Camden film buffs movie posters go under the hammer
- Credit: Archant
When first produced they were merely marketing tools designed to be thrown away when the next films were released. But today, original posters for iconic movies such as Star Wars and Get Carter fetch hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds.
A keen film fan from an early age, maths teacher Derek East built a remarkable collection over several decades. After retirement, his hobby led him to become a specialist dealer and in the early 1990s he ran a popular Saturday stall with his brother Alex at Camden Town’s Electric Ballroom.
More enthusiastic about buying than selling, Derek loved to chat with browsers at his stall which also sold portraits, magazines, books and records.
Derek died in 2011 and his precious collection of 80 posters, handed to his niece, went under the hammer last week at Ewbank’s Auctions in Surrey.
Clint Eastwood, Harrison Ford and James Stewart feature in artwork for films such as Easy Rider, Dracula, The Exorcist and The Shining.
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“This is a truly eclectic collection that has mass appeal,” said specialist Alastair McCrea of Ewbanks. “Whether you are a film fan, sci-fi nut, into the glamour of the golden days of Hollywood or looking for something stunning for interior decoration, this collection has it all.”
Prices started at £40 rising to £1500-2500 for a British Quad poster for 1965 Bond film Thunderball. The top price was for a poster advertising 1971 British gangster classic Get Carter.
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“Get Carter doesn’t appear very often at auction and the condition is very good because Derek was a collector,” adds McCrea. “These posters were only meant to last for the duration of the release, and movies like Get Carter weren’t expected to become a cult film many years later. Cinemas were meant to post them back to the supplier and get a refund, but a lot of the time they didn’t bother and the posters would be stored somewhere.”
He says that artwork for movies such as Star Wars or the Bond movies have become very collectable, adding that posters for British releases were always horizontal to fit into the display boxes outside cinemas while US versions are vertical portraits.
“The studios instructed artists to do designs, sometimes we see original artwork and they often did six or seven versions and the studios chose one for the finished artwork. Some spent a lot of money and got the best artists, but others were a rush job.”