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Whyte's announces auctions of movie posters and Rock & Pop memorabilia in Dublin
The presale estimated value of the collection is in the region of €100,000.

DUBLIN.- The first ever auction in Ireland devoted entirely to vintage cinema posters will be held in Dublin on Saturday 31 May. Over 800 posters, collected from the 1940s to the 1970s, mainly from cinemas around Ireland, will come under the hammer in Whyte’s saleroom on Molesworth Street. The presale estimated value of the collection is in the region of €100,000 and individual posters are valued from €80 up to €5,000 each.

Many of the big names are represented including The Wizard Of Oz [lot 2] at €800 to €1,000, Gone With The Wind [lot 4] at only €200 to €300 as it is a 1970s reissue, and On The Waterfront, [lot 28], Marlon Brando’s finest film, which won him an Oscar, at €500 to €700. The 1950s and 1960s were known to filmgoers for epics such as Ben Hur, [lot 38] which won 11 Oscars in 1959, at €200 to €300, Cleopatra [lot 49] in which Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor began their tempestuous on- and off- screen relationship in 1963, valued here at €500-700, Lawrence Of Arabia [lot 147], estimate €1,500 to €2,000, which in 1962 launched the career of the recently deceased Irish-born Peter O’Toole, as well as that of Omar Sharif, who is in the news lately and who went on to make another epic in 1965, Doctor Zhivago [lot 50], expected to make €200 to €300.

The late ‘60s and the early ‘70s produced some outstanding movies, and sought after posters, such as Easy Rider [lot 54] in 1969, value €400 to €600, Midnight Cowboy [lot 55], also in ’69, €150 to €200, and Jack Nicholson vehicles such as Chinatown [lot 58] in 1974, value €400 to €600, and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest [lot 59], expected to make €200 to €300.

Comedy series such as Abbott and Costello in the 1940s and early 1950s are hugely popular in the US and a rare poster of Abbott and Costello Meet The Ghosts [lot 65] is expected to sell for €2,000 to €3,000. Others in the series, [lots 67 to 72], which had cinema-goers rolling in the aisles 60 years ago, are valued from €150 to €300. The equally side-splitting Marx Brothers also feature here [lots 61 to 63] including A Night in Casablanca [lot 63] at €200 to €300.

Bob Hope and Bing Crosby are famous for their “Road To” series, and this collection has three, including the 1941 Road to Zanzibar [lot 74] which accidentally typecast the duo and effectively secured the series. It was not intended as a Hope and Crosby vehicle or as a sequel to Road To Singapore, but the refusal of Fred McMurray and George Burns to star in the movie led to cinema history. The poster is estimated at €200 to €300.

The famous British series of “Carry On” movies also find favour with collectors as did the saucy romps with Irish and English audiences – Carry on up the Khyber [lot 309] is estimated at €200 to €300. Also peculiarly English were the original series of St. Trinian’s movies, and included here is Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s [lot 306], estimated here at €300 to €500.

Musicals were often box office hits and Whyte’s are showing some of the best at this auction, including the 1942 hit, Holiday Inn [lot 91] with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire and featuring the Oscar winning song, “White Christmas”, valued at €150 to €200, My Fair Lady [lot 96], €400 to €600, The Sound of Music [lot 96], €300 to €500, and its forerunner The Trapp Family In America [lot 95], €150 to €200.

The appeal of crime and action movies continues and posters for these include The Thomas Crown Affair [lot 187], €150 to €200, The Italian Job [lot 188], €500 to €700, The French Connection [lot 191], €250 to €300, and The Godfather [lot 196], €300 to €500.

Ian Whyte, managing director of Whyte’s, says the most sought after and valuable posters today tend to be “Hitchcock, Horror and James Bond”. Certainly the highest expectations in this auction are for Hitchcock’s 1954 Rear Window [206] at €3,000 to €5,000, the 1945 classic House of Dracula [lot 224], €1,500 to €2,000, and the third James Bond movie in 1964, Goldfinger [lot 215] at €1,000 to €1,500.

Science fiction is also much sought after, particularly the highly imaginative and dramatically illustrated posters of the 1950s such as Rocket Ship X-M [lot 255], €300 to €500, and Forbidden Planet [lot 259], €800 to €1,200 (and worth considerably more if the Irish distributor hadn’t painted over the scantily clad girl in the picture to avoid censure from the clergy). More recently Star Wars [lot 277] is expected to make €1,000 to €1,500 because of the huge demand for the first printing of this desirable poster.

Talking of censorship there are many examples in this collection including the iconic illustration of Marilyn Monroe with her skirt blown up over her legs in The Seven Year Itch, but prudishly and crudely painted over by the fearful Irish film distributor on the orders of the film censor. This poster [lot 81] would normally fetch up to €1,000 but the defacement reduces its potential to €200 to €300, unless you are a specialist collector of “that kind of thing” as Father Ted would put it! And if you are a student of Irish censorship in the 1940s to the 1970s then lot 317B contains 32 posters with painted over bikinis and low cut dresses, and offending words excised, which will illustrate and greatly improve a PhD thesis on Irish mores of the period!

There weren’t many Irish made movies in the 1940s to 1960s but a couple are to be found here including the very rare 1957 Professor Tim [lot 315] starring Ray McAnally and “The Abbey Theatre Players” , which should exceed its €200 to €300 guide. There is a good range of posters of films made in Ireland including, of course, The Quiet Man [lot 314], much of which was filmed at Cong, County Mayo in 1951. “In previous auctions” Ian Whyte says, “we sold props and photographs from this film and received bids from all over the world, including Japan, where The Quiet Man has a cult status.”

Another interesting movie poster with an Irish connection is Dublin Nightmare [lot 316]. Made in 1958 during the IRA Border Campaign it topically depicts a bank raid carried out by “Irish nationalists”. An English production, it has some Irish casting including David Kelly. The estimate is €150 to €200.

So who is going to buy all these quite large – 30 by 40 inches – posters? Ian Whyte says “ apart from specialists who collect them like stamps or coins, we expect to find many who will buy for sentimental reasons – a memory of their first date, a childhood memento, or simply their all-time favourite movie”. “Some movie buffs will go for a film that is critically acclaimed and art lovers will choose posters for their aesthetic attribute; a well designed original poster can be as attractive on a wall as an oil painting, and one or two hung in a home are attractive conversation pieces”. Posters have proved to be a good investment too, with prices tripling in the last 10 to 15 years.

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