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The Metropolis poster – a new world record at $690,000 (£390,000).

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The price betters the premium-inclusive $453,500 paid for a copy of The Mummy (1932) at Sotheby's New York in 1997, which was claimed as a world record price for any vintage poster.

Fritz Lang's seminal work, which cost a colossal eight million Deutsch Marks and took a year and a half to film, is regarded as the first full-length science fiction film. The 1926 epic is set in the year 2000, when society is made up of a gigantic slave force governed by a small capitalist elite, though Metropolis is perhaps most famous for its cityscape dominated by monumental skyscrapers and gargantuan steel structures.

The vision of the towering metropolis of the future is reflected in the arresting poster designed by the painter and graphic artist Heinz Schulz-Neudamm (1899-1969). The Art Deco poster with its cold sepia tones is undoubtedly his most famous work.

Both Hitler and Goebbels loved the film Metropolis and after seeing it asked Fritz Lang to take charge of the National Socialist Cinema. However, Lang left Germany for Paris during the early 1930s and from there went to America where he continued his successful film career until the 1960s.

Only four known copies of the Metropolis poster, which measures 6ft 11in x 3ft 1in (2.10m x 94cm), are known. A copy can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Berlin Film Museum is home to another, while a third poster sold by Sotheby's New York for a premium-inclusive $357,500 in 2000 is in a private collection. The Reel Poster Gallery, established in 1991 by co-owners Tony Nourmand and Bruce Marchant, acquired their superbly preserved example from a private collector who had owned it for six years.

"The perfect movie posters combine a great film, great design and great rarity… and this is one of them," Mr Nourmand told ATG.

Tony Nourmand is selling his 15-year collection of 'exploitation' poster art at Christie's South Kensington on December 8.