A "Metropolis" movie poster hailed as the most valuable one sheet in the world was auctioned by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles on Thursday for $1.2 million.
Ralph DeLuca's bid beat out three other collectors to claim the prize he compares to Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and he says he got a deal too.
"I was expecting to pay $1.5 to 1.6 million at least," DeLuca told TheWrap hours after making the purchase. "Had this been a proper auction, the Metropolis alone would have been bought for $1.6 million."
Fortunately for his wallet, that was not the case.
Previous owner Kenneth Schacter bought the German artwork for Fritz Lang's 1927 science-fiction film in 2005 for a record $690,000, but had to give it up after filling for bankruptcy.
Thursday's exchange was expected to produce a new record poster price tag, however, the rare movie memorabilia came bundled with several other classic posters for films such as "King Kong" and "The Invisible Man," so the sale did not qualify.
There's a good chance a future sale will, though. DeLuca, who also lays claim to owning the largest movie photo collection, believes "the greatest movie poster in the world" would sell for two million dollars.
If he decides to give it up, that is.
Since there are only three other surviving copies of the particular piece designed by German artist Heinz Schulz-Neudamm — one rumored to belong to Leonardo DiCaprio, one to the Museum of Modern Art and the other to the Austrian National Library museum — it would be hard to give up the poster. But DeLuca's not ruling out the possibility.
"I'm not saying I would never sell it," he said when asked about his plans for the vintage design. "Someone could make me an offer I couldn't refuse."