Hidden stash of rare 1930s movie posters brings $219,000 at auction
A collection of rare movie posters which spent over 60 years hidden beneath a floor have sold for $219,000 at Heritage Auctions.
The rare, and in some cases unique posters were discovered in York County, Pennsylvania by the Basta family, whilst renovating a period home. They had been used as lining beneath a linoleum kitchen floor, and remained in remarkable condition despite being walked over for more than half a century.
"You always hear about these stories and I never believed it would happen to our family," said house owner Robert Basta following the auction. "We are beyond thrilled with the results – we feel truly blessed."
Amongst the stash of 17 posters were five which experts had never seen before, making them the only-known examples in the world.
The unique posters included a Style D one sheet poster for Tarzan The Ape Man (MGM, 1932), which sold for $83,650, a one sheet poster for the 1932 MGM Laurel and Hardy short Any Old Port, which sold for $8,962; and a one sheet poster for Clark Gable's first starring role in Sporting Blood (MGM, 1931) which fetched $2,987.
Further notable lots from the collection, dubbed the The Movie Posters Under the Floor Find, included a stunning poster for the 1932 MGM Jean Harlow bad girl drama Red Headed Woman, which sold for $77,675, and a one sheet poster for Doctor X (First National, 1932), which sold for $23,900.
"Collectors and historians didn't even know some of these posters existed before this discovery," Smith said. "Rare finds are still out there and you never know when a missing piece of history will be filed in."
The Heritage Vintage Poster auction in Dallas achieved a final result of over $2 million, with leading lots including an Italian two-foglio poster for Casablanca (Warner Brothers, 1948) which brought $95,600 and a window card for the horror classic Frankenstein (Universal, 1931) which fetched $89,625.
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