David Frangioni at his home in Miami. Photograph by Al Diaz.

Persona: David Frangioni

MUSIC ENTREPRENEUR IS ONE OF HOBBY’S TOP CLINT EASTWOOD COLLECTORS

What do you do for a living?
I am an entrepreneur who has been in the music and technology business for over 30 years. I own a company that provides high-end recording studio/facilities, home theater and home automation installations. I also own an artist development company specializing in music with a record label, IDA, that’s distributed through WEA. I am a drummer and published author of three books.

How did a music guy get into movie-poster collecting?
At age 2, I was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye. As a result, my right eye was removed and a prosthetic was put in its place. It had a profound impact on my life as I became a loner and immersed myself in music and collecting, first G.I. Joe dolls and then baseball cards by the time I was 8. In my teens, I discovered movie posters and found I had a passion for collecting them. 

How did you discover movie posters?
My mom used to take me to the Regent Theatre in my hometown of Arlington, Mass., for the weekend matinee, 25 cents a person. I would marvel at the movie posters. I got to know the theater manager, Mr. Gunn – no kidding, that was his real name! – and he would give me the posters after they were done with the engagement.

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Eastwood Book
David Frangioni’s Clint Eastwood Icon: The Essential Film Art Collection (Insight Editions, $39.95) contains more than 500 original images of Clint Eastwood film posters.

Why were you specifically attracted to Clint Eastwood posters?
As I saw different movies and posters, I really liked the action and poster images of Clint films. Being a drummer and having a love for music and rock, I was drawn probably because Clint posters showcase a combination of his great characters along with great art and cool slogans. Dirty Harry: You don’t assign him to murder cases, you just turn him loose!

So today, you’ve authored books about Eastwood memorabilia. What’s your goal with the books?
I wrote the book that I would want to see over and over as a collector and fan of movie posters. I’m proud that, with the great support of my publisher, Insight Editions, it was mission accomplished! It’s a beautiful, coffee-table book. 

Describe the transition from Eastwood collector to Eastwood expert.
I am always learning about items that were released that I did not know even existed. That’s one of the most fun and interesting things about the hobby. The word “expert” is a nice compliment, but really, I’m someone who is very passionate about collecting so I immerse myself in learning, finding and, through my books and social media, sharing knowledge.

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Eastwood
Two of Frangioni’s three The Good, The Bad and the Ugly panels (measuring 39 x 110 in. each) from the movie’s 1966 Italian premiere.

Where do you find pieces for your collection?
The best finds have been through auction houses such as Heritage Auctions and with other collectors. I obtained a poster that was virtually one-of-a-kind from a collector in the middle of Ireland. He was so far in the depths of the country that FedEx was eight hours away from his home! Through the internet and his knowing me through my book, we connected and I was able to obtain this incredible rarity. 

Which pieces are your favorite?
I think two of my top pieces would be The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Italian premier items I got from Heritage. The first is a three-panel set and the other is a 24-sheet poster. Both are from the Italian premier of the film and incredibly rare. 

How many posters do you have?
At its largest, my collection had more than 10,000 items. Today, it’s about 8,000.

What factors do you consider when culling your collection?
It really depends on my goals at the time, which could be to save space or [selling] items I feel are no longer needed in my current collection. It could also be to raise funds for my charity – Frangioni Foundation – or in the most extreme case, I no longer want to collect that type anymore. 

I imagine you discovered the importance of authenticity pretty early…
I firmly believe that the proper and accurate state of an item must be disclosed so that everyone knows if there’s been modification or whatever the history might be. That’s a big reason why I am careful with whom I do business, both as a buyer and seller. It’s one reason I’m loyal to reputable auction houses such as Heritage, because they are always honest in disclosing everything about the item for sale. That’s huge.

What advice do you have for movie poster collectors?
Stick with it, learn and network, understand values before buying and know when to buy. I say “when” because there will be times where you will see an item that might never be offered for sale again and you need to have enough knowledge to know that now is the moment if you ever want or need that item. Try to have fun with poster collecting because that’s one of the reasons we should do it!

This story appears in the Winter 2018-2019 edition of The Intelligent Collector magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition

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