It is the only known example of the design known to survive and was offered at Heritage Auctions’ online sale last weekend. It was consigned by a London collector and went to an anonymous buyer.
It was designed in 1946, four years after the Oscar-winning movie was first released in the US, and about 2000 copies were issued for distribution around post-war Italy. It measures 4ft 7in x 6ft 6in (1.4 x 2m), features artwork by Luigi Martinati and is particularly celebrated for the faithful rendering of the cast members who include Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Berman and Claude Rains.
Grey Smith, director of vintage posters at Heritage Auctions of Dallas, said that the poster is widely considered “a masterpiece” by collectors, adding that the artistry “makes it stand head and shoulders above any paper produced for the film”.
The record for a US version of the poster $191,000.