Vintage movie posters from some of Hollywood classic movies and featuring notable stars such as Sir Laurence Olivier, John Wayne and Faye Fonda have been discovered after being used as carpet underlay for more than 70 years. While completing renovations on a late former Cardiff cinema owners property, two builders discovered the huge collection of 120 posters in an almost perfect condition.
The perfectly preserved posters, with the biggest, measuring 7ft 2in by 6ft 5in and feature actors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Laurence Olivier, Henry Fonda and John Wayne.
It wasn’t just the sheer volume of them that was impressive, but the condition was fantastic considering their age and the imposing size of the twelve-sheet posters.”
Included in the find was Alfred Hitchcock’s second Hollywood feature film, Foreign Correspondent released in 1940. The film is set on the eve of World War II, where a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.
Also included is Fire Over England, the first British film to have its premiere in Los Angeles and the first to pair together Hollywood stars Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in 1937.
Among the collection are classic horror names Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, who starred together in Black Friday (1940).
There is also John Wayne’s breakthrough film Stagecoach which was released in 1939.
The find of movie and bills posters were once used at the New Theatre, Capitol, Empire and Olympia cinemas between 1936 and 1941.
They were found in the home of the cinema owner in the nearby seaside town of Penarth by the builders back in 1985. The builders, who do not want to be named, stored them for 22 years and took them to Cardiff auctioneers Rogers Jones & Co after hearing the firm had sold a poster featuring the Beatles for £28,000.
“Valuing the posters was nearly impossible because no comparisons in terms of titles, condition and size of some them had ever come to market.”
The collection will be auctioned by Rogers Jones & Co who have been unable to set guide prices due to their rarity and said it will be difficult to predict what the posters will achieve as no comparisons have ever come to the market.
Although the posters were produced in great numbers at the time, many were destroyed after the film finished its run so they can be very rare and, due to their fragile nature, posters in good condition are even harder to find.
Auctioneer Ben Rogers Jones said: “It wasn’t just the sheer volume of them that was impressive, but the condition was fantastic considering their age and the imposing size of the twelve-sheet posters. The builders explained to me that the house they renovated had been previously owned by a local cinema owner who had died. Valuing the posters was nearly impossible because no comparisons in terms of titles, condition and size of some them had ever come to market.”
The auction is scheduled to take place on 15th September where the posters will be separated in 70 separate lots.
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