We love a classic movie poster, and if you do too, you might not want to know about Sotheby’s Original Film Posters Online auction this weekend - unless you've got several thousand dollars to burn. In that case, we've plucked out some of the most rare and valuable pieces of movie art Sotheby's has up for purchase, and as a bonus, we've asked Pontus Silfverstolpe (co-founder of Barnebys, the leading search engine for auction houses and dealers) to explain exactly what makes some of the priciest items so valuable.
KING KONG (1933) POSTER, FRENCH
Estimated value: 30,000 - 50,000 GBP
"King Kong (1933) is one of the most epic movies ever made. It’s the perfect blend of adventure, science fiction and horror and many people still rank the film as the ultimate monster movie. In fact, the gigantic gorilla Kong is considered to be the eighth wonder of the world – and the cinema audience couldn’t agree more. Willis O´Brien, the pioneer of special effects and stop-motion animation, astonished the audience, who had never seen anything like that before. People actually left the cinema in fear, thinking that creatures like King Kong existed in real life as well. The poster, which has been in the same French collection for over 20 years, is in a very good condition – which has a huge impact on the price."
TOP HAT (1935) POSTER, SWEDISH
Estimated value: 15,000 - 20,000 GBP
"Top Hat has gone down in film history as one of the most legendary musical movies ever made. Accompanied by Irving Berlin’s smashing soundtrack, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the dream couple on the dance floor, star in an unforgettable romantic comedy with dance scenes that still seem to be the best ever made. This poster was made specifically for the Swedish market: it’s printed in three sheets and was supposed to be pasted onto billboards. As a result, only unused versions would have survived in a condition like this one – which explains why it is in such an excellent condition."
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961) POSTER, US
Estimated value: 6,000 - 9,000 GBP
"Breakfast at Tiffany's, Audrey Hepburn's breakthrough, is based on Truman Capote's 1957 novel. It’s one of the world's most famous films and this poster is certainly a classic. The audience perceived Hepburn's undoubted beauty and challenging manner in the movie both as a caress and a box on the ear. Everything about the film is iconic: from the underlying novel and the soundtrack to the decadent New York lifestyle and Hepburn's brilliant interpretation of Holly Golightly. The impressive size of the poster is driving up the price even further – just imagine having it on the wall in a New York apartment…"
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) POSTER, US
Estimated value: 4,000 - 6,000 GBP
"The film, based on the life of T. E. Lawrence, became one of the greatest successes of British cinema ever. It not only won four BAFTA Awards, but was also nominated for ten Academy Awards – of which it won seven. Peter O'Toole, who is playing the main character, is taking up the poster’s central space. I specifically love the dynamic of the framed 'invisible' face in the center and the fiery caravan with horse and camel riders in the front. The condition of the poster is almost flawless, which is highly unusual. I’m not surprised that it’s expected to fetch up to £6,000."
NOTORIOUS / LES ENCHAINES (1946) POSTER, FRENCH
Estimated value: 10,000 - 15,000 GBP
"As a Swede, I’m kind of obliged to include this poster in my list of favorites. Notorious starred the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, who played alongside Cary Grant in this legendary spy movie, directed by the master of thrillers and horror movies, Alfred Hitchcock. The poster is simply a must-have for film buffs."
GILDA (1946) POSTER, US
Estimated value: 20,000 - 30,000 GBP
THE MALTESE FALCON / LE FAUCON MALTAIS (1941) POSTER, FRENCH
Estimated value: 18,000 - 24,000 GBP
2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) POSTER, US
THE SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) POSTER, JAPANESE
Estimated value: 7,000 - 10,000 GBP
THE WIZARD OF OZ / LE MAGICIEN D' OZ (1939) POSTER, FRENCH
Estimated value: 8,000 - 12,000 GBP
Check out all of the posters (and, starting today, place your bids) here.