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A poster for ‘The Maltese Falcon’ that sold for £850 at Burstow Hewett.

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Made in 1941 for Warner Brothers by John Houston in his directorial debut, the film did not, of course, have the Italian market immediately in mind – apart from anything else Italy was bombing Malta to pieces at the time.

In the 1960s, however, United Artists distributed the movie worldwide. For Italians, the name of their island neighbour was not a big draw, hence the title Il Mistero Del Falco.

This poster from the 1960s publicity campaign had been linen-backed, restored and rolled but it was in very fine condition. Furthermore, it was a four-folio poster measuring 6ft 6in x 4ft 9in (1.98 x 1.45m) rather than the more common ‘2-fogli’ posters, and it carried the printed signature of one of the great Italian poster artists: Di Stefano.

Most posters at the East Sussex sale sold, as expected, at two-figure or low three-figure prices to enthusiastic online collectors.

The Falcon was estimated at £300-450 for the sale on August 30 and sold at £850.