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The W.E. Berry auction at Ewbank's took three times its highest estimate of £55,000
Original hand-painted artwork for Creature From The Black Lagoon. Estimate £2,000 to £4,000, hammer price £22,000.

LONDON.- The W.E. Berry auction at Ewbank’s took three times its highest estimate of £55,000 when the 396 lots sold for £165,000 on February 28.

Top lot was the artwork for the 1950s horror film, Creature From the Black Lagoon, which sold for £22,000 against a £2,000-4,000 estimate guide way behind to sell at £22,000.

The sale saw original artwork for films and well-known circuses dispersed. Bertram Mills, Billy Smart’s and Chipperfield’s all featured. Such was the competition for lots that the sale last for seven hours.

Other highlights included artwork for the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers, which sold for £8,000 against hopes of £1,000-1,500 and The Titfield Thunderbolt, another Ealing comedy, which took £1,900 against an estimate of £800-1,200.

The 1922 silent film, Travelin’ On, a Western with artwork pitched at £150-250, saw it rise to at £1,700. Another early silent film from 1927, The Last Outlaw, starring Gary Cooper, had artwork with the same estimate selling at £1,600. Another film with the same estimate, The Long Arm starring Jack Hawkins, saw a £1,000 winning bid for its artwork.

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1937 thriller starring Nova Pilbeam, Young and Innocent, had a slightly higher guide of £200-400, but attracted bidding all the way up to £4,400, while artwork for Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy, the 1955 horror-comedy, had been expected to fetch just £80-120 but went to £2,200. Kiss of Fire, also from 1955, and starring Jack Palance, had been expected to sell for £70-100 but took £1,000.

Among the circus-inspired lots, those created for Bertram Mills did especially well, two in particular: Koringa, the only female fakir in the world, made £2,200 against a guide of £100-150, as did the 1930 promotion for The 3 Cordonas, featuring acrobats who appeared at the Mills circus at Olympia.

A 1950s act, the Giraffe-necked Women from Upper Burma – another Bertram Mills classic – took £1,900 against a £100-150 estimate.

Bidding is thought to have come from film fans, circus fans, those chasing a memento from their youth, serious collectors and museums.

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