A rare and coveted Metropolis movie poster — one of only four known surviving copies from the 1927 silent classic — has been seized as part of a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy case involving its owner Kenneth Schacter, a well-known collector. The poster will be auctioned off soon.
The historical importance of the Fritz Lang-helmed movie and the rarity and beautiful art deco design of the Metropolis poster combine to make it “the crown jewel of the poster world,” according to Sean Linkenback, a well-known poster dealer. (See the full poster below.)
The poster had been offered for sale in March for $850,000 by Movieposterexchange.com. Estimates vary as to what it would fetch on the open market. Schacter paid a still-record $690,000 for it in 2005.
In the bankruptcy filing, he estimates its value at just $250,000, a number most observers view as comically low. High-end estimates put the value of the poster at more than $1 million, which would make it the first poster to cross that barrier in a public sale. Conversely, a sale at Schacter’s low estimate of $250,000 or even any number below $690,000 would represent a softening of the poster market at a time when other collectibles such as movie props and rare comics are selling for record amounts.
Other key items in Schacter’s collection include a King Kong poster from 1933, which is considered by experts to be nearly as valuable as the Metropolis poster, and a 1933 one-sheet teaser from The Invisible Man. The total collection could be worth as much as $5 million, according to court filings, but the exact value is uncertain because Schacter has ignored court orders to provide a full and complete inventory.
Once the inventory investigation is complete and creditors have submitted timely claims, the bankruptcy trustee intends to hold a liquidation auction. If the court approves the request, the trustee is likely to use Heritage Auctions, one of the largest auctioneers of movie posters, to conduct the liquidation sale.
Given the size of the Schacter’s collection, Heritage might auction it in waves, but no final decision has been made. The liquidation is expected to begin before the end of 2012, but the exact date is dependent on the speed of the inventory assessment and the court’s ruling on the application to conduct the sale.
Originally reported by THR.com