Film classics have top billing in online poster auction Sept. 3

Murder, mystery, suspense and voluptuous blondes are at the head of a Jasper52 online auction of movie poster and memorabilia auction taking place Tuesday, Sept. 3. The opening attraction is a one sheet poster for the 1953 feature “Niagara” starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotten.

‘Niagara,’ one sheet poster, 1953, starring Marilyn Monroe and Joseph Cotton, linen-backed, 27in. x 41in. Estimate: $1,200-$1,500. Jasper52 image

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Blockbuster movie posters starring in Jasper52 sale May 14

Jasper52 will debut an Affordable Vintage Movie Collectibles auction on Tuesday, May 14. Original posters, lobby cards and movie stills comprise this 50-lot collection that ranges from film noir to modern cult classics.

‘Key Largo’ (Warner Bros., 1948) vintage original lobby card featuring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, 14in. x 11in. Estimate: $200-$300. Jasper52 image

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Horror movie posters bring frightening prices

NEW YORK — Horror movie posters — be they blockbuster films or indie cult classics — are highly collectible, whether the movies they advertised were great or so bad that they were good. Works of art in their own right, horror posters take storytelling to the next level through visuals. Arguably, they sometimes overstep the boundaries of good taste, but that’s part of the fun.

The Overstreet Guide to Horror Collecting surveys all sorts of horror collectibles, from movie posters to comic books and more. Photo courtesy of Hake’s.

“Horror movies differ from other film genres because they capitalize on visceral reactions and focus on the villains, which is reflected in the movie posters,” said Amanda Sheriff, author of The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Movie Posters and The Overstreet Guide to Collecting Horror. “They typically depict menacing villains, protagonists in peril, the threat of violence, ominous settings, and grotesque imagery. The best posters are designed to promise a fun and frightening viewing experience.”

From creepy villains and misunderstood monsters to damsels in distress or terrifying experiments gone horribly wrong, horror movies terrify us as children and fascinate us as we get older. While each generation has its own monsters (Freddy, Jason, Godzilla and Chucky to name a few), the classics like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman will always rank high among favorites for collectors.

This three-sheet insert movie poster, style C, for Frankenstein (Universal, 1931) set a world auction record price of $358,500 in March 2015 at Heritage Auctions. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Not surprisingly, a 1931 three-sheet insert poster for Frankenstein, the original sympathetic monster, holds a world auction record price of $358,500, set at Dallas’ Heritage Auctions in March 2015. Heritage also holds the record for a one-sheet poster —  Dracula (from the same film studio, Universal, also released in 1931), which sold for $525,800 in November 2017.

“Every cliché of cinema horror was created with this film: the mad scientist, the misunderstood monster, the angry villagers carrying torches, the dark laboratory filled with science fictional devices, and the creepy assistant,” according to Heritage Auctions.

Grey Smith, director of vintage posters at Heritage, said horror movie posters combine several design tricks to make them so compelling. “Title and design are the draws. The titles of the great Universal films make them in great demand and the better the graphic, the better the demand. But that being said, almost anything to have survived from the 1920s and ’30s of the great horror films is of demand. I believe horror posters are so avidly collected as horror films make a very strong impression on young people and when they grow older with money to collect, those are films that were important to them.”

A one-sheet poster for The Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal, 1954) fetched $18,107 in March 2016 at Hake’s Auctions. Photo courtesy of Hake’s Auctions.

Michael Bollinger is senior cataloguer and resident horror specialist at Hake’s Auctions in York, Pa., and coincidentally, is Amanda Sheriff’s husband. He added, “Striking Gothic and oftentimes grotesque imagery tends to linger with an audience, piquing interest. That morbid curiosity acts as a hook, compelling moviegoers to check out the film.”

From Nosferatu to today’s movies, horror movie posters have evolved stylistically over the years. “Early horror posters were dramatically painted in bold colors, usually featuring large renderings of the villains with inset images of the heroes,” Sheriff said. “They transitioned to photo-based imagery, in some cases using artistic collages and in others basic cast photos or glimpses of the gore.”

Within the horror genre, there are notable poster subgenres that appeal to collectors, including the silent film era, classic Universal monsters, the ’50s sci-fi/horror, Britain’s Hammer Studios horror, giant monsters like King Kong and Godzilla and slashers from the ’70s and ’80s, Sheriff said. Collectors are also drawn to international horror films and among the most visually striking  posters are those for the Italian Giallo films of the late 1960s and ’70s.

A record price was set for this one-sheet Dracula poster, style A (also a 1931 movie released by Universal), which sold for $525,800 in November 2017 at Heritage Auctions. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Among the most collectible and desirable posters, the early Universal Monsters posters are typically the rarest and achieve the highest prices. Rare posters for such films as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Black Cat, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Phantom of the Opera have brought hundreds of thousands.

“As for popularity and accessibility, posters for Alfred Hitchcock hits like Psycho, 1950s sci-fi/horror posters like Attack of the 50-Ft. Woman, and slashers like Friday the 13th are consistent favorites,” Sheriff said.

Asked about what would bring the most money, Smith theorized some of the best have yet to be sold. “I suggest that the top posters may be those posters that have not appeared in the market before and still remain elusive, such as a Dracula 1931 three-sheet, anything from the silent classic Nosferatu, a U.S. one-sheet to Metropolis, a Mummy 1933 six-sheet or a Frankenstein 1931 style D three-sheet,” Smith said. “All are unknown and should bring large sums in the market.”

This insert poster is for the original release of the classic 1958 film Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, where an heiress comes into contact with a large alien, making her become a giant. The poster made $9,086 at Hake’s Auctions in March 2018. Photo courtesy of Hake’s Auctions.

The market for horror posters remains very strong, especially for key titles and key horror posters. “The earliest horror movie posters dominate the highest prices paid for posters, holding many records within different size categories,” Sheriff said. “Across all time periods, horror posters regularly sell for higher prices than their contemporary competition from other genres. This may not be the case when going up against Marilyn Monroe or James Bond, but if an average horror poster sale is compared to an average sale for a comedy or drama or action poster, it’s likely that the scary stuff sells for more.”

Taste-tempting vintage posters the toast of Jasper52 sale Oct. 24

Before the invention of the radio and television, businesses advertised their goods and services in print media. The most attractive means was posters—the bigger and brighter, all the better. Dozens of original 19th- and 20th-century posters are offered in a Jasper52 online auction that will be conducted Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Jose Belon original poster advertising St. Raphael quinquina, 78½ x 50¾ inches. Estimate: $2,500-$2,600. Jasper52 image

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5 First Editions and Scarce Posters That You Will Love

This weekend we’re conducting a trio of auctions featuring books and ephemera. Major attractions of the curated collections include signed first edition books and rare advertising posters. Let’s take a look at 5 standout items from these sales.

Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel Lonesome Dove is among the stars of the Literature and Editions Books Auction. The first state, first edition book is signed by the author on the front flyleaf.

Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove, signed first edition, first state, 1985, est. $700-$800


Though not a first, a 40th Anniversary Edition of To Kill a Mockingbird signed by author Harper Lee is certain to attract much attention.

Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird, 1999 40th anniversary edition signed by author, est. $400-$500


Memorable images by Annie Liebovitz, who began her illustrious career, as a staff photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, fill her book titled Photographs 1970-1990. Liebovitz signed the title page of this first edition, first printing coffee table book, which is included in the Art, History and Reference Books auction.

Also included in this auction is another desirable book, Louise Saunders’ Knave of Hearts, which is illustrated by Maxfield Parrish. This is the Charles Scribner’s Sons 1925 first edition in spiral binding. All plates are present, bright and in remarkable condition.

Louise Saunders, The Knave of Hearts, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925, first edition in spiral binding, est. $500-$600


More than a dozen advertising and event posters are included in the 19th-20th Century Historic Ephemera Pop Culture auction. A classic bus/streetcar-size poster advertising Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum is a stone lithograph. The 1940s poster by Otis Shepard, a highly regarded American illustrator and artist for the Wrigley family and the companies, depicts a healthful young couple at the beach.

Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum bus/streetcar poster, circa 1940s, est. $1,200-$1,500


Formula One racing fans will be keeping their eyes on a poster for the 1970 Monaco Grans Prix. Michael Turner’s color stone lithograph juxtaposes the beauty of sailing with the exhiliration of road course racing.

Monaco Grand Prix May 9-10 poster, 1970, est. $1,200-$1,500