Movie posters found under linoleum floor bring $219,000 at Heritage Auctions
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Movie posters found under linoleum floor bring $219,000 at Heritage Auctions
Any Old Port (MGM, 1932). One Sheet (27" X 41"). Sold for: $8,962.50.

DALLAS, TX.- A stash of rare movie posters discovered under a linoleum floor in York County, Pennsylvania, sold for a combined $219,000 in Heritage Auctions' Vintage Poster Auction Nov. 21-22 in Dallas. The $2+ million auction offered seldom seen rarities from Hollywood's golden age of film and poster art, with collectors eyeing never-before-seen posters hidden away for more than 60 years. Owner Robert Basta said the trove will fund his retirement nest egg.

"You always hear about these stories and I never believed it would happen to our family," Basta said following the auction. "We are beyond thrilled with the results – we feel truly blessed."

The stash was discovered when Robert's sons Bob and Dylan removed a dated linoleum floor during a renovation project at the home. The discovery uncovered the only-known surviving examples of five rare posters, making them true pieces of Hollywood history, said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage.

One-of-a-kind posters saw intense bidder interest as a Style D one sheet poster for Tarzan The Ape Man (MGM, 1932) sold for $83,650; the only known one sheet poster for Any Old Port, a 1932 MGM short starring the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy sold for $8,962; and the only-known one sheet poster for Clark Gable's first starring role in Sporting Blood (MGM, 1931) sold for $2,987. The stash also held a movie poster for MGM's 1932 bad-girl classic Red Headed Woman, which sold for $77,675, and a one sheet poster for Doctor X (First National, 1932), which sold for $23,900.

"Collectors and historians didn't even know some of these posters existed before this discovery," Smith said. "Rare finds are still out there and you never know when a missing piece of history will be filed in."

The auction also fetched top prices for rare, pre-war releases for classics as an Italian two-foglio poster for Casablanca (Warner Brothers, 1948) sold for $95,600 and a window card for Frankenstein (Universal, 1931) sold for $89,625. A Swedish oversized poster for King Kong (RKO, 1933) brought $31,070.

Sleepers range from a one sheet for the 1927 Universal short Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Great Guns!, a rare cartoon by Walt Disney, which sold for $37,045 against an $8,000 estimate to an unusual, studio-issued cloth banner for The Batman (Columbia, 1943) sold for $26,290 against a $5,000 estimate. A one sheet for Little Rural Riding Hood (MGM, 1949), the last in the series of Tex Avery's "Red Hot Riding Hood" cartoons, sold for $16,730 against a $6,000 estimate.

Stunning sci-fi and monster movie posters saw intense bidder interest as a one sheet for Creature From the Black Lagoon (Universal International, 1954) sold for $21,510 and a one sheet for Things to Come (United Artists, 1936) brought $20,315. A dramatic three sheet poster for Son of Kong (RKO, 1933) sold for $17,925.

Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:

• It's a Wonderful Life (RKO, 1946): Realized: $16,730.

• Jezebel (Warner Brothers, 1938): Realized: $15,535.

• The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, 1935), a full-bleed Swedish one sheet: Realized: $15,535.

• A rare, Advance British Quad/Quad Crown Style A poster for the James Bond classic Thunderball (United Artists, 1965) sold for $13,145 to lead the highly-respected James Bond/Ian Fleming collection of Gary Firuta.

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