They are some of the films represented in a huge array of posters discovered 32 years ago during the renovation of a house in Penarth, south Wales, when two local builders found the assortment of cinema ephemera, also including bill-posters for various local venues.
Most of the items had been flattened - as they were used as underlay for the carpets. Many have been folded over multiple times and the colours are remarkably vivid for their age.
The posters are coming to auction on September 15 at Cardiff saleroom Rogers Jones &Co. The two now retired builders have ”decided finally to get around to doing something about them” after they had been stored away in their lock-up for so long.
The collection is split into 70 lots and estaimates range from £30-50 to £100-150. Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said valuing the posters was nearly impossible because “no comparisons in terms of titles, condition and size of some them had ever come to market”.
He added: “It wasn’t just the sheer volume of them that was impressive but the condition was fantastic considering their age and the imposing size of the twelve-sheet posters - these advertised the films on the outside of the buildings.
“Once we unfolded them on the floor of the saleroom, the sight was amazing. The builders explained to me that the house they renovated had been previously owned by a local cinema owner who had died.
“They are so evocative of another era of lifestyle, culture and entertainment - many of the stars such as Boris Karloff, John Wayne, Basil Rathbone and Alfred Hitchcock for instance where at the start of their career. One of the films is John Wayne’s breakthrough film and Hitchcock’s second film.”
Rogers Jones & Co scored a £28,000 hammer price success for another poster recently, but advertising a musical rather than cinematic event. It promoted an August 12, 1963, concert at the Odeon in Llandudno featuring The Beatles, coming just as the Fab Four were being launched on the road to superstardom.
Boris Karloff and horror films are often sought-after subjects for cinema poster collectors. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula and the Bride of Frankenstein will attract high bids.
A record for a Casablanca movie poster was set at the end of last month when an Italian example sold for a premium-inclusive $478,000 (£361,800) at US saleroom Heritage Auctions.
Other popular options include posters promoting 1962 James Bond outing Dr No, the first 007 film, and The War of the Worlds 1953 British quad film poster.
Despite their ubiquity at the time, many such posters were destroyed after the film finished its run, so can be surprisingly rare. They are also fragile of course, so poster sin good condition are worth more.