Auctions | April 11, 2023

1931 Frankenstein and Historic Movie Posters to Auction

Heritage Auctions

Poster for Frankenstein, 1931

The 1931 Style A movie poster for Frankenstein designed by the legendary Universal Pictures art director Karoly Grosz is among more than 100 sci-fi and horror rarities coming to sale at the end of this month at Heritage Auctions.

There are only seven known surviving examples of this Frankenstein one-sheet, folded and unrestored but in near-mint condition which is the centerpiece of the auction house's April 29-30 Movie Posters Auction. It is being offered alongside other rarities including 116 horror and science-fiction offerings from the collection of Modern Props.

Heritage has only offered this Frankenstein poster twice in its history and only once in near-mint condition, 19 years ago, when it made a record-setting price of $189,750. it is joined here by 1942's The Ghost of Frankenstein, whose three sheet is so rare Heritage has never before seen one. The fourth installment in what by then had become Universal's franchise, with Lon Chaney Jr. replacing Boris Karloff as the monster and Bela Lugosi as his companion Ygor, the film wasn't well regarded upon its release. But its posters remain a valuable keepsake from its release and nine years ago Heritage sold one of the few surviving one sheets for $26,290. This far superior (and far larger) three sheet is even more valuable.

The Ghost of Frankenstein Three Sheet
Heritage Auctions

 The Ghost of Frankenstein Three Sheet from the April auction

The Invisible Man One Sheet
Heritage Auctions

 The Invisible Man One Sheet at the April auction

The Endless Summer Silkscreen Poster
Heritage Auctions

 The Endless Summer Silkscreen Poster at the April auction

Casablanca Half Sheet
Heritage Auctions

Casablanca Half Sheet at the April auction

It Happened One Night One Sheet Style B
Heritage Auctions

 It Happened One Night One Sheet Style B from the April auction

The Adventures of Robin Hood Three Sheet
Heritage Auctions

 The Adventures of Robin Hood Three Sheet at the April auction

The Wizard of Oz One Sheet Style D
Heritage Auctions

 The Wizard of Oz One Sheet Style D at the April auctions

These horror posters and historic sci-fi offerings come from the legendary collection of John Zabrucky, who in early 2020 shuttered his Modern Props after 42 years of providing props to everything from Blade Runner to the Austin Powers films. These offerings in April's auction constitute a fraction of his collection, and in June Heritage will hold a dedicated auction featuring more of Zabrucky's star attractions.

Among the other items are The Invisible Man and The Adventures of Robin Hood, created by printers in the 1930s that had short-lived deals with movie studios that allowed them to print alternative posters. They were allowed to make these alternate posters to compensate for the lack of "official" advertising materials which were tossed out, lost or too worn out when the films were sent, often by bus, to different cities.