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Under the Floorboard Find - UK Style

DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin

Family finds trove of Hollywood Golden Age posters worth $240,000 hidden under the floor while renovating their Pennsylvania home

  • Robert Basta and his sons Bob and Dylan found stash at their new home
  • Sons were pulling up linoleum floor when they found 1932 Tarzan poster
  • Promo - worth $80,000 alone - was followed by 16 more Golden Age items
  • Shows stars including Laurel and Hardy and Clarke Gable 

By KIERAN CORCORAN FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 23:59 EST, 19 November 2015 | UPDATED: 00:49 EST, 20 November 2015

A father and son found a stash of vintage Hollywood posters worth $240,000 pulling up the flooring in their new home.

Robert Basta, 56, and his two sons Bob and Dylan stumbled on a stash of 17 movie theater posters while renovating their home in southern Pennsylvania.

They feature stars like Clarke Gable, Maureen O'Sullivan and Laurel and Hardy at the peak of their careers.

Classic This poster valued at 80000 is the only example of this style of promo image of the 1932 Tarzan the Ape Man film starringJohnny Weissmuller and Maureen OSullivan

Classic: This poster, valued at $80,000, is the only example of this style of promo image of the 1932 Tarzan the Ape Man film starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan

Funny discovery The Basta family also pulled up a promo for Any Old Port a Laurel and Hardy short also from 1932

Funny discovery: The Basta family also pulled up a promo for Any Old Port, a Laurel and Hardy short also from 1932

Unique This poster for 1932s Red Headed Woman starringJean Harlow is thought to be one of only third of its kind The screenplay is by Great Gatsby author F Scott Fitzgerald

Unique: This poster for 1932's Red Headed Woman, starring Jean Harlow, is thought to be one of only third of its kind. The screenplay is by Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald

A star is born This 1940 poster for Sporting Blood is promoting Clarke Gables first ever starring role

A star is born: This 1940 poster for Sporting Blood is promoting Clarke Gable's first ever starring role

The stash had apparently been hidden under linoleum tiling in a back room by a previous occupant to protect the home's wooden floorboards.

But now, more than 80 years after some of the films premiered, the perfectly-preserved sheets are worth a tremendous amount of money. 

Five of the prints - including one advertising 1932's Tarzan the Ape Man - is thought to be the only surviving example of its kind. The Tarzan posted is thought to be worth some $80,000 by itself.

Tinseltown classic This poster for 1932 film Blonde of the Follies shows starsBillie Dove Marion Davies and Jimmy Durante in the

Tinseltown classic: This poster for 1932 film Blonde of the Follies shows stars Billie Dove, Marion Davies and Jimmy Durante in the 

Lucky find Mr Bastas sons were ripping up flooring when they uncovered the posters Pictured is a second Blonde of the Follies poster from the cache

Lucky find: Mr Basta's sons were ripping up flooring when they uncovered the posters. Pictured is a second Blonde of the Follies poster from the cache

Horror flick Another of the posters advertises Doctor X also from 1932 which follows a reporter investigating cannibalism

Horror flick: Another of the posters advertises Doctor X, also from 1932, which follows a reporter investigating cannibalism

The Basta family found the posters underneath the flooring of an upstairs room which was part-way through being converted.

Dylan Basta, 22, had been asked to remove pull the floor up by his father to earn some extra money - and ended up stumbling on significantly more cash than he bargained for.

He sent his father a text saying 'Look what I've found', accompanied by a picture of his brother with the scrap of Tinseltown history.

After researching the full collection, the family realized how valuable the find was and contacted auctioneers, who have organized a sale of the posters this week.

The cache also contains the only known copies of posters from Sporting Blood, the 1931 film that gave Clark Gable his first starring role, and 1932 films Tess of the Storm Country, Congorilla and the Laurel and Hardy short Any Old Port. 

Action film This thriller Congroilla is another fruit of the 1932 season stashed under the Pennsylvania homes flooring

Action film: This thriller, Congroilla, is another fruit of the 1932 season stashed under the Pennsylvania home's flooring

Western Universals A Rider of Death Valley again from 1932 also featured in the treasure trove
+12

Western: Universal's A Rider of Death Valley, again from 1932, also featured in the treasure trove

Other highlights include a poster for MGM's 1932 bad-girl classic Red Headed Woman, one of only three known to exist, which is expected to sell for more than $30,000.

It is thought the posters belonged to a local artist who did work for his local movie theater. Mr Basta declined to say what town his house is in.

Mr Basta bought the six-bedroom house, built in the late 1800s, at a knock-down price in an auction because it was in very poor condition, and is his first unexpected find of a lifetime in the construction industry. 

If he gets the full amount of money from the sale, Mr Basta plans to retire to the Philippines and open a restaurant.

Older This image shows a scene from 1929s The Long Long Trail starring Hoot Gibson as The Ramblin Kid
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Older: This image shows a scene from 1929's The Long Long Trail, starring Hoot Gibson as The Ramblin' Kid

Showtunes The Dance of Life an adaptation of the Broadway show Burlesque is another 1929 film in the collection

Showtunes: The Dance of Life, an adaptation of the Broadway show Burlesque, is another 1929 film in the collection

He said: 'I have been in the construction industry all my life and have bought many houses to renovate.

'You always dream of coming across something valuable hidden in a closet or under the floorboards but it had never happened - until now.

'I had noticed there was newspaper from 1946 under the old lino of a small upstairs room that I was going to turn into a utility room, but I hadn't got round to talking the floor up.

'I was away on work recently and my son Dylan was home from college and wanted to earn some cash so I got him to rip up the lino, but I told him to save the newspaper in case it was interesting. 

'I knew they were nice but I had no idea of their value until we put them into an internet search engine. We couldn't believe movie posters were so valuable. 

Romance This 1932 poster advertises Tess of the Storm Country a remade silent movie

Romance: This 1932 poster advertises Tess of the Storm Country, a remade silent movie

'I'm a simple man - I own my house but I don't have a pension and at some point soon I'll want to retire. The money from this sale will be life-changing.' 

Grey Smith, director of posters at Heritage Auctions, who are conducting the sale, said: 'This discovery is quite simply a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen-piece of Hollywood history.

'The posters all date from the late 1920s to the early 1930s. They are rarely seen and are in fantastic condition. They restore several missing chapters of Hollywood history.

'The highlight is the Tarzan the Ape Man poster - it's the only one-sheet poster in the world that pictures Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan as they appear in the film.

'The Red Headed Woman poster is only the third known poster of its kind in the world.

'Little did the Bastas know they were standing on a small fortune.

'This discovery should have people who own older homes running to peak under their floors to see what they might find there.'

The sale will be held on Saturday in Dallas, Texas.


David

Comments

  • EisenhowerEisenhower Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 3,807 admin

    Wow!!! What a fantastic find!!! Just beautiful artwork! I hadn't heard this so thanks for sharing.

    Haven't perused all the posters up for sale at HA this weekend, but will follow them now.

  • DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin
    Heritage knows how to swoop on the big finds. ;)
    David
  • HONDOHONDO Member, Wizard of Aus Posters Posts: 7,571 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    Great find and to have them in such fine condition is amazing.
    Lawrence
  • EisenhowerEisenhower Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 3,807 admin
    Like the two sons names...Bob...Dylan.  B) a true American icon...
  • SvenSven Member Posts: 1,993 ✭✭✭✭ Three-Sheeter
    Gorgeous posters that's for sure 
  • CharlieCharlie Member, Administrator, Moderator, Game Master Posts: 6,181 admin
    I hate these stories.   
    That second mouse in the bowl of cream we call life...
    www.movieposterworks.com  | MPW on Facebook
  • HONDOHONDO Member, Wizard of Aus Posters Posts: 7,571 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
      If the Tarzan The Ape  Man one sheet is the only one known in the world of this style then the Australian daybill is probably the only other poster seen of this style as well.
    Lawrence
  • DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin
    HONDO said:
    Great find and to have them in such fine condition is amazing.
    I suspect they have been very much restored.
    David
  • HONDOHONDO Member, Wizard of Aus Posters Posts: 7,571 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    David said:
    HONDO said:
    Great find and to have them in such fine condition is amazing.
    I suspect they have been very much restored.


    Probably but as I am a person and one of the few on this forum who doesn't restore film posters  I need some clarification regarding the '' the perfectly preserved sheets ...'' mentioned in the article. Does it mean do you think -

    A ) Restored.

    B ) Preserved by the way the original person covered and stored them carefully.

    It most likely they were preserved but is it possible the B explanation may be the case and they are in their original glory or perhaps only some minor restoration was required ?

    Lawrence
  • DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin
    edited November 2015
    HONDO said:
    David said:
    HONDO said:
    Great find and to have them in such fine condition is amazing.
    I suspect they have been very much restored.


    Probably but as I am a person and one of the few on this forum who doesn't restore film posters  I need some clarification regarding the '' the perfectly preserved sheets ...'' mentioned in the article. Does it mean do you think -

    A ) Restored.

    B ) Preserved by the way the original person covered and stored them carefully.

    It most likely they were preserved but is it possible the B explanation may be the case and they are in their original glory or perhaps only some minor restoration was required ?


    Lots of people here don't restore.

    However to answer your question, I would suggest 'perfectly preserved' means they have aged well.

    But the really simple answer is to read the description on HA of one of the poster's they are auctioning from that find eg Red Headed Woman"Prior to restoration, there were some small chips in the right border and there has been some very minor touchup in the background and one tiny spot on Harlow's forehead. Don't miss your chance to own this spectacular rarity! Very Fine- on Linen." 

    or Tarzan the Ape Man: "Prior to the excellent restoration, there were pinholes in the bottom corners and one each in the background corners, There was a small chip in the "T" of Tarzan and a small chip in the second "A" of Tarzan in the titles. There were very small bits of paper loss in Weissmuller's arm and in O'Sullivan's cheek. There has been minor touchup to the folds. The stone litho poster has retained its extraordinary brilliance of color and is in incredible condition. Very Fine on Linen." 

    From experience, and there will be others who have enjoyed far more floorboard or wall finds than me, about the only thing perfectly preserved after all those years is the colours.
    David
  • HONDOHONDO Member, Wizard of Aus Posters Posts: 7,571 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    Thanks David for the information. Am I correct in saying then  these posters were  well above average in condition than the majority of similar finds ? 
    Lawrence
  • DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin
    I couldn't say, I never saw them in original condition, might be better to ask HA or even John who uncover their fair share of hidden collections...I'm just a humble Victorian poster collector/dealer who lucks out once in a blue moon.
    David
  • BruceBruce Member, Captain Movie Poster Posts: 814 ✭✭✭ Daybiller
    I have seen at least 20 "under the floorboards" or "between the walls" discoveries over the years.

    All of the posters found ranged from "poor" to "good" condition. But, as David said, sometimes they had not faded at all, and after restoration, many presented quite nicely.

    We (eMoviePoster.com) hold 3,000 auctions a week, 138,000 a year.
    See all of our current auctions in one gallery here: http://www.emovieposter.com/agallery/all.html
  • DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin
    $92K for the Tarzan, $77K for the Red Head, $23K for Dr X and a few more shekels for the rest

    Guess they will be able to afford to finish the kitchen now
    David
  • HONDOHONDO Member, Wizard of Aus Posters Posts: 7,571 ✭✭✭✭✭ Elite Collector
    David said:
    $92K for the Tarzan, $77K for the Red Head, $23K for Dr X and a few more shekels for the rest

    Guess they will be able to afford to finish the kitchen now

    I guess the Australian daybill on linen of the same design  that sold for $2,530 in 1995 was a bargain then.
    Lawrence
  • DavidDavid Member Posts: 10,163 admin
    20 years ago, who knows.
    David
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