A previously unknown 1928 Mickey Mouse cartoon poster topped Heritage Auction’s Nov. 29-30 ‘Vintage Movie Poster Signature Auction’ by fetching $101,575 (£63,291) in Dallas. The poster shows a grinning Mickey – dubbed ‘The World’s Funniest Cartoon Character’ – waving his gloved hand. Auction house director Grey Smith called the poster “an important piece of pop culture treasure”, adding that it was likely to be the only Mickey Mouse poster created until 1930, when Columbia Pictures started distributing Disney cartoons.
With almost 1,200 lots to choose from, the auction had rarities from every genre including horror, science fiction, film noir, Western, Alfred Hitchcock, musicals, comedy and many more. Considered a visual triumph and one of the rarest three sheets in the hobby, the 1933 poster for King Kong gives justice to the monster ape. Standing 40-1/4” wide by 79” high, it features Kong on the side of the Empire State Building, clutching Fay Wray and snarling at the world below. It was expected to bring $80,000+.
“Posters from King Kong are rare to begin with, however far fewer examples of this style B poster are known to exist and rarely have they ever been offered at auction,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Movie Posters at Heritage. “This poster has all the details necessary to qualify as the top of the collecting hobby. This was the opportunity of a lifetime for a top collector to acquire this gem.”
Another monster movie poster sending shivers down collector spines was a rare title lobby card for the 1931 Universal classic Dracula. The card is unrestored and represents the second time Heritage has offered a title card to this famous film. It is just one of 11 cards from an important lobby card collection, which also includes a hard-to-find title card from Son of Frankenstein (estimate $12,000).
The group of lobby cards is just one of the top-of-market collections represented. From the Leonard and Alice Maltin Collection comes a one sheet from the 1938 Three Stooges comedy Tassels in the Air.
“One sheets for the Stooges short subjects are among the rarest and most sought after within the hobby and the constant demand has pushed the value to record levels,” Smith said.
From the collection of the late Crowell Havens Beech, a major movie poster collector and dealer, comes a one-of-a-kind Mickey Mouse cartoon poster from 1928 – the earliest known poster of the world’s most famous mouse. After buying it nearly 25 years ago, Beech secreted the poster away from everyone – even his family. It was expected to bring $20,000 but sold for nearly $100,000.