1931 Frankenstein Poster Sells for World Record Amount at Auction


Frankenstein, 1931 starring Boris Karloff. Insert Poster.

Frankenstein just stomped Casablanca.

That’s not an indie horror movie, but the results of a world record setting auction on July 27. As reported on artdaily.com, an original 1931 “insert poster” for the Universal movie Frankenstein sold at Heritage Auctions for a record $262,900. It is the only confirmed insert poster for the 1931 Boris Karloff film known to exist. To make the story even nicer, the consignor was Keith Johnson of Ottawa, IL who had bought the poster for about $2 in 1968 at an antique store and just kept it in a closet. The pre-auction estimate put the price at perhaps $50,000 – it went for over 5 times that amount!

The previous record holder for highest price paid for an insert poster was  $191,200 bid in 2012 for a “Casablanca” poster.

An “Insert Poster” is vertical format American movie poster that measures 14″ x 36″ and is printed on card stock. These were made to be displayed in standard sized window frame displays in movie theatres. Movie studios stopped issuing these in the early 1980’s, according to the CineMasterpieces website.

Posters are a uniquely powerful form of media with a brilliant cultural history. They have weilded political power, changed minds and attitudes, and served as influential icons of art, politics and popular culture. Think of the “Wanted” posters of Depression-era gangsgters, the pin-up girls from World War II, music and movie posters from the sixties and seventies, and political posters from every campaign since the press was invented. In the digital age, posters have proven no less powerful –  the Obama “HOPE” posters or the art generated by the Occupy movements. Look around town at the musical, political and social events being advertised in shop windows and on phone poles. The poster is alive and well and as intersting as ever… and proof that PRINT IS POWERFUL!


Rely on your printer for advice and direction in creating and distributing posters of your own. Advertize an upcoming event, promote your business or your politics, or generate your own cultural meme! To get yours produced at the best price, and seen both online and in public, the best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!


ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.