DALLAS – In the early days of American cinema’s Golden Age, between the melodramas, Westerns and comedies, the success of the first wave of great Universal horror movies – Dracula, Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera – made the genre and its stars shine brighter than the rest with audiences across the nation. Legendary names like Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney provided the escape and the thrill, in the form of legendary screen monsters, that so many needed from the lingering sting of the Great Depression and the impending approach of World War II.
When one of only four known 1925 Phantom of the Opera one sheet movie posters takes the stage at Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries’ Nov. 7-8 Signature Vintage Movie Poster Auction, along with a 1938 Dracula re-issue one sheet, and a 1938 three sheet Frankenstein re-issue, the classic horror villains will live again in their full frightening glory. This time, however, they will not be scaring audience members out of their seats so much as keeping them glued to them as this trio of three of the rarest, most difficult to find movie posters hit the auction block. All three of these excellent-condition, spectacular posters originated from the Nicolas Cage Collection, which the actor passionately and expertly assembled over the early part of his acting career.
“This trio of movie posters is among the rarest and most special that buyers are ever likely to see at auction,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Movie Poster Auctions for Heritage. “For lovers of horror movies, however, this is simply as good as it can possibly get. Heritage is thrilled to once again lead the way in the vintage movie poster market with the top of the top.”
The original one sheet (27 inches by 41 inches) 1925 Phantom of the Opera poster is easily the most desirable lot in the sale, and the most-sought after of the numerous posters the studio produced for the film, as it’s the only one showing the Phantom as Chaney depicted him in the film. There are only four copies of the poster known – one resides in Universal Studios’ own collection. The poster carries a pre-auction estimate of $200,000-$400,000.
The one sheet (27 inches by 41 inches) poster for Universal’s 1938 re-release of Dracula, with Lugosi in his legendary role, is the only known copy of this particular poster and bidding is expected to be intense. Posters for this famous film rarely turn up; Heritage sold a title lobby card (11 inches by 14 inches) last year for a record $65,725! This eerie and iconic image is estimated at $50,000-$80,000.
The last of the major offerings in this auction that originated with the Cage Collection, the three sheet (41 inches by 81 inches) poster to the 1938 reissue of the granddaddy horror film of them all, Frankenstein, is also the only known copy of this poster, featuring Karloff as the monster created from human parts. The poster has a pre-auction estimate of $50,000-$80,000. To compliment this rare poster, there will also be an original 1931 Frankenstein title lobby card (11 inches by 14 inches), not from the Cage Collection, with a pre-auction estimate of $50,000-$70,000.
“The Nicolas Cage Collection has been an incredible resource to collectors all over the world,” said Smith.” With these three amazing consignments, all with provenance in the Cage Collection, the actor’s good taste and influence continues to be felt on the collecting market and Heritage is proud to continue its affiliation with the collection.”
Other highlights from the sale, not with provenance in the Nick Cage Collection, include posters from other Universal classics such as a three sheet (41 inches by 81 inches) to The Ghost of Frankenstein, a full set of eight mint condition lobby cards (11 inches by 14 inches) to Dracula’s Daughter (1936), an original window card (14 inches by 22 inches) to Murders in the Rue Morgue starring Bela Lugosi, a beautiful condition window card (14 inches by 22 inches) to The Invisible Man (1931) starring Claude Rains, a one sheet (27 inches by 41 inches) to the sequel The Invisible Man Returns (1939) as well as a half sheet (22 inches by 28 inches) to The Wolf Man (1941) starring Lon Chaney Jr.
To view this auction online, go to www.ha.com/695, or for more information, call 800-872-6467.
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