Discarded Frankenstein movie poster sells for $358,500 at Heritage Auctions

Vintage Movie Posters Auction hits $2.1 million March 28-29

DALLAS – A discarded 1931 Frankenstein movie poster 1931 – the only 6-foot example from the 1931 Universal horror classic known to exist – sold for $358,000 in Heritage Auctions’ $2.1 million Vintage Movie Posters Auction. The poster was the top lot in the March 28-29 auction and was discovered by Steve Wilkin, who found the poster in a long closed and boarded-up projection booth in a Long Island theater where he worked as a teen.

“Serious collectors know the best time to buy a new discovery is the first time it’s offered at auction,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage Auctions. “This is quite simply an amazing poster and a true piece of Hollywood history. It will be the gem of any collection. Period.”

The Style C three sheet measures a hulking 41-inches by 78-1/2-inches and had apparently been used by the theatre as a display for a number of reissues of the film, as was so often the case throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Bidders also pushed the sale price of an 11-inch by 14-inch lobby card from the film to $40,630, making it the most valuable example of its kind from the movie.

An imposing six-sheet for The Maltese Falcon (Warner Brothers, 1941) – the only-known copy to have appeared at public auction – sold for $191,200 after spending decades in the private “Theaters of Old Detroit Collection.” Another lone survivor from the early years of American cinema, a three sheet for the silent film London After Midnight (MGM, 1927), starring Lon Chaney, sold for $71,700 in its auction debut. A one sheet Style D for The Wizard of Oz (MGM, 1939), considered to be the better style one sheet of the two produced for the film’s original release saw interest from eight bidders who pushed the auction price to $65, 725 – more than double its estimate.
Two one sheet posters featuring memorable images of Hollywood’s leading ladies quickly surpassed their estimates: A gorgeous poster for the 1933 Marlene Dietrich vehicle The Song of Songs (Paramount, 1933) sold for $35,850, against a $15,000 estimate, and a bruised Carole Lombard on a 1936 poster for Love Before Breakfast (Universal) sold for $33,460, against a $20,000 estimate. A rare surviving one sheet from the silent film era, a poster for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (Artcraft, 1917), starring Mary Pickford, brought $31,070.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited by:

  • An Australian daybill for Casablanca (Warner Brothers, 1942): Realized: $21,510.
  • An Italian four foglio for La Dolce Vita (Cineriz, 1960): Realized: $19,120.
  • A three sheet for The Dawn Patrol, starring Errol Flynn (Warner Brothers, 1938): Realized: $15,535.
  • A signed, preliminary artwork sketch by director Akira Kurosawa from his 1980 masterpiece Kagemusha (c. 1970s): Realized: $15,535.

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 900,000+ 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.