The 1931 adaptation of Dracula continues to be an influential film to this day, inspiring hundreds of filmmakers to tell their stories about the dark and seductive world of vampires. Proving not only to be valuable in terms of inspiration but in terms of finances, an original poster for the film just sold at Heritage Auctions' Movie Posters Auction in Dallas, Texas for $525,800.
"The Dracula poster is a rare, important poster that sparked intense bidding among some of our elite collectors," Heritage Auctions Vintage Posters Director Grey Smith revealed in a press release. "Considering the sheer beauty of the poster and the timeless popularity of the film, it's not a surprise that the demand was so high."
Contemporary films have a variety of marketing materials at their disposal to get the word out, but in the '30s, studios mostly had to rely on a captivating image.
As you can see from the poster below, it's hard to deny the impact the artwork has on a viewer.
"It is a matter of opinion, but this poster probably is the most beautiful of all of the styles," Smith added. "And one of only two styles that pictures Bela Lugosi in realistic terms or a faithful rendering – the other is a photographic image."
As far as the poster's whereabouts before the auction, the press release claimed "this poster spent many years in the family of Lt. Col. George J. Mitchell, Jr., an Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers."
It's unclear exactly what condition this version of the poster was in, as posters from the early days of cinema were rarely properly cared for, often being mailed to theaters folded up into small envelopes.
In recent years, boutique art studios like Mondo and Gallery 1988 have released hundreds of different posters for films both new and old, often having incredibly high resale values.
In addition to the auction selling the Dracula poster, it also sold a lobby card, which is a photo often adorning the lobby to create excitement for a film, for the 1932 film The Mummy for $26,290. An original poster for The Phantom of the Opera was also sold, scoring $95,600.