Rare Dracula Movie Poster May Scare Up Big Results at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS—The only known copy of an almost 7-foot-tall movie poster for the 1947 reissue of Dracula could sell for $40,000 when it crosses the block March 22-23 in Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Movie Poster Signature® Auction in Dallas. The fearsome three sheet poster showing a lecherous Bela Lugosi ready to strike his next victim highlights more than 1,200 unique lots of movie monsters, stunning heroines, and a cache of rare silent movie posters discovered above an Ohio garage.

“This auction has mystery, intrigue, and hidden treasure—and we’re not talking about the movies!” said Grey Smith, Director of Movie Posters at Heritage. “Many of the posters offered are appearing at auction for the first time and some were just recently discovered in an attic above a garage in Ohio.”

A king-sized French double grande for RKO’s 1933 classic King Kong vibrantly depicts the hulking super-ape attempting to roll a band of intrepid explorers off a moss-covered log. Fresh, bright colors immortalize one of the film’s iconic scenes on a poster that spans more than 5 feet high by more than 7 feet wide and which is expected to sell for $40,000+. It is one of two Kong posters in the auction, the other being a Style B French grande poster, cast in Rene Peron’s signature art deco style, which may sell for $15,000+.

A rare one sheet for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s 1930 signature short Another Fine Mess is considered one of the finest known to exist and is expected to sell for $25,000+. “One sheets for short subjects are as scarce as hen’s teeth,” Smith said. “Most theaters didn’t want to spend the money to promote a short that was basically tacked on to a full feature so the one sheets that do exist are extremely scarce and desirable.”

A one sheet for Cimarron, RKO’s 1931 big budget Western comes to auction with provenance from The Berwick Discovery of Lost Movie Posters, a trove of posters discovered in an attic in Berwick, Pa. in early 2012. The Cimarron poster features glorious art by Frederic C. Madan and is expected to sell for $20,000 as the previous copy sold for more than $100,000.

Speaking of rare finds, a collection of rare posters that were discovered earlier this year hidden above a garage in Troy, Ohio, are expected to bring more than $12,000. The posters were produced by the Strobridge Litho Co. for a variety of silent films and events between 1895 and 1918. The stash includes two rare one sheets for His Birthright and The Temple of Dusk, both starring Sessue Hayakawa, the first Japanese American actor to find stardom in the United States and Europe. Also in the trove are four, 1890s Barnum and Bailey circus posters, including a rare German language poster, and a crisp promotional poster of boxer James J. Corbett, aka “Gentleman Jim,” valued at $1,500.

The auction also features original poster artwork by artist Mike Bryan, whose photo realist paintings breathed life into the signature images used on the poster for Orion’s Platoon, in 1986, and RoboCop, in 1987. The art was created using a sophisticated combination of airbrush, ink, and colored pencil on a blueprint ghosted image from a photograph on paper. Bryan’s paintings enjoy a solid place in modern pop culture. Both make their auction debut with an $8,000+ and $10,000+ estimate, respectively.

Additional rarities include but are not limited to:

  • A Style B from Gilda, the 1946 classic starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. Est. $20,000+.
  • A unique one sheet from The Little Minister, 1934, starring Katharine Hepburn. Est. $5,000.
  • A lot of 114 photos from Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages, director Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 haunting study of the supernatural. The film was banned in the United States because of its graphic scenes and remains the most expensive Scandinavian silent film ever produced. Est. $4,000+.
  • Likely the only Pre-War release Australian day bill for Warner Brothers’ 1927 landmark film The Jazz Singer known to exist. The poster’s artful background depicts star Al Jolson in blackface and creates a beautiful piece of memorabilia for a film that began the revolution of talking pictures. Est. $5,000.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 850,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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