Film posters in the auction houses this week

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Film poster collecting is a young hobby, especially in the UK, which is why a quarter of the 421 posters on offer at Christie's, South Kensington, Tues (10.30am), have never been seen on the open market. One of only three known posters of Abel Grace's 1927 French masterpiece Napoleon, is estimated at pounds 10,000-pounds 15,000.

This is not a high price compared with prices for established mass-printed collectables, such as postage stamps. In Britain, film poster collectors whinged at paying more than a couple of hundred pounds for one until last year, when South Ken launched dedicated sales and its consultant Tony Nourmand opened his London film poster gallery. A posse of collector- dealers from the US will be flying over in search of bargains at this second major annual sale.

Some prices are unexpectedly low - Elvis posters, for example, which are notoriously dull and were printed in large numbers. Even the only known copy of the poster for Elvis's film King Creole of 1958 is estimated at a modest pounds 900-pounds 1,200. Christie's is hoping the Americans will fight over it.

One poster designer who was given his head was Peter Strausfeld (d.1980). Remember his bold, contrasty posters for the Academy Cinema that appeared in the London Underground in the Seventies and Eighties? Only 100 of each were printed from his original lino cuts. His widow Peggy tried to save one of each and 19 are in the sale, with estimates between pounds 200-pounds 300 and pounds 1,000-pounds 1,500.

John Windsor