film posters

Lights, Camera, Auction: The vintage film posters going under the hammer at Sotheby’s

Highlights include large scale original posters of King Kong (1933), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and Batman (1966)...

Back by popular demand, Original Film Posters Online returns to Sotheby’s this month with an action-packed offering of vintage movie posters including blockbusters, sci-fi classics and animation. With something to excite all film enthusiasts, the sale will be open for bidding online from 23 August to 5 September.

Movie art has proved to be a highly coveted commodity over the years, and interest in vintage posters continues to grow. The 189 lots of posters and film memorabilia, dating from the ’30s through to the ’60s, is currently on view at Sotheby’s London gallery until 2 September. 

bullitt film posters
Bullitt Poster (1968) Starting bid: £700

This current selection has been curated from several sources, including American, French, Italian, English and Japanese collectors, as well as pieces originating from India. French posters for King Kong (1933) and The Maltese Falcon (1941) are expected to fetch bids in the region of $60,000 and $30,000, respectively.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Estimate: £800 - £1,200

While most other King Kong posters depict Kong on the Empire State Building, artist Roland Coudon chose to capture him being presented to the public in a Broadway theatre as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, a pinnacle moment of the film. The Maltese Falcon (or Le Faucon Maltaise) was not released in France until 1947, after World War II, and French designer Jacques Bonneaud placed images of the leading cast members inside the ever-elusive falcon on the poster art.

At the September 2018 Sotheby’s auction of 164 rare original film posters, history was made when the 1896 poster advertising one of the world’s first-ever movie screenings, for the Lumière Brothers’ Cinématographe Lumière, sold for $195,000. The poster was illustrated by French artist Henri Brispot.

the birds poster
The Birds (1963) Signed by Tippi Hedren. Estimate: £1,000 - £1,600

While it may not earn as much as Cinématographe Lumière, another poster of historical significance, for Bryan Foy’s Lights of New York (the 1928 Warner Bros crime drama that marked the first all-talking feature film), is also up for sale in this auction.

Paddles at the ready!

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Further Reading