The Invisible Man made his presence known during Heritage Auctions
Movie Posters event held July 25-26, with a scarcely seen teaser for the 1933 horror classic scaring up $228,000 to help lead the weekends sale past the $2.3 million mark.
The weekends auction was a blockbuster event, with more than 1,700 bidders on HA.com vying for the chance to own some of cinemas most elusive and cherished advertisements for itself.
The sale was very active, said Grey Smith, Heritage Auctions Director of Vintage Posters. A large number of bidders participated, there were strong results overall and some records set.
Most of the weekends offerings exceeded pre-auction estimates among them the Swedish one sheet for Casablanca, which nearly tripled its pre-event estimate when it sold for $55,000. Indeed, Casablancas enduring appeal resulted, too, in the sale of two chairs from Rick's Café Américain for $78,000 more than 10 times estimate.
And a record was set for the most ever paid for a Casablanca lobby card: $33,600.
Director Fritz Langs masterpieces garnered some of the weekends highest bidding and frantic action. The German poster for Lang's 1931 noir M, in which Peter Lorre gave his greatest performance, opened bidding at $31,000 and, after a spirited back-and-forth between online bidders, closed at $108,000, a record price for this piece.
Another Lang masterpiece, 1927s Metropolis, likewise proved a big hit at our Movie Posters event: An incredibly rare poster from its initial U.S. release when the film was dramatically truncated, before its eventual restoration and ascension to masterpiece opened at $21,000. But heavy bidding lifted the poster, depicting the films towering skyscrapers, to a realized price of $66,000.
One of the events biggest surprises, and another record-setter, was the Italian 2-fogli for 1958s Horror of Dracula, starring Christopher Lee. This Hammer Films offering opened bidding at a mere $9,000, just under its pre-auction estimate. But by the time it finally sold, after a breakneck back-and-forth, the final price was a staggering $84,000.
A far less frightening offering was the stunning poster for F.W. Murnaus Oscar-winning 1927 film Sunrise an early noir starring George O'Brien and Janet Gaynor, whose visage adorns the one sheet. Befitting the only known copy of this visually stunning one sheet, it sold for $48,000, far above its pre-auction estimate and deservedly so.
And this was no illusion: a one sheet for 1919s The Master Mystery, featuring Harry Houdini and cinemas first robot, sold for $43,200 well over initial estimates. It was the first time Heritage Auctions had ever offered the poster for this serial featuring Houdini.
Movie posters werent the only things setting records at Heritage Auctions Movie Posters auction: Never Was So Much Owed by So Many to So Few, a World War II poster so named for a Winston Churchill speech, sold for $45,600. Thats the most paid for a World War II propaganda piece. Even more startling: Its pre-auction estimate was a mere $1,500-3,000.
But it wasnt just the higher-priced pieces smashing and setting records: A withdrawn Pulp Fiction poster, showing Uma Thurman and a smoldering Lucky Strike, sold for $6,600. Thats the same price for which one bidder bought a first-printing of a Star Wars poster, significant because it was a First Printing Printer's Proof One Sheet.
I was very pleased with the outcome, Smith said. Clearly, he wasnt alone.