A film memorabilia collector paid $1.2 million for nine rare and early film posters, including the world’s highest-valued poster of the 1927 film Metropolis, in a bankruptcy auction in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Bundled with Metropolis were posters from King Kong, The Invisible Man and Arsenic and Old Lace, as well as the original painting of Elvis Presley used for the Jailhouse Rock poster and several other pieces of memorabilia
Ralph DeLuca, who owns New Jersey-based film memorabilia company Movie Archives Inc, won the bidding against three others in the court auction.
Bidding for the lot of posters started at $700,000. DeLuca beat out memorabilia powerhouse Heritage Auctions.
The Metropolis poster, the crown jewel of the collection, was purchased by California collector Kenneth Schachter for a record $690,000 in a 2005 private sale. But he was forced to sell the poster along with eight others after declaring bankruptcy.
Illustrated by German Heinz Schulz-Neudamm, the poster depicted the film’s dystopian future with towering, faceless skyscrapers and jagged script.
There are only three other surviving copies of the poster — one rumored to belong to Leonardo DiCaprio, one to the Museum of Modern Art and the other to the Austrian National Library museum.