Scores of large format movie posters – dating back to 1939 and discovered underneath the carpets of a house in Penarth – are to be auctioned next month.
Some of the posters are giant 10-foot high bill-board-sized formats – designed to be pasted up in separate sections to form a composite image.
The prints – all originals – feature some of the biggest names of the era including director Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Henry Fonda and John Wayne.
Although – or, perhaps, because – they had been used as carpet underlay, they had been, (more by accident than design) preserved in perfect condition.
The discovery of the posters was originally made in 1985 – when the Penarth home of an un-named former cinema executive was undergoing building work and the then 45-year-year-old carpets were being taken up. The collection has been kept a secret ever since – that is until now.
One of the posters promotes Alfred Hitchcock’s second Hollywood feature “Foreign Correspondent” in 1940 – and Stagecoach – the 1939 film in which John Wayne made his name.
Other titles include the 1937 production “Fire Over England” starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
The Penarth auctioneer’s Rogers Jones & Co are auctioning the collection in 70 separate lots on September 15th but the collection is so rare no one has been able to come up with an estimate of what they’re worth.
The auction will take place on September 15 at Rogers Jones & Co’s Penarth Road saleroom – which is frequently featured in the BBC TV series “Flog-It” .
[ PDN Note: The identity of the Penarth cinema executive is a mystery. Penarth has been the home town of a number of cinema owners and executives including the Willmore Brothers. The late former manager of the Capitol Cinema in Cardiff – Jack Robinson – who did war service as an RAF bomber navigator and later became a BBC News cameraman, once lived in Victoria Road, Penarth]