An original poster for the classic film Casablanca has sold for a record price at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
The poster was created for the original Italian release of the film in 1945, and is believed to be the only surviving example of its kind.
It was initially offered with an estimate of $180,000 – $360,000, but soared to a final price of $478,000, setting a new record price for any Casablanca poster ever sold.
The sale also equalled the auction record for any individual movie poster, set back in 2014, when the only-known poster for the ‘lost’ horror classic London After Midnight also sold at Heritage for $478,000.
"This Casablanca rarity is one of the finest in the entire hobby," said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage Auctions. "To own this poster is on par with owning the pinnacle of poster art."
Although Casablanca was released in the U.S in 1942, it didn’t appear in Italian movie theatres until after the end of WWII in 1945.
A number of new posters were created by Italian artists to promote the film, both upon its initial release and its re-release in 1953.
The style sold at Heritage was a ‘4 – Fogli’ or ‘4-sheet’ poster measuring 55.5" by 78.25”, far larger and rarer than the standard ‘one-sheet’ posters found in most collections.
It featured artwork by Luigi Martinati, a commercial artist who co-founded the renowned Studio BCM and produced dozens of stunning movie posters throughout the 1940s, 50s and 60s.
In 2016 another Casablanca poster with artwork by Martinati, created for the later re-release, sold at Heritage for $203,150.
The Heritage Vintage Poster Sale also featured another notable result, this time achieving an auction record for any Australian poster.
The film in question was Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s 1927 sci-fi masterpiece, and the poster was a daybill for the Australian release in 1928.
Featuring artwork by Bernie Bragg, the poster sold for $215,100, a price which earned it a place amongst the 20 most valuable vintage posters in history.
The #1 spot on that list is also held by another Metropolis poster – an original from the film’s international release, which sold privately to a collector back in 2005 for a record $690,000.