DALLAS — A rare, one-of-a-kind 1934 movie poster for the Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi horror film, The Black Cat, is expected to set a world record price for any type of poster in the Nov. 12-13, 2009, Signature Vintage Movie Posters Auction at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, and online.
Never before seen in public, The Black Cat poster is from the legendary collection of Todd Feiertag who set the current world’s record price for a movie poster a decade ago with the $453,500 sale of a one-sheet for 1932’s The Mummy in 1997.
For nearly half a century Feiertag has amassed what is considered to be the finest collection of vintage horror movie posters and lobby cards.
"I’ve had the distinct pleasure of enjoying this poster in my private collection for the last 20 years," said Feiertag. "I feel like this is the right time to give this treasure back to the world and to let another collector know the thrill of looking at it every day."
This incredibly rare Style-B stone litho one sheet for The Black Cat, which has never been seen by the public, is the only known example of this poster ever to surface and has never been sold at auction. The Style-B one sheet for The Black Cat is even more rare than one sheets for the other Golden Age Universal Studio horror giants of the day – The Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein – and is every bit as great in the world of serious movie poster collectors. Another unique aspect about this 75-year-old poster is its Near Mint+ unrestored condition. The poster is immaculate, without a single pinhole or any fold wear.
The film The Black Cat – Edgar G. Ulmer’s adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale – marked the first and finest collaboration between the two acknowledged masters of early horror, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and the result was a masterpiece of psychological terror as a young couple finds themselves caught in a deadly game between the two famous actors. Heritage Auctions estimates the poster at $250,000+.
It is also of significant note that Heritage Auctions will be featuring Karloff’s stylish costume from The Black Cat in its 20th Century Icons auction, taking place the week before the movie poster auction, Nov. 6-7. The costume is remarkably well-preserved and instantly summons the image of Karloff as the relentlessly evil, yet impeccably dressed, Hjalmar Poelzig.
Lugosi is also featured on the poster (from a different consignor) for the supporting lot at Heritage Auctions, a 1934 White Zombie half sheet movie poster of a rarity almost equal to the headlining poster. It is estimated at $75,000.
"Lugosi’s performance as Murder Legendre in White Zombie is one of the great performances of Golden Age Hollywood," said Grey Smith, Director of Movie Posters at Heritage Auctions, "and the poster for the film is one of the most sought after in the realm of movie poster collecting. You simply never see a poster like this."
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 470,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, visit www.HA.com.
Photos courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries.