Monday, November 12, 2018

Master Mystery poster fetches $15,831 at auction

A poster for The Master Mystery episode 11 sold at an auction earlier this month for $15,831. The auction description contained some interesting information about the poster's provenance.

This movie was Harry Houdini's very first movie, and it was his only serial, and it had "The Automaton", the very first robot in a movie. So it is certainly a very historic movie. Posters from it were unknown until around 35 years ago, when the son of the man who produced the movie surfaced, and he had one one-sheet from each of the fifteen chapters! Those were quickly sold, and over the years, a very few of them have returned to auction (we have auctioned four different chapters).  
In 1990, we were consigned this poster, and the person who bought it at that auction re-consigned it to us 11 years later in 2001, where it sold for $16,300. Now, the person who purchased it from us in 2001 has re-consigned it 17 years later, and it is still the only example of this poster we have ever auctioned, because it is the very same poster we auctioned twice before. 

In 2016 an Episode 3 poster sold for $28,080. The value of Master Mystery posters can vary depending on whether the artwork features escape imagery or The Automaton.

In 2013 eMoviePosters auctioned a one-sheet from The Grim Game for a remarkable $67,166. This is the first Houdini movie poster the site has auctioned since.



  1. There's a pattern here. The poster buyer keeps it in his collection for ten to twenty years, then sells it off. We're just the temporary custodians of these objects, except for the items that wind up in museums and out of the hands of private collectors.