A trio of exceedingly rare classic movie posters – a Style F Dracula one sheet (1931), a three sheet for the Charlie Chaplin classic, A Dog’s Life (1918), and a rare one sheet from the 1929 re-issue of Lon Chaney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame – will headline the March 20–22 Heritage Auction Galleries Signature Vintage Movie Poster Auction.
"It’s always a thrill to present our latest Signature® auction to the movie poster-collecting public," said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Movie Poster Auctions for Heritage, "but this auction is particularly deep. We’re presenting a number of rare and seldom-seen items, many of which haven’t been on the market for years, and which aren’t likely to show up again anytime soon.”
The Dracula Style F one sheet from 1931 is of particular note given the legendary status of the film and the incredible demand for original posters for it. Universal produced several styles of one sheet for the film, only a handful of which have survived to this day. This particular poster, which hails originally from the Nicolas Cage collection, is one of only three examples of its type extant.
“This particular poster very rarely comes to market,” said Smith, “making this a watershed event for collectors everywhere."
Charlie Chaplin signed with First National Films in 1918 and A Dog’s Life was his first production for the studio. Billed as his first “million dollar picture,” it was the beginning of an extremely productive period, hailed as the high point of his career by many critics and historians.
“Early Chaplin posters are extremely scarce, with three sheets proving almost non-existent,” said Smith. “This is a prime opportunity for any of Chaplin’s legion of fans to score a major – and impressive – piece for their collection.”
One of Universal’s first major successes, The Hunchback of Notre Dame not only made Lon Chaney a superstar, but was one of the top-grossing silent films of all time. It was in almost constant release for years after it opened and the original posters were almost certainly used until they fell apart. In fact, only a single sheet from that original release exists to this day. The offering from Heritage in this auction is an exceptionally rare piece from the 1929 re-release.
“This is the only copy I’m aware of in this style,” said Smith. “The opportunity to acquire this piece may not come again for many, many years."
These three important lots barely scratch the surface of the March 20-22 Auction, with hard-to-find and widely sought rare classic movie posters throughout the two days of sessions, many of which any number of collectors would consider once in a lifetime opportunities in and of themselves.
More highlights from this auction: A highly desirable Argentinean one-sheet for the famous "lost" Lon Chaney film, London After Midnight (1927); an insert for Tod Browning’s infamous film, Freaks (1932), the only copy known; an exceptionally rare Style B half sheet for George Pal’s classic, The War of the Worlds (1953); the Style B six sheet for World Without End, featuring art by esteemed pin-up illustrator Alberto Vargas; an original, and very hard-to-find, Japanese poster for Gojira (1954), the movie that introduced Godzilla to a waiting world; highly desirable Disney one sheets for The Mad Doctor (1933), Mickey’s Nightmare (1932), and Ye Olden Days (1933); a Style B Citizen Kane one sheet; seven four-card lobby sets for the classic short series, How I Play Golf (1931), by the legendary Bobby Jones, and a colorful and attractive one sheet for The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
"One of the most interesting pieces in the auction isn’t a movie poster at all," Smith said, "but the beautiful and highly evocative eight sheet promoting iconic magician Harry Houdini’s ‘Buried Alive’ illusion. Original Houdini posters are exceptionally scarce, and as they are hotly desired by both magic and poster collectors, I expect this one to stimulate some frenzied bidding activity."
There will also be a separate session of stills and photographs spotlighting some of the greatest actors, actresses, and films from the 1930s through the 1970s.
As the auction grows closer, interested collectors can follow the progress at www.HA.com/MoviePosters, where they can enter bids and track items they’re interested in
To view this auction online, go to www.ha.com/7003, or for more information, call 800-872-6467.
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