Sotheby's September 2019 Auction - The Classics Shine…

Bidding on the second ‘Original Film Posters Online’ sale of the year closed at Sotheby’s on the 5th September, with the one hundred and ninety lots returning a total auction value of £393,000. That’s nearly £500,000 with Sotheby’s 25% buyer’s premium.

The results painted an interesting picture. Some lots (such as the Pinnochio poster from Disney’s original 1940 release shown below), surprised, failing to reach their low estimates.


An original movie poster from 1940 for Disney's Pinnochio 


But, at the other end of the spectrum, it was a different story. The usual suspects drove the market, many exceeding their high estimates by some margin.

Here are some highlights. (All images are owned by Sotheby’s.)

Hepburn Shows Her Class…

Audrey Hepburn and Holly Golightly continue to cast their spell. This stunning U.S. ‘six sheet’ poster (a massive 81 in x 81 in), with iconic illustration by Robert McGinnis smashed through its estimate (£6,000 - £9,000) closing at £21,250 (circa £26,500 with premium).

We predict that in a few years, that may look a very smart buy.


A US 6 sheet movie poster for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's by Robert McGinnis


Three years after Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hepburn brought Eliza Doolittle to the big screen in the most expensive film shot (up to that time) in the U.S.

My Fair Lady would go on to win eight Oscars and the beautiful movie posters continue to delight.

Perhaps the best-known illustration (as it was used for the U.S. one sheet poster) is by the legendary Bob Peak. This example pushed through a very reasonable estimate (£600 - £900) to return £1500 (~ £1875 with premium).


A US movie poster for the film My Fair Lady by Bob Peak


Even more beautiful are the Italian posters with artwork by Giuliano Nistri. This stunning example (55 in x 39 in and linen-backed) brought in £2,750 (~ £3500 with premium), despite an estimate of only £800 - £1200.

Again, we think this will prove a very good buy.


An Italian movie poster for the film My Fair Lady


The Master of Suspense…

Over forty years from his final movie, Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock KBE’s films continue to amaze and influence. Interest in his movie posters also continues to grow.

We spent part of the Summer in St Ives, where the sea gulls are notorious for stealing ice-creams and fish and chips. Perhaps those girls were the inspiration for Cornish author Daphne du Maurier’s 1952 story, and, Hitchcock’s stunning 1963 film.

This U.S. half sheet movie poster, signed by Tippi Hedren, broke its estimate (£1000 - £1600) at £2500 (£3000 with premium).


An original movie poster for the Hitchcock film The Birds


Apparently Hitchcock refered to Cary Grant as the only actor he truly enjoyed working with. Over twenty years they worked on four films together, each a masterpiece of film-making.

Sotheby’s auction included a 1965 re-release one sheet for “To Catch A Thief” that sprinted through its high estimate (£1200) to close at £6000 (£7200 with premium).


An original movie poster for the Hitchcock film To Catch A Thief


Plus a re-release one-sheet for one of our favourite films “North By Northwest” which fared even better, closing at £9,375 (£11,250 with premium) against an estimate of £1200 -£1800.


An original movie poster for the Hitchcock film North by Northwest

Other Notable Results...

James Bond posters continued to command a premium, with a US window card for Goldfinger closing at £2250 (~£2700) and a US insert for You Only Live Twice with artwork by Frank McCarthy reaching £2125 (~£2550).

An original movie poster for the James Bond film Goldfinger  An original movie poster for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice


As always, original movie posters for the Star Wars films continue to rise. A beautiful 'three sheet' movie poster (81 in x 41 in) for Star Wars shattered it's 'come buy me' estimate of £1000 - £1600 to close at £11,250 (£13,500 with premium). A half-sheet for the same film closed at £4,750 (~£5,700) against a similar estimate (£1000 - £1500).


An original movie poster for the film Star Wars  An original movie poster for the film Star Wars


One final result highlights that movie posters for iconic films from the 1990s are increasing in value. A UK quad for Danny Boyle's era-defining Trainspotting ran in at £1375 (~£1650) against an estimate of only £200 - £300.


An original movie poster for the film Trainspotting


All in all, another strong set of results from Sotheby's that confirm that appreciation for original vintage movie posters continues to grow.

Phew. :-)


Adam and the Art of the Movies team.

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