Only the big screen could capture the might and majesty of General Lew Wallace's sweeping 1881 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The first silent screen spectacular came in 1925 with Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman in the starring roles. That was followed by MGM's $15 million Ben-Hur, which premiered at New York City's Loew's State Theatre on November 18, 1959. The 1959 sound version – "Blockbuster to top all previous blockbusters..." crowed Variety – won an incredible 11 out of 12 Academy Award nominations, bringing home Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actor (Charlton Heston), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Best Director (William Wyler), Best Film Editing, Best Sound, Best Color Cinematography, Best Color Costume Design, Best Special Effects, Best Music and Best Color Art Direction-Set Decoration.
Here are ten valuable 1959 Ben-Hur movie posters, lobby cards and film collectibles that are sure to please and inspire movie memorabilia buffs. The triumphant Ben-Hur returns!
Ben-Hur One Sheet Movie Poster
The standard Ben-Hur one sheet movie poster (27x41-inches) was expertly rendered by illustrator Reynold Brown. One example in folded very fine- condition brought $119.50 at auction.
Ben-Hur one sheet poster $119.50
Ben-Hur Lobby Card Set
A complete set of eight lobby cards (11x14-inches) in very fine+ condition sold at auction for $250.95. These items were originally displayed in movie theater lobbies to promote the film.
Ben-Hur lobby card set $250.95
Ben-Hur Window Card
Window cards (14x22-inches) were displayed in the windows of business for promotional purposes. A 1959 Ben-Hur window card in very fine condition brought a reasonable $21 at auction.
Ben-Hur Black-and-White Movie Still Set & Program
A complete set of 45 8x10-inch black-and-white promotional stills plus a Ben-Hur movie program sold at auction for $388.38.
Ben-Hur Color Movie Still Set
A complete set of 15 8x10-inch color movie stills featuring various scenes from the movie fetched a top bid of $203.15 at auction.
Ben-Hur color movie still set $203.15
Ben-Hur Academy Awards Style One Sheet Movie Poster
MGM quickly capitalized on Ben-Hur's eleven-Oscar win at the Academy Awards, producing posters touting that feat. A one sheet example (27x41-inches) in fine+ condition sold at auction for $43.02.
Ben-Hur French Petite Movie Poster
Foreign Ben-Hur movie posters can be very attractive and collectible. A French petite poster (21x29-inches) featuring the fabulous chariot race in very fine condition brought $478 at auction.
Ben-Hur French petite poster $478
Ben-Hur Roman Drum Chair Props
Original movie props are king with many collectors, but they must have the proper provenance. A pair of fiberglass Roman drum chairs used in Ben-Hur sold at auction for $1,006.
Ben-Hur Insert Movie Poster
A Ben-Hur insert poster (14x36-inches) in rolled very fine condition brought $101.58 at auction.
Ben-Hur Movie Memorabilia Credits
- All auction results and images courtesy Heritage Auctions, Dallas, Texas
Copyright © 2012 William J. Felchner. All rights reserved.