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Buying Star Wars Movie Posters can be a tricky business. If you just like an image of a poster and you don't care about it as a collectible, then your best bet is to buy a reprint. It's more affordable and sometimes they look better than the originals. AllPosters.Com is one of many places that sell reprints. You shouldn't have any trouble finding them.

If you're looking for a vintage Star Wars poster as an investment, then it's time to get serious.

My personal preference is to buy a poster in person at a store or a convention. I like that because I can examine the poster myself and see what kind of condition it's in, if it's a fake, etc. You also have a better shot at getting a refund if you buy from a reputable dealer. However, finding a local movie poster dealer can be very difficult. More than likely there aren't too many near you. The next step is to go online.

Your best bet is to shop with a movie poster dealer online. Most of them will give you a refund if you're not satisfied or if the poster is destroyed in shipment. They're also usually pretty up-front about the quality. And if it's a new poster, you can be pretty sure it will be in good shape. The downside is that the price is usually set and you can't haggle for a lower price. Here are a few places I've dealt with:

Official Star Wars Shop - This is your best bet for getting posters for the NEW Star Wars movies. You'll get them here in the best condition and at the best prices. However, they tend to sell only the single sided posters and you often have to be a fan club member to get first shot at them.

Filmposter.com - Offers vintage posters, but unfortunately no images of them.

Rick's Movie Graphics - Great service, good selection, mid to high prices. A good poster store.

Cinema City - Good selection of vintage posters. Mid to high prices.

If you know of other good online stores, let us know.

The final option is online auctions. This is the most risky, but it not only offers you the widest selection of vintage Star Wars posters, but it gives you the best shot at getting a good deal. I prefer using E Bay. Here are some tips based on my own personal experiences:

- When a poster for the new movies hits E-Bay, don't rush to buy it. The prices will start extremely high, then lower over time. You'll find it cheaper later, guaranteed.

- Just because a dealer says a poster is not a fake, don't always believe them. They could either be lying or they genuinely don't know it's a fake. I've run across dealers who truly believed they had a real poster then I got it and discovered it was a fake. Educate yourself in advance and ask for photos of the merchandise. Make sure you can get a refund.

- Beware the packaging. Some dealers will ship a poster perfectly. I've had others who threw vintage posters loosely into flimsy cardboard tubes. Needless to say, the posters were destroyed. Never underestimate the ability of UPS, Fed Ex, or the Postal Service to destroy a tube.

- Get insurance. I've had posters destroyed. I've had poster tubes arrive that had been opened and were empty. I've had posters never arrive. This is important.

- I prefer to use Paypal. This way if the dealer is a crook I have both Paypal and my credit card company behind me in getting my money back. It's also a good thing to use when dealing with foriegn dealers. I've had only good experiences with foriegn dealers, but you need to be careful.

- Know which posters are rare. If you see a poster that hits E-Bay only once every few years, you'll know to fight hard for it. If you spot a hidden gem among the hundreds of entries, you'll know to snatch it up. If bidding starts getting out of hand on a common item, you'll know to back off.

- After an auction you've lost, contact the seller. Sometimes they might have another copy of the poster they'll sell to you if you got outbid.

- When doing searches on auctions, try different search keywords. Besides "Star Wars posters", also search for "Empire Strikes Back posters", "Return of the Jedi posters", etc etc etc. You may turn up auctions that many people have overlooked. Also make a point to look in the "Originals Non-US" for some good deals.

- Also, when searching, choose the "Any Country" option. You might find some fantastic rare international posters at the British or other international eBay sites. These are frequently overlooked by US bidders.

- I generally only bid on auctions with photos of the item. This helps me confirm what style it is and it gives me an idea of the condition.

- Make sure you're bidding on an original and not a reprint. Sometimes the auctions for the two get mixed up.

- Check the seller's ratings before buying, especially the buyers comments. I generally like to buy from established sellers. They're more likely to act professionally and send you the poster packed well.

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