam March 14, 2014
        Reply

        Rolled, believe it or not.

        • Brandon Hann March 14, 2014
          Reply

          Email me the info.

          • Daniel Pulliam March 14, 2014

            I actually haven’t received my copy yet. I’d like to examine it closely once it gets here just to make sure I’m giving you good info! Should know something solid by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. Everything I’ve seen from this source reassures me that it’s legit, but it seems a bit too good to be true…as it probably does to you. So I’ll definitely let you know. You can text to remind me. 404-353 076 6. My name’s Daniel. 🙂

          • Daniel Pulliam March 16, 2014
          • Daniel Pulliam March 19, 2014

            Text me at the number I posted and I’ll pass along a bunch more pics and where I ordered from, it’s definitely legit!!

          • Brandon Hann March 19, 2014

            You can send me an email from my contact page.

          • wil October 4, 2016

            Great, many thanks for the update, pity you never heard back, perhaps his was a bootleg after all.

      • Wil September 17, 2016
        Reply

        I don’t suppose this supplier still stocks them (I’m aware that the price would have jumped up a bit) 🙂

        • wil October 4, 2016
          Reply

          Was anyone able to help poiint me in the right direction (aimed at Brandon & Daniel) 😉 ?

          • Brandon Hann October 4, 2016

            I’m not sure what supplier he was talking about. I never got an email from him. 🙁 But if I were you, I’d keep searching…even eBay turns up good deals from time to time. Also, if you’re looking for an auction house that specializes in selling movie posters, try searching HA.COM. I’ve won a few items there, but beware, the prices can be steep after buyers premiums.

  3. Stephen Heigh July 30, 2014
    Reply

    Interesting stuff and I share your enthusiasm for great film posters! . I recently came across an original Indiana Jones poster that had been mounted and trimmed slightly which probably destroyed it’s value, but it was given to me for free and was in someone’s basement since the early 1980’s. I love it and don’t value it based on dollars because it has meaning to me. The very bottom line of text was trimmed off. I’m almost 100% certain it is a real one, but it’s faded somewhat over time from light and I can see the fold lines it had. I collect film posters and have many of Bob Peaks posters for films and many other greats that did film posters. I have some connections to the artist who did this first version of Indiana Jones. Richard Amsel did the Indiana Jones first poster. He lived near me. A super talent that was doing film posters before he even graduated from the University of the Arts. I’m an illustrator as well, but never worked on film posters. I’m part of George Lucas’ book Star Wars Visions Art published by Abrams books and Lucas Films. These posters are inspirational to me and I shared many when I taught at an art college and would assign students a project of film poster design. I would cover every inch of wall space early in the morning prior to school classes in one of the college’s studio spaces with many of my collected posters and have the students come into class and get excited about the possibilities. It always got them fired up for the assignment because there they were in all their glory rather than some powerpoint presentation. Although I would do that as well for historical connections.

  4. Stephen Heigh August 2, 2014
    Reply

    Interesting stuff and I share your enthusiasm for great film posters! . I recently came across an original Indiana Jones poster that had been mounted and trimmed slightly which probably destroyed it’s value, but it was given to me for free and was in someone’s basement since the early 1980′s. I love it and don’t value it based on dollars because it has meaning to me. The very bottom line of text was trimmed off. I’m almost 100% certain it is a real one, but it’s faded somewhat over time from light and I can see the fold lines it had. I collect film posters and have many of Bob Peaks posters for films and many other greats that did film posters. I have some connections to the artist who did this first version of Indiana Jones. Richard Amsel did the Indiana Jones first poster. He lived near me. A super talent that was doing film posters before he even graduated from the University of the Arts. I’m an illustrator as well, but never worked on film posters. I’m part of George Lucas’ book Star Wars Visions Art published by Abrams books and Lucas Films. These posters are inspirational to me and I shared many when I taught at an art college and would assign students a project of film poster design. I would cover every inch of wall space early in the morning prior to school classes in one of the college’s studio spaces with many of my collected posters and have the students come into class and get excited about the possibilities. It always got them fired up for the assignment because there they were in all their glory rather than some powerpoint presentation. Although I would do that as well for historical connections.

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