'Frankenstein' poster scares up record $262,900

Likely the only survivor from the 1931 movie, its owner bought it for a couple dollars and left it in a closet for 30 years.

By Aimee Picchi Aug 1, 2013 2:12PM

Screenshot from the Heritage Auctions website featuring the Frankenstein movie poster from 1931 (© Universal via Heritage Auctioneers & Galleries, Inc.)An insert poster for the 1931 film "Frankenstein" set a record at auction, becoming the most valuable movie poster ever sold. 

The poster, which features Boris Karloff as Frankenstein's monster, sold for $262,900, the Daily Mail reports. That surpassed the previous high price held by a "Casablanca" poster, which sold last year for $191,200. 

The 14-inch-by-36-inch poster was sold on July 27 by Heritage Auctions to an anonymous bidder.

The story of the poster might give hope to people who stuff belongings in the black holes of their closets. Keith Johnson of Ottawa, Ill., told The Associated Press he bought the poster as a teenager in the late 1960s for just a few dollars, and then stored it in his closet for decades. 

Still, he and his wife, who describe themselves as fans of horror movies, would occasionally take a look at the poster over glasses of wine. 

Why did this one sell for so much? For starters, it's believed to be the only insert poster still in existence for the classic movie. (Insert posters were printed on card stock and designed for movie theaters' display cases.)

The poster is also visually striking, with Karloff's shadowed face looming over a young woman draped over a bed. "Frankenstein" remains a popular figure in pop culture, with the original  Mary Shelley novel serving as the inspiration for movies and TV shows such as "Young Frankenstein" and "The Munsters."

The 1931 movie, from Universal Studios (now under Comcast's (CMCSA) ownership), is considered a classic horror monster film, featuring Colin Clive as the young Frankenstein and Dwight Frye as his hunchback assistant. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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Aug 1, 2013 4:01PM
So sad that some movies today have decades of technological advancement, but are still crap compared to movies like Frankenstein.
Aug 1, 2013 4:08PM

Back in those days actors had to really act instead of relying on CGI and other modern "special effects".  That is why the classics are still so good--even with the cheesy costumes and props. Give me a Boris Karloff or a Vincent Price movie over today's zombie and vampire fare any day. 

Aug 1, 2013 4:33PM
Yeah, really cool old movies that made you use your own Imagination a little and didn't have to hear the "F" word every other line in the script!
Aug 1, 2013 5:10PM
Boris was the best! Loved Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi as well...

The old "Creature Feature" shows...man, I really miss them!

Aug 1, 2013 5:28PM
i wrote to universal studios when i was 8 to see how to get one of these these movie posters. they never wrote back.
Aug 1, 2013 5:36PM
Even the B Flicks of the 70's had more class than 90% of the crap that Hollywood puts out now.....Universal Monsters were the bomb when I was younger...stil love The Wolfman the best.....
Aug 1, 2013 5:33PM
When I was a kid I collected the models of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, Wolfman, The Creature of the Black Lagoon, and The Phantom of the Opera. We watched them on a Blach & White TV on a Saturday night show called "Nightmare." We put them together and ainted them ourselves. Wonder what that might be worth today. Amazing.
Aug 1, 2013 5:39PM
The peasants with torches burned everything else.
Aug 1, 2013 11:06PM
Reason I watch classics...  I refuse to watch anything made today or in the last 1-2 decades.  Love my classics.
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