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‘Perfect’ Film Posters For Sale From Cinema Buff’s Giant Collection

Published on: 20 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 20 Apr, 2021

A British Quad poster for the 1967 horror flick Quatermass and the Pit. Estimate £700-£1,000.

The film-poster and memorabilia collection owned by one person and up for auction at Ewbank’s is so extensive the sale had to be delayed a week to complete cataloguing the content.

But the vast size of the Michael Armstrong collection, set for sale on Wednesday, May 7, is not its most important feature, said Ewbank’s partner and specialist Alastair McCrea.

“The outstanding factor is its condition.” he said. “Mr Armstrong was the longstanding projectionist at The Regal cinema in Wymondham, Suffolk when it closed in 1993 and he kept all the promotional posters and lobby cards in first-class condition.

“Unlike other posters and cinema memorabilia, they have not been damaged by changing hands from collector to collector.”

The box-office at Michael Armstrong’s mini-replica of the former Regal cinema, whose movie poster collection will be for sale at Ewbank’s Auctions on May 7.

Expected to fetch a hammer total of about £50,000, the 320-lot sale includes thousands of single items, comprising 25 sets of eight front-of-house cards, as well as press books, movie brochures and, of course, the posters.

Posters from three Beatles films feature: Yellow Submarine (£700-£1,000), A Hard Day’s Night and Help! (£500-£800 each). Their outstanding condition makes their appearance together in the sale a real rarity.

And there are rarities, Mr McCrea said. “You don’t often see original posters for the three Beatles films, A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and Yellow Submarine, so that is rare enough, but the fine condition makes them turning up together an outstanding opportunity for film-poster collectors and Beatles fans.”

The rage of film genres is mind-boggling, from Westerns and war films to comedy and horror. The titles read like an A to Z of film classics from the past 60 years.

The Brides of Dracula, starring Peter Cushing, from 1960. Several other Hammer horror classics included in the auction. This poster is expected to fetch £400-£600.

Mr Armstrong was such a film fanatic that when the local cinema closed in his hometown of Wymondham, Norfolk in 1993, he converted his garage at home to a mini-replica, with recycled fixtures and fittings.

He started The Regal Experience, a sell-out Sunday afternoon film-show that attracted many of the stars who appeared in the films to visit, including Virginia McKenna. The events raised money for charity.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD (1966) a rare British Quad poster for the cult Dr Who film, starring Peter Cushing. Estimate £400-£600.

He was also known to Hollywood stars, visiting there for film conventions and meeting among many others, Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis, Jean Simmons and Richard Kiel, who famously played Jaws in the Bond films. Some even invited him to their homes.

Other sale highlights include posters for the 1967 British horror flick Quatermass and the Pit (estimate £700-£1,000), The Beatles’ three, Yellow Submarine (£700-£1,000), A Hard Day’s Night (£500-£800), Help! (£500-£800) and the 1960 Hammer horror classic, The Brides of Dracula (£400-£600).

The Beatles Help film poster expected to fetch £800

“Michael Armstrong was a one-off, the sort of avid collector that dealers, other collectors and auction houses dream about,” Mr McCrea said. “To have such an extensive collection and to have taken such great care over it is a tribute to the magic of cinema.

“This auction is our tribute to Michael, and we are expecting a large number of bidders to pay their respects.”

Ewbank’s website: www.ewbankauctions.co.uk

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