American Collector Pays $1.2m for Metropolis Poster

18 January 2013
imports_CCGB_metropolisweb_93960.jpg American Collector Pays $1.2m for Metropolis Poster
Ralph DeLuca bags a 1927 German poster advertising Fritz Lang's film ...
American collector Ralph DeLuca, who runs the film memorabilia website, has "made the score of a lifetime" after paying $1.2 million for a 1927 German poster advertising Fritz Lang's science fiction classic Metropolis. DeLuca said he was "thrilled" to hand over the cash to acquire one of only four known examples of the iconic three-sheet. Two of those four are held in institutional collections, while the others (including DeLuca's) are privately owned.

Interestingly, instead of appearing at a normal film memorabilia auction, the poster was part of a sale at the US Bankruptcy Court In Los Angeles. Bidding opened at $740,000, upping the $700,000 private cash offer DeLuca had tendered previously to the Bankruptcy Court. Some of the movie-poster world’s top players were present to chase the cinematic treasure. They included an agent for Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Bruce Marchant of London-based Reel Poster Gallery, who represented UK collector Andrew Cohen; and a rep from the California auction house Profiles in History, who was there to bid on behalf of Steve Fishler, owner of Metropolis Comics, New York City.

“If anything surprised me, it was that Heritage was not my main competitor. I expected to have to fight them tooth and nail, but they were out of the running – as was Steve Fishler’s representative – before the bidding even reached $900,000. At that point, it was down to Andrew Cohen’s rep and myself,” DeLuca said.

The courtroom auction wrapped up a significant chapter in the bankruptcy of collector Kenneth Schacter of Valencia, California. According to a Dec. 13, 2012 Reuters report, Schacter purchased the Metropolis poster seven years ago for $690,000, using funds he borrowed from an investor with whom he was to share profits once the poster was resold. When Schacter retained the poster in his own collection and did not resell it, Mannheim filed suit and was awarded a judgment against Schacter.
Content continues after advertisements