Black Cat Movie Poster Auctions for $334,600

The only known Style B one-sheet movie poster for the 1934 Universal classic horror movie, The Black Cat, brought $334,600 as part of Heritage Auctions’ Nov. 12-13 Signature Vintage Movie Posters Auction. Total prices realized for the event, including 19.5% buyer’s premium, surpassed the $2 million mark.

“The graphically spectacular red, black and white stone lithograph Black Cat movie poster is that rare collectible that transcends its genre,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Movie Posters at Heritage Auctions. “Yes it’s a gorgeous movie poster, but it also carries great appeal as a piece of art, as a piece of pop culture and as an important piece of cinematic history. There’s no other movie poster like it in the world, as far as we know, and it’s worth every cent paid for it.”

The poster came to Heritage from renowned collector Todd Feiertag, whose collection also supplied the copy of The Mummy, which sold for $453, 500 in 1997 at a different auction house. The $334,600 price paid for the poster ties it for fourth place overall on the all-time list of top-selling movie posters, tied with a Style D one sheet for the Bride of Frankenstein, sold at Heritage Auctions in November 2007.

The Black Cat was the first collaboration between Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, and many would argue their best. As a side note it is worth mentioning that Karloff’s costume from The Black Cat recently sold for more than $89,000 to lead Heritage Auctions Nov. 6-7 20th Century Icons auction, a solid testament to the enduring popularity of the film, its stars and the desirability of any type of memorabilia associated with it.

Lugosi’s stardom lent its heft to the second top lot in the auction, a 1932 half-sheet for United Artists’ White Zombie, in which Lugosi gives one of his greatest, most chilling performances as Murder Legendre, an inscrutable man who holds sway over the natives in his Haitian stronghold. The poster survives in remarkable condition, and is one of only two known examples of the half-sheet poster for this important horror film. It sold for $53,775.

“As ever, classic horror is the top in the world of vintage movie poster collecting,” said Smith. “Heritage Auctions’ has worked diligently to find and offer collectors the very best examples in the world, like The Black Cat Style B movie poster. It was a thrill to auction this poster, certainly, and we can’t wait to see what turns up next.”

A Citizen Kane (RKO, 1941) Style B one sheet movie poster was the auction’s top non-Horror lot, and number three overall, as it soared to $33,460. Orson Welles’ controversial masterpiece is undeniably one of, if not the single greatest movie of all time, and original posters associated with the film are highly desirable to top collectors. The rare Style B one sheets, such as this example, are particularly highly prized.

Three magnificent Italian premiere displays for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (PEA, 1966) captured the attention of top level collectors with its iconic “Man With No Name” imageryand brought an equally impressive $33,460 price tag, while an equally iconic image of Jane Russell as the ultimate pin-up in a rare six-sheet for The Outlaw (United Artists, 1943), the single most controversial film of the 1940s, carved its place in pop culture a little deeper as it realized $29,875.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

The War of the Worlds (Paramount, 1953). Half Sheet Style B: Realized: $26,290.

Spies (MGM-UFA, 1928). Signed One Sheet: Realized: $22,705.

True Heart Susie (Artcraft, 1919). One Sheet: Realized: $20,315.

Tarzan of the Apes (First National, 1918). One Sheet: Realized: $19,120.

A Clockwork Orange (Warner Brothers, 1971). One Sheet: Realized: $19,120.

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 475,000+ 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, please visit www.HA.com

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