CGC-certified 1937 Snow White Lobby Card Featured in Heritage Sale

Posted on 10/28/2021

A complete set of Psycho lobby cards is also up for grabs.

As motion pictures grew in popularity in the first half of the twentieth century, movie theaters became movie palaces. They were opulent with ornate architecture and lavish decor. To fit the vibe, the promotional materials displayed in movie theaters, which were known as lobby cards, were also of the highest artistic quality.

A Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs lobby card dating from the 1937 theater release by Walt Disney Productions, and now certified by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®), is featured in a Heritage Auctions sale set for November 20-21. The card, which was one of eight that were released for the film, is known as the “Witch Card” and is graded CGC 9.2. One of the most sought after of those in the Snow White set, it has an estimate of $1,500 to $3,000.

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“Who is the fairest one of all?”

The art featured on the Snow White “Witch Card” shows the Wicked Queen in her witch disguise, hunched over a cauldron and stirring the magic potion that she’ll use to cast the “Sleeping Death” spell on Snow White. The headline that appears at the top of the card promotes the movie as Disney’s “First Full Length Feature Production” and explains to viewers that it will be shown “in the Marvelous Multiplane Technicolor.”

Snow White was not only Disney’s first animated feature film, but also the first full-length traditionally animated feature produced by any studio. It was a commercial success, with international earnings of more than $8 million. It was also a critical success, honored with an Academy Honorary Award in 1939 that included one full-size Oscar and seven miniature ones.

What are lobby cards?

Lobby cards were the most popular form of advertising displayed in movie theaters in the early twentieth century. They were a series of cards printed on heavy paper, usually at 11” by 14” and most often issued in sets of eight. They showed a series of images from the movie that were displayed in lobbies and meant to tease theaters goers, much as modern movie trailers do today.

While the earliest examples of lobby cards were usually simple photographs, they evolved to become sophisticated artworks that were often designed by famous artists such as Norman Rockwell and Alberto Vargas. Prior to the advent of color printing, coloring on the cards was done by hand.

While CGC is best known for grading comics and trading cards, it also offers expert grading and encapsulation for most magazines, concert posters from the most popular vintage poster series, and lobby cards, including 11” x 14” cards and mini window cards. More details are available here.

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“Well, a boy’s best friend is his mother.”

The Heritage sale also offers a complete set of 11” x 14” lobby cards from Psycho, the iconic Alfred Hitchcock thriller released by Paramount Pictures in 1960. The cards feature colorized stills from the film showing Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin and Martin Balsam. The stills are framed with the movie’s title and a list of the leading actors.

The complete set of Psycho cards provide an excellent example of how lobby cards were used to promote upcoming films. They illustrate a set of key scenes from the movie that introduce the lead characters and convey the plot’s tension without providing spoilers. The artwork also captures Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic style of shot composition. 

Five of the Psycho lobby cards are graded CGC 9.6, two are graded CGC 9.8, and one is graded CGC 9.2. Heritage has placed an estimate on the set between $1,500 and $3,000.

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