DALLAS – Setting two world records and tallying more than $10 million in sales of rare and vintage posters maintained Heritage Auctions’ dominance in the vintage poster field in 2017. The year marked a 27 percent increase in total sales over 2016.
The firm set a world record for the most valuable movie poster ever sold at auction when one of just two surviving copies of the style A poster for the 1931 horror classic Dracula (Universal, 1931) sold for $525,800 in November.
The sale came on the heels of another world record set in July 2017 when the only known surviving Italian issue movie poster from 1946 for Casablanca (Warner Brothers) sold for $478,000. The sale matched Heritage’s world record price from November 2014 for an only-known 1927 copy of the poster for London After Midnight (MGM, 1927).
“We’ve had an incredible year matching stellar rarities with motivated collectors,” said Grey Smith, director of Vintage Poster Auctions at Heritage. “It’s always exciting to set a world record in this field, but to set two such records in a row is just a thrilling career accomplishment.”
The year’s top 25 posters celebrated tremendous finds from landmark cinema classics. A Style A teaser for The Invisible Man (Universal, 1933) soared to $274,850 – more than four times its estimate. The studio produced few teasers for their horror greats and this haunting poster features art by Karoly Grosz, a legendary designer of the 1930s.
High on collectors’ lists, the first postwar release French Grande poster for Casablanca (Warner Brothers, 1947) brought $239,000 and a 1953 re-release, Italian four fogli from the film, featuring artwork by Luigi Martinati, sold for $107,550.
A special offering, the only-known Australian prewar daybill for the genre-defining Metropolis (UFA-Cinema Art Ltd., 1928) sold for $215,100. The daybill is the only copy known to exist and is among the rarest in the business. Artist Bernie Bragg, once a draftsman and combat artist during World War I, brings Fritz Lang’s famous Robotrix, now a timeless icon of science fiction, to life by capturing the essential elements of the film’s dynamic cinematography.
Among rare paper from horror classics, one of only three copies known to exist of the one sheet for Supernatural (Paramount, 1933) sold for $107,550 and a one sheet for Frankenstein (Universal, 1931) sold for $107,550.
In a surprise auction appearance, Albert Kallis’ original poster artwork for Invasion of the Saucer-Men (American International, 1957) ended at $107,550. The artwork actually inspired the creation of the movie and further solidified a cornerstone of the public’s collective consciousness of “little green men” from outer space.
Additional 2017 highlights include:
$107,550: Casablanca (United Artists, R-1962), Italian 2 – Fogli, Silvano “Nano” Campeggi artwork;
$95,600: The Phantom of the Opera (Universal, 1925), one sheet, style L;
$83,650: The Lady Eve (Paramount, 1941), one sheet;
$71,700: The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939), half sheet, style A.