With a starting bid set at $950,000, one of the last remaining posters for Boris Karloff's The Mummy could retake the title of most expensive movie poster in the world. Online bidding opened up today for the Sotheby’s New York auction (which closes on Halloween), and one of Universal’s legendary lithographics from art director Karoly Grosz has officially hit the market.
When the poster sold at the auction house back in 1997, it earned $453,500 — and the title of most expensive poster in the world — which it held until an international edition of the Metropolis poster usurped it with $690,000 in 2005. Nicolas Cage's Dracula poster sold more recently, representing the Universal monsters. But now, with the projected total of the final remaining poster of three known to exist (the other two are owned by collectors, including Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett) surpassing the $1 million mark, it’s not hard to imagine that The Mummy is primed to rise again.
Just take a good look and tell us that it’s not worth a cool million:
The unbacked poster is in “near mint condition,” according to its listing, and offers a rare representation of what movie marketing was like back in 1932, when Egypt was sparking a world’s imaginations. Director Karl Freund found plenty of empathy with Karloff’s mummy as well as Zita Johann, who you can see on the poster as Ankhesenamun. That the garish, flashy poster — offering bold colors and maximalist design — survived since the ‘30s thanks to being carefully folded and preserved only makes its arrival on the scene all the more fitting for the film’s subject.
If The Mummy’s a bit out of your price range, you can always see the majesty over at Sotheby’s New York galleries from Oct. 14-18.