The stunning three sheet movie poster for the lost 1926 Paramount big budget silent film The American Venus realized $35,850 to lead the day in Heritage Auctions’ July 25-26 Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction in Beverly Hills. The auction realized, in total, more than $1.45 million. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.
“Demand was steady and prices were, overall, quite good across the more than 1,300 lots we featured in this auction,” said Grey Smith, Director of Movie Posters at Heritage. “We saw a trifecta of focuses in this auction as collectors went after early Hollywood, Disney animation and Universal Horror. At the end of the day, we were all quite pleased with the solid results.”
The American Venus (Paramount, 1926) three sheet is a film that is now lost to history, minus a few trailers. What is known about it, however, is that the poster spectacularly features Louise Brooks, though this was only her second film appearance. She was relatively unknown at the time and her role in the film was very minor. The producers, however, obviously realized her star potential as they featured her exclusively on the poster. Brooks would go on to become one of the most iconic female stars of the late silent era.
“Brooks crafted a personal style that left an indelible mark on 1920s popular culture that’s still imitated today,” said Smith. “She achieved a cult status rarely garnered by entertainers of that time and is clearly a star that still resonates with collectors at the top of the hobby.”
Rare and early Disney posters always create a stir when they appear at auction and the presence of a 1932 United Artists one sheet for Disney’s The Wayward Canary, depicting Mickey and Minnie Mouse, set collectors buzzing on its way to a $26,920 final price realized. Released in November 1932, the same year that the Academy awarded Disney a special Oscar for his creation of a nationwide phenomenon, Mickey Mouse, this is a key addition to any top Disney collection.
Universal Horror posters are still the gold standard in movie posters and this auction boasted several prime pieces from the top films of the genre, including a beautiful pre-war 1935 Belgian one sheet for Bride of Frankenstein, James Whale’s sequel to his 1931 masterpiece Frankenstein that quickly became a classic in its own right, realizing $20,315 from a determined collector, while a 1943 one sheet for Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man — often cited as one of the best posters in the Universal horror cannon — was the subject of intense collector interest before finding a new home at $15,535.