Movie Posters Cards by Breygent
By Kurt Kuersteiner © 2009 Monsterwax Monster Trading Cards
It was a thrill to be able to attend the 50 th Philly card convention. Besides meeting all the collectors, exhibitors, and seeing all the cards, there were a wide variety of special promos given to visitors. The two that were really scarce were limited to just 100 each. One was a Rittenhouse promo for the new Star Trek movie. It was part of a common twenty-card promo set (2,000 printed), but there were only 100 of the pp17 card made and it included a thumb drive imbedded in it. Several were given away at the Rittenhouse booth as a raffle prize, and one has since sold for $987 on eBay! The other scarce promo was the "anniversary promo 3" produced by Breygent for their new series of Vintage Movie Poster Cards. Each one was individually serial numbered to 100 and only given to exhibitors at the show. The other two promos were limited to 700 (given away with show admissions) and 300 (given to anniversary dinner guests). All three feature monster sketches drawn by artist Trevor Murphy.
Being a monster card fan, I was especially attracted to the Breygent promos, and they did exactly as they were intended: they made me interested in the set they promoted. I bought the new series and thought they looked really cool. I gave Tom Breyer a call of Breygent to find out more about the project. Not surprisingly, the series is sold out--as were the other two series produced by Breygent using movie posters. The first series, you may recall, was the oversized set of Classic Sci-Fi & Horror Movie Posters produced in 2006 . That 49 card set was beautiful, but some collectors didn't like the large 3.5 x 5" format. (I thought the added space and detail was a plus, but that's just me.) The second series switched to regular 2.5 x 3.5" format and featured vintage celebrity posters. It was called Movie Star Posters and the base set had 72 posters, including classics like Key Largo, Gone With The Wind, The Maltese Falcon, and The Ten Commandments. It also included a lot of memorabilia type cards.
The new series is also regular card size. It's called Stars*Monsters*Comedy, and features a broad assortment of celebrity, monster movies, and comedy posters. The promos are not the only items that were printed in limited quantities. The entire series is limited to just 3,000 numbered boxes. Nor will this series be run into the ground with endless sequels. Tom indicated this will be the last of Breygent's movie poster series. Although the series sold out, he felt disappointed by the prices some of the truly rare memorabilia cards have sold for on eBay. "I paid more for some of that stuff than it goes for on eBay," he opined. "Like those Buckwheat ties. Buckwheat died a long time ago (1980) before he was even 50. His stuff is popular and very hard to find."
Of course, eBay isn't a good indicator of what stuff is really worth. People have to be searching for a specific title to find it, and they have to be searching during the exact week it is for sale. So many items are never seen and sell at bargain prices. (That's why many people call it "flea-Bay".) Still, one can certainly appreciate the frustration of seeing something you invested so much time, money and effort into, selling for below wholesale. On the other hand, Tom was pleased to see the Babe Ruth memorabilia cards do well in the same venue. The Babe baseball bat pieces routinely fetched $25 - $40, and the Yankee Stadium brick with the Babe bat piece was selling for three to four times that.
There is a lot to like about this set beyond the memorabilia cards though. The classic poster art is almost always top-notch. I'm not as much a fan of the comedy movie art, because it tends to be funny faces and cartoon type caricatures, but the monster art is usually gothic and grand in every way. I also appreciate the fact the back of the cards are jammed with small text, because it indicates the writers actually had something to say, and weren't just filling out the empty space with enough type to make it "look good". On the contrary, there's plenty of detailed information back there and it's well worth the read. For example, did you know that Hitchcock's silhouette is seen in Rope via a neon sign in the background? Or that 1937's Charlie Chan at the Olympics was banned in America for many years because it took place in pre-war Germany without condemning the Nazis?
The set spans a broad range of time as well, starting back in the 1920s with silent Chaplin films, and going all the way to the late 1960s with more modern monster movies like Planet of the Apes . The set also includes a variety of "star" films, which is a catch-all term for anything with a celebrity in it. That includes various films like You Can't Take It With You with Jimmy Stewart, The Hound of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone, The Quite Man with John Wayne, and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Humphrey Bogart. These big name actors also came in handy for the cut signature cards. (Get a load of this list of famous Hollywood's Who's Who!)
The cut signature cards include Ann Miller, James Cagney, Mary Astor, Alfred Hitchock, James Stewart, Mickey Mantle, Anthony Quinn, Jane Fonda, Oliver Hardy, Bela Lugosi, Jessica Tandy, Phil Silvers, Betty Grable, Jimmy Durante, Red Skelton, Bob Steele, Joan Bennett, Rock Hudson, Boris Karloff, Joan Fontaine, Rodney Steven Steiger, Bud Abbott, John Carradine, Roger Maris, Cesar Romero, John Huston, Shelley Winters, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Spanky McFarland, Charlton Heston, Jose Ferrer, Stan Laurel, Chico Marx, Karl Malden, Terry Moore, Chuck Norris, Katharine Hepburn, Theodore Bikel, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, Kathryn Grayson, Kim Hunter, Tommy Butch Bond, Tony Randall, Eddie Albert, Kirk Douglas, Vincent Price, Evan Marie Saint, Lena Horne, William Holden, Farley Granger, Leo Gorcey, Zeppo Marx, Fred MacMurry, Lon Chaney Jr., Fredric March, Lucille Ball, Gene Kelly, Lou Costello, Gregory Peck, Marlon Brando, Huntz Hall, and Mary Martin.
Who did I get? I got the treasured Todd Riley autograph. (He wasn't actually in the series, but he's the dealer who sold me my set and included his signature free on a note with the shipment.) I don't usually chase after autograph cards, and compared to the fantastic art featured in the base cards, they seem almost dull in comparison. But there are some very colorful 9 card holographic insert sets (one devoted to monsters) which I tracked down, plus I bought a memorabilia card of good ol' Buckwheat! It may not be his super rare autograph photo card which is on eBay now for $500 (1 of 1 made), but it's a costume card with part of his tie in it, and that's O-tay by me!
The Non-Sports Trading Card Article Index