Author Topic: Berwick Discovery: The Biggest find of early movie posters in recent history  (Read 222475 times)

Offline ddilts399

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I cant believe those went that high. What if a restorer cannot even get the things apart. I would imagine the high bidder has more money than they need and 16K is like an evening out for them.


Offline Louie D.

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Harry, I haven't seen it in some years, but it was a decent movie. there is also a Bette Davis version called the Satan Met a Lady in 1936 which sort of rewrites the plot some

now.. who wants to join me in a war with Hammett Hater, CSM

 gun1 gun2

I'm always into starting a flame war, but since I don't know where CSM stands on linenbacking (http://www.allposterforum.com/index.php/topic,2092.0.html), I have no jumping off point.  ;D

Offline CSM

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Harry, I haven't seen it in some years, but it was a decent movie. there is also a Bette Davis version called the Satan Met a Lady in 1936 which sort of rewrites the plot some

now.. who wants to join me in a war with Hammett Hater, CSM

 gun1 gun2

Psssh...'Maltese Falcon' sounds like the kind of title an alcoholic, former Pinkerton Detective would come up with.  Oh wait a minute...
Chris

Offline CSM

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I'm always into starting a flame war, but since I don't know where CSM stands on linenbacking (http://www.allposterforum.com/index.php/topic,2092.0.html), I have no jumping off point.  ;D

I do know where I stand with idiot auctioneers attempting their own amateur restoration/investigation techniques!

These are finite resources afterall people  :P
Chris

Offline Harry Caul

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I'm glad y'all enjoyed this write up! 

For some of you old timers, when was the last time something like this happened?  I know there was some sort of fabled New Zealand horror find, but I think those were smaller (if more valuable) posters like inserts and half sheets.  IIRC those were also pulled out of some walls.  When was that find anyway?  Do you know of more finds?  Especially of one-sheets?  That is what I was most surprised about with this lot.  LC and WC, yes.  Inserts and HSs, maybe.  But, 30-50 one sheets from 1931... are you kidding me?

Also, either the titles were cherry picked, or they were more consistent with putting out good films back then.  Pretty much all the titles that are visible were either from fairly popular films or were at least done by important directors (Hawks, Ford, etc...).  If I found a lot of 50 pre-50s 1-sheets, I would probably expect a few to be worth some money.  If they were from the 60s-70s, I would hope that maybe 1 or 2 might be worth something.  If it was from the 80s+ I would assume they were probably all crap!  :P  Maybe the theater this stash came from only played bigger films or something...
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 02:34:34 PM by Harry Caul »

Offline MoviePosterBid.com

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Harry.. I'll let others comment on the other deals, though those of us who have been around a long time remember lots of such deals in posters and comics

also, the reason there are top titles is that the theatre was probably a "first run" house

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Offline 110x75

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I never get tired of reading this:

Many of you know the story that took place in Provost, Canada. A few have seen actual pieces from that famous find but many of us have never heard the legend. Below is the story of the Royal Theater Find told by author (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KQV7182VL._SS500_.jpg) Jon Warren, himself.




The Royal Theater Collection -- Jon R. Warren
--------------------------------------------------------

Kirby, Sol Candell, Bruce, Morris and (if he reads MPT) Todd will have fun contributing to this thread and reminiscing about this great find.

In 1990 or 91, can't remember now, a group of investors and I purchased what has come to be called the Canadian Collection for $320,000 (or somewhere around there, something over $300,000 but I don't recall the exact amount).

I flew up there, inspected the collection, and paid the cashier's check to THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT!

The collection was a matter of legal dispute over who owned the posters...so the collection was sold and, pending the outcome of the court, the proceeds were to be paid to the winner of the argument.

In a small town in Canada named Provost there once was a theater called The Royal Theater (what a great name!). The posters found there truly were royal.

The theater had been in the family since the 1920s, and in the late 1980s it had been sold to a new owner who was renovating it to be turned into a video store.

In the process of tearing out walls, lo and behold, a closet was found with a door in the floor which led down into a long-lost basement. In the basement were piles upon piles of old movie posters, dating from about 1929 and going through about 1950. From this time period, virtually every film that had been released was represented by multiple one sheets, lobby card sets, and (oddly enough) mini window cards. Even more astounding was the condition of the posters. Because of the dark and dry and cool conditions, the posters were in simply unbelievable condition (except for those that had what we called rat piss on them, yellow streaks of...well...rat piss). Pristine white borders without the slightest trace of yellowing. Brilliant colors that practically glowed. And the smell...ahh that faint musty scent...

Stacks and stacks, multiple copies, mint sets of Casablanca, Hound of the Baskervilles, Adventures of Robin Hood... you name it, it was there. Except for Universal horror, which was oddly not represented at all. Some have speculated that the Universal horror films were not shown in Canada due to censors. Others have speculated that the Universal horror WAS there, and that what the police confiscated and sold to me and my group was really just the tip of the iceberg. If so, what a tip!

Now, the new owner had told the work crew to clear the place out, to gut it, and to get rid of all the accumulated junk and trash.

So they did. But on the way to the dump one of the workers got the bright idea that the posters might have value. They decided to keep them and take them to the flea market that Saturday. And that was when the troubles began. Little did they know that by doing so they were breaking Canadian law.

Some of the others can chip in here, for the details of that Saturday, exactly how Sol Candell became involved, and other facts in the early discovery of the posters is a bit vague for me after all these years.

I remember that somehow Candell (coincidentally?) was at the flea market, that they started something called the Edmonton Poster Society, that a TV news show spotlighted the society, which was how the original theater owners and the new theater owners came to find out they had been ripped off (really now, they didn't even know the posters were there and besides, had given instructions to throw out the trash), but nevertheless, after the news show exclaimed how wonderful and possibly valuable these posters could be all hell broke loose and a war over the posters began.

The first thing that happened was the new owner had the work crew members arrested for theft. One of the work crew, a Daniel Pelletier (I believe his first name was Daniel, might have been David) was mentally unstable, or on medication which he failed to get while in jail. He committed suicide. He couldn't live with the idea of going to jail for something he did not even know was against the law.

The police confiscated the posters, and it was these confiscations that my group purchased from the court. But, I have heard that only part of the posters were at the home where the police raid occurred and that a larger portion were elsewhere at the time, either at Sol Candell's or somewhere else.

The poster collecting world first became aware of the Canadian collection when Sol Candell ran a small ad in Movie Collector's World (I would love a copy of that issue) offering classic titles for dirt cheap prices. Poor Sol had no idea of the true value of some of these gems. He was selling Adventures of Robin Hood one sheets for $200, classic Temples and Garbos for $100, and so on. Maltese Falcon, mint, $50. That kind of thing.

A mle ensued.

Kirby McDaniel, Morris Everett, and Gary Vaughn were among the first callers, being so smart that they regularly had their copies of MCW delivered via Federal Express just for such eventualities. Todd Feiertag didn't bother to call. He hopped in his car and drove to Edmonton! Some wonder what Universal horrors the master Universal horror collector may or may not have obtained during this trip. Can you say Mummy?

A significant number of posters were sold to collectors all around the world as a result of that ad, and they all came to be named in the lawsuit. It seemed the Canadian government demanded the return of the posters under penalty of law!

Of course, the letters demanding the return of posters fell on reluctant collector ears, all of whom promptly filed the letters in file 13.

Before long, the law raided Sol Candell's place and confiscated his remaining posters, but not before a significant number were sold. And probably not before the work crew called and alerted him, giving him plenty of time to haul off a large bulk and store them in a secure, un-police-raided place.

Somewhere, about here, in this timeline, one of the workers (or someone, I can't remember the exact details) drove to Sol Candell's and demanded the return of the posters which had been given to Sol for consignment (these were the ones Sol was selling in MCW). According to legend, the story that was told to me, this person was found dead in his car on the side of the road a few days later. No posters were in his car. After getting posters from Sol, what happened to the young man? Had someone been casing Sol's place, waiting to rob him, and then followed the man who had loaded the piles of posters into his car? No one knows. The posters he took away that day were never found.

I received a letter in the mail from the Royal Canadian Government, notifying me of their intent to accept bids for the enclosed list of movie posters. It seems that the court was soliciting bids from major advertisers for the sale of the posters.

The list was, to put it mildly, mind blowing. After calculating conservatively, I figured the value of the collection to be worth more than $900,000. Way too rich for my blood, alone. But I had friends. After some convincing and arm twisting (they came into the deal kicking and screaming) they agreed to put in enough money to make a realistic bid. Steve Geppi was the largest investor, I was second, Steve Fishler was third, and Mark Wilson was the fourth investor.

The gossip and grapevine rattling surrounding the rumors of who was bidding and how much they were going to bid is a story unto itself. We were trying to reconnoiter bids so that we could top the second bid by the least amount possible. But it was Steve Geppi who said, to hell with it, let's not gamble, bid enough that we get it and don't worry about bidding too much more than the second guy.

We won the bid.

Mark Wilson and I went to Edmonton to take possession. I spent several days going through the collection, a time I will never forget. This was poster heaven. I mean, it was beyond my wildest dreams to ever get to see such gorgeous posters, much less own them. Mark and I kept shaking our heads at the incredible condition. And at the incredible titles.

Who won the lawsuit? What do you think? Did the original owner sell the real estate AND contents, or just the real estate. Who did the posters belong to? Who got the money? I'll tell you one thing: the workers didn't get it, they got criminal records instead.

Turns out, believe it or not, that the ORIGINAL OWNERS got the money. The new owner bought the real estate, but all the junk and papers abandoned inside were the property of the original owner until the second they hit the junkyard, at which time they would have became public domain.

Just think, if the workers had dumped the posters at the dump and then came back later and retrieved them they would have been the proud owners, legally, of a bunch of movie posters. But since they waylaid them prior to the dumping, they were thieves. Ironic, huh?

Over the next year or two we sold the collection. We recouped our investment within six months. My investors were extremely happy. They all now liked movie posters very much. Steve Fishler liked them so much he started collecting them. He has amassed quite a collection since that day in Tennessee when we decided to become partners and buy a collection in Canada. His collection includes a little poster we fondly call the Frankenstein six sheet.

How he came to own that six sheet is another story, quite different from the version we have seen on television. The poster was not found in a locked suitcase.

But that's another story. And I'm not at liberty to divulge, unfortunately, for it's a great yarn and spans the globe.

Jon R. Warren
Warren's Movie Poster Price Guide
Matias
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Offline Harry Caul

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Thanks Matias!  I do recall reading that over at NSFGE a while back.  I can't believe that was only 20 years ago.  Surely there must be more stashes out there... I must stay on the hunt!

Offline Zorba

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Thanks Matias! 

Yes. Thanks.

Great read. Why most of us come here.

Offline CSM

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Thanks Matias!

Agree.  I never tire of reading that story.
Chris

Offline 110x75

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Thanks guys  thumbup
I recall (but can`t find) another story on NSFGE about a discovery of a huge lot made by Dario...
Anyone remembers?
Matias
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Offline eatbrie

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This is one of the reasons why I don't buy linenbacked posters.  Linenbackers can work miracles on paper.  Like reconstructing surgery, they can rebuild a poster from scratch.  But as far as I'm concerned, if a poster is missing more than 10-15% of its body mass, regardless of its rarity or price, it's not a real poster anymore.  Like Bruce said: They will have a "dipped in paint" look.  Too much is added to the surface.  As a collector, this is a leap I'm not ready to take.  Call it a limitation on my part, but I just can't go there.  I might as well buy a reprint.

T
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Offline 110x75

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But as far as I'm concerned, if a poster is missing more than 10-15% of its body mass, regardless of its rarity or price, it's not a real poster anymore.

I wouldn`t mind owning this not real poster  ;)

« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 06:29:51 PM by 110x75 »
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Offline Harry Caul

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This is one of the reasons why I don't buy linenbacked posters.  Linenbackers can work miracles on paper.  Like reconstructing surgery, they can rebuild a poster from scratch.  But as far as I'm concerned, if a poster is missing more than 10-15% of its body mass, regardless of its rarity or price, it's not a real poster anymore.  Like Bruce said: They will have a "dipped in paint" look.  Too much is added to the surface.  As a collector, this is a leap I'm not ready to take.  Call it a limitation on my part, but I just can't go there.  I might as well buy a reprint.

T

I'm not sure we are talking about the same posters here... are you saying Little Caesar, the Reaching for the Moon or either of the Criminal Codes will need to be 'dipped in paint' during restoration?  Sure they are a little dinged up and wrinkled due to moisture, but I think they'll look fantastic after restoration and there is very little missing paper (hence very little re-painting necessary).  I'm fairly certain those four posters (and the stacks of posters underneath them) make of the majority of the value of the lot, which is why I and at least one other bidder stopped after those were sold.  Sure, the Falcon is a goner for instance, but I don't think anyone was considering trying to make that look new again.

Offline jayn_j

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But the only thing that is keeping them from "restoring" those bits of Maltese Falcon is that there is no known original to compare with.  I wonder if that will stop them?
-Jay-

Offline CSM

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But the only thing that is keeping them from "restoring" those bits of Maltese Falcon is that there is no known original to compare with.  I wonder if that will stop them?

I am still holding out hope that the rest is just stuck to another poster...
Chris

Offline CSM

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He's a bit about the New Zealand Universal Horror find as relayed by Jim Gresham in MCW:

http://www.mcwonline.com/pdf/705drv.pdf

THE NEW ZEALAND COLLECTION

"During the early part of 1999, a collection of Universal Pictures half sheets were discovered under the floor of a
house being renovated in Wellington, New Zealand. The posters were in an amazing state of preservation, with the
majority of them in very fine to mint condition. The family that found them realized they had something unique and
tried to sell them through a local antique publication for $25.00 each. They had one call regarding the posters and the man who called offered
to buy every poster the family had. The family became suspicious that they might have something far more valuable
than they realized, so they declined the man’s offer and went about finding a way to discover the true value of the posters.

Through the internet, they found several poster dealers, but couldn’t find any prices to compare their posters to
(hey guys anyone who has ever bought a high line poster can relate to this, can’t we?). They next contacted some of the
auction houses including, Christie’s South Kensington and Bonham’s. The auction houses promised them quite a
return on their posters and the family suddenly became aware of the posters true value. However, rather than
pay high commissions and wishing to keep their discovery somewhat quiet, they decided to sell their collection privately.

It was at this point the family contacted a private dealer who then contacted Cinema Icons. The dealer knew
that Ron dealt in very rare Universal horror posters and that he would make them a fair offer on their items. In June
1999, he traveled to New Zealand and purchased one complete set of half sheets (meaning both the A and B styles) of each title they had.
Upon his arrival back in the U.S., the posters were immediately sold into private collections. And that’s where the story should have ended…

Over the course of the next year, he began to hear rumors the people in New Zealand still had more half sheets.
The rumor was that there were multiple copies of some of the half sheets, and there was at least one other complete set
of what he had purchased the prior year. He discounted the rumors because the family asked him to keep our transaction
quiet. They didn’t want people to know the posters had already been sold. He assumed the set he had purchased
was the same set that collectors were saying was still available. During this time, he kept hearing about the posters
coming to auction, first Sotheby’s New York, then Christie’s South Kensington. But with each catalog that was issued,
the posters failed to materialize, and he came to the conclusion that the rumor was just that; a rumor!

In October 2000, the New Zealand family called Ron. They told him that they did indeed still have more half
sheets. They were tired of dealing with the auction houses and were getting spooked when strange people were
showing up on their doorstep in New Zealand and asking about the posters. They wanted to know if he was interested
in buying them out.

He went into negotiations with them and was able to purchase all of their remaining posters. Before Ron
did this, he managed to get a statement from them that this was indeed the last of the posters.

The following list of posters accounts for the entire inventory of the horror posters from the New Zealand Collection.
Although Universal didn’t mark their half sheets as A and B styles, for simplicity, we’ve denoted the style that
has the same image as the title card as style A.

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Style A – 2 copies
Style B – 3 copies (1 with the borders trimmed off)

The Raven (1935)

Style A – 1 copy
Style B - 4 copies

The Invisible Ray (1936)

Style A – 2 copies
Style B – 1 copy

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Style A – 3 copies (1 with a significant chunk out of the left side)
Style B – 4 copies


Well, Ron, I hope I got the details correct. But, the bottom line is, where will we make the next great find, and
who will make it????? In my mind there are still collections to be found!"
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 07:29:48 PM by CSM »
Chris

Offline CSM

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And anyone who has not read about the "Mile High" comics & 1952 Topps Baseball card finds should - even though they are not about posters they are both still very entertaining and interesting stories!
Chris

Offline 110x75

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The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Style A – 2 copies
Style B – 3 copies (1 with the borders trimmed off)

The Raven (1935)

Style A – 1 copy
Style B - 4 copies

The Invisible Ray (1936)

Style A – 2 copies
Style B – 1 copy

Dracula’s Daughter (1936)

Style A – 3 copies (1 with a significant chunk out of the left side)
Style B – 4 copies



Please, kill me....
Matias
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Offline CSM

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Please, kill me....

I know Matias - I wonder if the value of those 20 posters was equated into the sale price of the house originally?  ;)
Chris

Offline 110x75

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And anyone who has not read about the "Mile High" comics & 1952 Topps Baseball card finds should - even though they are not about posters they are both still very entertaining and interesting stories!

Read about it a few years back. An incredible story. Probably Sean, Rich or Bruce might know some more.

It can be read in MIle High`s site:
http://www.milehighcomics.com/tales/cbg12.html
Matias
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Offline Louie D.

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But the only thing that is keeping them from "restoring" those bits of Maltese Falcon is that there is no known original to compare with.  I wonder if that will stop them?

If someone has an original pressbook, the complete image should be in there and although black and white, the colors in the partial could give the artist something to go by.

Offline Harry Caul

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As far as I can tell, only one title LC and one scene LC is all that has been sold for this title between Christies, HA and eMovie.  There were some 8x10s too, but that was it.  And nothing that matched the embrace clearly seen on the partial 1-sheet that I posted a photo of.   :'(

Offline erik1925

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Re: The biggest find of early movie posters in recent history was sold today...
« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2011, 05:25:49 PM »
I wouldn`t mind owning this not real poster  ;)



Me too, Matias ...  ;D

Jeff


-Jeff

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Re: The biggest find of early movie posters in recent history was sold today...
« Reply #49 on: November 25, 2011, 07:59:36 PM »
He's a bit about the New Zealand Universal Horror find as relayed by Jim Gresham in MCW:

http://www.mcwonline.com/pdf/705drv.pdf

THE NEW ZEALAND COLLECTION

"During the early part of 1999, a collection of Universal Pictures half sheets were discovered under the floor of a
house being renovated in Wellington, New Zealand.


There have been some great finds in New Zealand. 10 years ago, I heard that a distributer had closed down and that an antique dealer had acquired all of their posters, lobby card sets, pressbooks and stills from the 50s to the 70s. The collection was absolutely huge with an estimated 500,000 items. I knew of the antique dealer and spent a couple of years trying to purchase the collection.

They finally decided to sell and I was invited to look through the collection. I didnt know where to start. There were piles and piles of posters spread across a huge area, many multiples including US one sheets and lobby cards, British posters, daybills and various other 3 sheets, 6 sheets, etc etc. After spending a few hours going through bundles of posters, it was fairly obvious that the majority of the posters were average titles and it was likely that a lot of the best posters had been picked over.

However there were some very good saleable titles like Halloween, Foxy Brown, etc and some great older Disney posters. My offer for the lot was accepted and I then had to decide what to do with it all. I only had a few days in NZ so decided the best thing to do was rent a warehouse and get everything sent there until I could work out a way of getting it all safely back to Australia.

I eventually shipped it all back home and then had a massive job of slowly going through it all. Every so often I would find something special but I still haven't finished sorting and photographing everything.

I have come across other similar collections with huge quantities of posters in New Zealand and I also found some 20s US half sheets (no Universal horror but some good titles).

The interesting thing about New Zealand is that they used posters from various countries so it is not usual at all to find British quads, US, Australian and some of the International format posters like one stops, etc.