Dracula reigns over Heritage Auctions movie poster sale

This ‘Dracula’ (Universal, 1931) title lobby card, graded in very fine condition, 11in. x 14in., sold for $114,000. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – Two lots from the most famous vampire movie ever made emerged as the two most expensive lobby cards ever sold and claimed the top two results in Heritage Auctions’ movie poster auction July 27-28. The sale totaled $1,975,550 and boasted stellar sell-through rates of 98.7 percent by value and 96.7 percent by lots sold.
Dracula (Universal, 1931) title lobby card drew bids from 17 collectors before closing at $114,000, the highest price ever paid for a lobby card, against an estimate of $40,000-$80,000. Capturing a dramatic image from the film widely considered the definitive vampire film, it spotlights Bram Stoker’s timeless classic that overcame studio financial troubles to secure its status as the best vampire film ever made and establishing star Bela Lugosi as the unquestioned personification of Dracula.

Dracula was made despite some significant financial limitations during the Depression,” said Grey Smith, Heritage Auctions’ vintage posters director. “But the studio’s gamble paid off, as it became the film by which all other vampire films are measured.”

The film’s popularity carried another lot to a six-figure return, as Dracula (Universal, 1931) lobby card sold for $102,000, more than doubling its high estimate. The card captures the film’s title character creeping in to bite the neck of Francis Dade. Lugosi got the role of Dracula only after Lon Chaney died before filming started, but he made the role his own and still is considered the screen’s greatest King of the Undead. This is one of just two close-up scene cards with Lugosi in this set.