When Anthony Duggan died two years ago at the age of 63, the Everyman cinema chain placed a replica Oscar in every one of its foyers with his name on it to celebrate the life of Londons greatest film fan.
Now Ewbanks Auctions
is to hold the first of a number of auctions to disperse Anthonys unique collection of movie posters worth up to £100,000 and all collected as gifts from cinemas around the capital over several decades in their Movie Posters sale on August 23.
Born in 1954 and growing up in Uxbridge, the former London Underground electricians love affair with the silver screen started early and soon became the abiding passion of his life alongside that for his family.
Starting at the age of 16, Anthony would visit the cinema up to 200 times a year to catch his favourite films, from action adventures to thrillers, horror and comedies.
His wife Helen tells how, even when she first met him in 1980, his room at his parents house was adorned with film posters.
We were married for 35 years and his passion for film never abated for a moment, she said. He was a very outgoing and engaging personality and became very well known among cinema managers all around London, from Hampstead to Canary Wharf.
Anthony became such a familiar figure among cinema staff that when the films changed each week, they would automatically put the previous weeks promotional posters aside for him to collect. In the end he gathered around 2000 rare and striking posters.
So many people adored him and his passion shone through, said Helen, who explained that every Thursday, when the weekly changeover of films at the London cinemas took place, Anthony would leave home at about 10am and take in three or four of the latest releases before returning at midnight.
His passion for cinema made him the ultimate collector, said Helen. He even collected cinema memorabilia. In fact, when we first met, I worked as an usherette and my family used to joke that what he was really after was my torch.
Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns like The Good, The Bad and The Ugly were among his favourites, but he had a particular soft spot for the 1999 Italian film Cinema Paradiso, which charts the boyhood memories of a filmmaker and his growing passion for cinema.
Because he loved films so much, his daughter Fern had a series of mini Oscar statuettes made to hand out to those who attended his funeral in 2017. Each had Anthonys name on it and a number of them now reside in the foyers of the chain of Everyman cinemas.
Everyman was his favourite and the managing director still calls me every now and then to see how I am, says Helen.
Ewbanks Auctions first dispersal from the Anthony Duggan collection takes place in its Movie Posters sale of 250 lots in Surrey on August 23.
Topping the bill from the ultimate film goer and collector are three Star Wars posters, two valued as high as £1500 each. Both from 1977 and the first film of the Star Wars franchise, each of the quad posters is very rare, but for different reasons. The first was issued when the film was initially released in the UK and features the main characters, but not as the actors who played them. However, once the film was released, it was felt that the depiction of the characters should more closely resemble the films actors and so this version of the poster was discontinued.
The second poster is the famous depiction of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, with co-stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing, but again it is a rarity because it was released before the Academy Awards the film was nominated for 11 and won 7 that year and so there is no mention of the Oscars on it.
The third lot is one of the rarest in existence today. Again from Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977, it is a set of four UK Double Crown cinema posters used to promote the film and carries hopes here of £800-1200.
Other Star Wars rarities are expected to sell for prices ranging from around £300 up to £800, including one used as a teaser for the third film of the original franchise when it went under its original title of Revenge of the Jedi.
Additional highlights include a quad film poster for the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever at £300-500), another for the hit 1986 comedy Ferris Buellers Day Off, at £200-400, and yet another for the 1960 classic Spartacus (£150-250).
Comedy and sci-fi also feature among the top lots, with a colourful set of images combining in a one-sheet poster for Carry on Screaming of 1966, pitched at £300-500, and a British quad for A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), at £200-400.
A strong run of posters for the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns includes The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) and For A Few Dollars More (1965), each at £200-400, while Steve McQueen highlights feature a poster for The Getaway (1979), each at £200-400.
Whether its Star Wars, the Bond franchise, action films, horror or westerns, this sale has it all for film buffs, those who enjoy retro design and people who simply want something highly decorative and interesting to hang on their wall at a competitive price, says Ewbanks specialist Alastair McCrea.
Movie posters are one of the hottest tickets when it comes to collecting these days and this collection, because of its origins and associations, offers more rarities than most. It is one of the most impressive catalogues I have seen on the subject.