Collectors everywhere coveted the striking and extremely rare Insert Movie Poster for Fritz Lang’s groundbreaking 1927 sci-fi classic Metropolis – from the collection of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett – in the $1.27 million Friday, March 19 Signature Movie Poster Auction at Heritage Auctions. In the end, however, it came down to just two devoted collectors vying for the cinematic treasure, which ultimately realized a solid final price of $47,800. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“This great poster is not only a wonderful piece of film history,” said Grey Smith, Director of Movie Posters at Heritage Auctions, “it’s also a fabulous piece of graphic art and well worthy of claiming the top spot in this auction.”
Also from the Kirk Hammett Collection, a 1933 oversized Swedish version poster for RKO’s landmark King Kong realized $28,680 amidst some spirited bidding. The brilliant colors, amazing action and a dominant image of Kong himself, reminiscent of its American three sheet counterpart, makes this rare poster especially beloved by collectors of the giant ape, especially considering that it’s not likely to be seen at auction again anytime soon.
Another poster that continues to see considerable popularity when it appears in Heritage Movie poster auctions is the Style B one sheet for Columbia’s 1946 Gilda, featuring a resplendent image of Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the sensual spouse of an Argentinean crime lord. The poster brought $28,680.
One of the great surprises of the auction came in the form of a Paramount 1933 Style A one sheet for the pre-Code classic She Done Him Wrong, one of Mae West’s most famous films, based on a play the famous vamp wrote herself. West’s performance as Lady Lu remains, to this day, a virtuoso accomplishment of wit and innuendo that garnered the film an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, as well as devotion from fans more than 75 years after its release. The poster, which came into the auction with a $7,000 estimate rapidly outpaced that prediction and, with several determined bidders, rose to nearly three times that amount to finally find a new home at $19,120.
Collectors of important early horror lobby cards are a dedicated bunch, and all eyes were on several important pieces in this auction, especially a nearly-impossible to obtain lobby card from Goldwyn’s 1920 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, one of the great early masterpieces of American cinematic horror. The piece well exceeded its $12,000+ pre-auction estimate to reach $17,925. A 1932 MGM Freaks lobby card, exceedingly rare and one of the best that has come to a Heritage Auction, did not disappoint as it exceeded estimates to bring $15,535 for a determined collector, and a lobby card from Universal’s 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein, always a title sure to draw major collector interest, did not disappoint as it brought $13,743.