Poster University: It’s All in the Ratings

Every once in a while, a well-educated poster connoisseur will walk into the gallery and inquire about the rating of a specific piece.  This can often be difficult for us to explain.

You see, unlike baseball cards, stamps. or high-level paintings there is no official guideline for rating a poster’s condition. Christie’s, Swann’s, Sotheby’s; everyone has their own unique rating system for poster art.

Here at The Ross Art Group, we pride ourselves on only taking into inventory the best condition items that can be found. Period. Sometimes this means even taking in a less than stellar condition poster, since this is the best quality of the specific poster that can be found.

What guidelines do we follow when affirming a poster as “excellent condition”?

We understand that this can be confusing even to the most knowledgeable of collectors, so we have decided to share just what goes into a poster getting The Ross Art Group stamp of approval.

Click on the image to see more details about this wonderful, perfect condition Cognac Monnet by Cappiello.


Here we’ve chosen what may be our most perfect condition poster in the entire gallery, Cognac Monnet by Leonetto Cappiello, to highlight what we look for when sourcing  for the gallery. This is a true A+ condition poster.

General Guidelines for Rating Posters


  • A Condition: Designates a poster in very fine condition. The colors are fresh; no paper loss. There may be some slight blemish or tear, but this is very marginal. A+ is a flawless example of a poster rarely seen in such fine condition. A- indicates that there may be some slight dirt, fold, tear, or bubble or other minor restoration.

  • B Condition: Designates a poster in good condition. There may be some  slight paper loss, but not in the image or in any crucial design area. If some restoration, it is not immediately evident. The lines and colors are good, although the paper may be yellowed. B+ designates a poster in very good condition. B-indicates fairly good condition. The latter determination may be caused by heavier than normal light-staining or one or two noticeable repairs.

  • C Condition: Designates a poster in fair condition. The light-staining may be more pronounced, or restorations, folds or flaking are more readily visible, and possibly some major paper loss occurs. But the poster is otherwise intact, the image clear, and the poster although possibly faded is still faithful to the artist’s intent.

  • D Condition: Designates a poster in bad condition. A good part of such poster may be missing a part of the critical image area,; colors and lines so marred that a true appreciation of the artist’s intent is difficult, if not impossible.

Back to blog

Recent Additions

About The Ross Art Group