‘Phantom of the Opera’ poster brings $203,150 at Heritage Auctions

Formerly from the Nicolas Cage Collection, the 1925 'The Phantom of the Opera' poster sold for $203,150. Heritage Auctions image.

Formerly from the Nicolas Cage Collection, the 1925 ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ poster sold for $203,150. Heritage Auctions image.

DALLAS – A scarce original one sheet poster for the 1925 horror classic The Phantom of the Opera – formerly from actor Nicolas Cage’s collection and one of only four known to exist – sold for $203,150 in Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction July 19-20.

The $2.3-plus million auction saw strong interest in prewar movie posters as a rare Charlie Chaplin six sheet for Sunnyside, from 1919, sold for $71,700.

“It was very gratifying to watch 10 bidders vie for a chance to own The Phantom of the Opera one sheet,” said Grey Smith, director of movie posters at Heritage. “Collectors know they have to respond when rarities like this come to market and I know it will be heading to a very good home.”

A stunning and highly sought-after insert for the cinema masterpiece Casablanca – a collector favorite from 1942 – sold for $83,650. Another rare survivor from one of the world’s most critically acclaimed films, a German poster for the 1931 unnerving classic M, sold for $50,787 following interest from 18 bidders.

Collectors of classic film images disregarded the $15,000 estimate for an Italian foglio for La Dolce Vita. The gorgeous poster measuring 55 inches by 77 1/5 inches hammered for $47,800. Likewise, a rare, 1941 insert for The Wolf Man quickly cleared $47,800 against a $30,000 estimate.

A stunning Italian 2 foglio for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, depicting what many collectors consider the most fetching image of star Audrey Hepburn, sold for a strong $35,850. Another Italian 2 foglio for The Lady from Shanghai – featuring Rita Hayworth as a blonde femme fatale – sold for $31,070.

The auction’s most valuable half sheet is from the 1953 classic The War of the Worlds; the rare style B version sold for $35,850. A full-bleed, style B one sheet from The Song of Songs, the 1933 Paramount classic, ended at $28,680; and an insert from the incomparable Citizen Kane closed at $26,290. A French grande style A poster for King Kong ended at $25,095.

Additional highlights included:

  • A spectacular six sheet for the 1955 generation-defining Rebel Without a Cause: Realized: $22,705.
  • A previously unknown German magazine advertisement for the 1921 vampire classic Nosferatu: Realized: $20,912 against a $6,000 estimate.
  • A rare World War I propaganda recruitment poster “Destroy This Mad Brute”: Realized: $15,535.
  • The only known 9-foot by 20-foot billboard for Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Realized: $10,755.