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'Metropolis' Poster Eyes Auction Record

Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly owns one. Another is in the Museum of Modern Art. A third is in the Austrian National Library museum. Now, just the fourth known surviving copy of the poster for Fritz Lang's 1927 masterpiece Metropolis is set to be auctioned Dec. 13 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Los Angeles in what collectors are calling the most important offering of the year. The Metropolis poster is being sold with eight other pieces of vintage movie art, including rare King Kong and The Invisible Man posters, the original painting of Elvis Presley used in the Jailhouse Rock poster and a drawing of the Addams Family house by artist Charles Addams. The bankruptcy court seized the items in a messy case involving collector Kenneth Schacter, who defaulted on a loan used to buy the posters. The most recent time a Metropolis piece changed hands, in 2005, it sold for $690,000 (still the public record for a movie poster). This time, East Coast collector Ralph DeLuca's $700,000 cash offer for the nine Schacter pieces will be the floor bid, though the ultimate sale price for the package could approach $1 million. DeLuca, who in 2009 bought Nicolas Cage's Dracula poster for $310,000, says a great piece of Hollywood art combines historical importance, beauty and rarity: "The Metropolis poster fulfills all three on the highest order."

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