Consumers spent cautiously in the recent holiday shopping season. And that was evident at an auction sale of vintage movie posters conducted a week before Christmas at Swann Galleries in New York. Only 84 of the 139 lots offered were sold, many at prices below presale estimates.
The sale, dubbed Monsters and Maidens, brought in a total of $80,315 (not including the 20% buyer’s premium), a little more than half the minimum presale appraisal. The highest price realized was $15,000 for a 1933 French poster for “King Kong.” While most posters for the film show Kong clutching Fay Wray atop the Empire State Building, the French version depicts the audience’s (and Wray’s) first view of the ape on Skull Island. Despite the rarity of the image, the poster fell far short of the presale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the auction was the failure of a 1954 “Creature from the Black Lagoon” poster to sell. The sheet for this early 3D movie was estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
A 1955 Italian poster for the sequel, “Revenge of the Creature,” sold for $3,400, besting its estimate of $2,000-$3,000. It was one of only six lots to exceed its appraisal — and proving in this one instance that “Revenge” was its own reward.