The Berwick Discovery of Lost Movie Posters – a trove of 33 classic and incredibly rare posters dating back as far as 1930 – many examples of which were thought to be lost for all time, realized $503,035 total, more than double its pre-auction estimate of $250,000+ to lead Heritage Auctions’ $1.93+ million March 23-24 Vintage Movie Poster Auction. The auction realized a sell-through rate of 97% by value.
A rare 1931 Dracula Style F One Sheet, which sold to an anonymous overseas collector, led the auction with a price realized of $143,400. One of the biggest surprises of the collection was the $101,575 price realized for the stunning and scarce movie poster for 1931’s Cimarron, the first Western to win the Best Picture Academy Award. All prices include Buyer’s Premium.
The Berwick posters came out of an attic and were found in a small country auction in Berwick, PA, in several lots stuck together with wallpaper paste, which had preserved them for more than eight decades.
“We knew this was something special when they came in the door,” said Grey Smith, Heritage’s Director of Movie Posters, who spent two weeks carefully steaming the posters apart for restoration. “Many of these posters had never been seen before – this really is film history and collectors realized that.”
The 1931 Style F one sheet for the Universal horror classic Dracula, which realized $143,400, is only the fourth Style F poster from the film ever uncovered. Two previously unseen versions of movie posters from the 1931 film The Public Enemy were also the object of intense collector attention. The Style B Public Enemy poster brought $59,750, while the other Public Enemy movie poster, featuring James Cagney, realized $55,269, while the style B poster for 1931’s Little Caesar, featuring Douglas Fairbanks Jr., one of only two known, realized $41,825.