A private collector paid a record $453,000 Saturday for a poster of the 1932 Boris Karloff classic film "The Mummy," spending more than twice the previous high mark for a movie poster, Sotheby's said.
The buyer, who identified himself only as a New York collector, outbid a second man as the cost of the rare poster - only two are known to exist - spiraled to more than four times its pre-sale estimate of up to $100,000, Sotheby's spokeswoman Kate Drury said."It was pretty unbelievable," Drury said of the spirited bidding. "They just kept going and going and going."
Several other bidders dropped out at $150,000 for the 41-inch-by-27-inch poster done 65 years ago by acclaimed Universal Studios advertising art director Kroly Grosz. The previous high price for a movie poster was $198,000 for Karloff's "Frankenstein," Drury said.
"It comes to life!" the poster promises, alongside a color drawing of a bandage-swathed Karloff, eyes closed, as the Mummy. Co-star Zita Johann is drawn posing outside the crypt that holds the creature.
The poster came from the collection of Todd Feiertag, a movie buff who began buying the artwork in the late '60s - paying between $2 and $5 per poster as a teenager in the New York suburbs.
Over the next 30 years, he assembled a formidable collection. The 375 lots put up for sale Saturday represented the largest single-owner group of movie posters ever to come to auction.
An assortment of other posters from his collection sold for well above their pre-sale estimates Saturday.
A poster for 1932's "Red-Headed Woman," featuring platinum blonde Jean Harlow with tinted hair, sold for $19,550. One of only two known existing copies, it was expected to bring between $10,000 to $15,000.
A poster from the Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman classic "Casablanca" brought $18,400, as did one for the Laurel & Hardy film "A Fine Mess." "Casablanca" was estimated at $9,000 to $12,000, while "A Fine Mess was expected to bring $5,000 to $7,000.
One other big-ticket item: A Porky Pig poster from the "Merrie Melodies" cartoons sold for $14,950, more than double its estimate.
The auction itself set a record for movie poster sales, bringing in a total of $1.3 million, Sotheby's said.