Norfolk film buff's movie memorabilia to go under the hammer

Michael Armstrong, centre, with The Dambusters star Richard Todd

Michael Armstrong, centre, with The Dambusters star Richard Todd - Credit: Ewbank's

When self-confessed Norfolk film fanatic Michael Armstrong died last year aged 73, he left behind a lifetime's collection of movie memorabilia.

Next week it is being sold at an auction featuring more than 300 lots of old posters, autographs and books through auctioneers Ewbank's.

The Great Escape poster with an estimate of between £800-£1200

The Great Escape poster with an estimate of between £800-£1200 - Credit: Ewbank's

The former solicitor’s clerk had worked at the old Regal Cinema in Wymondham in his youth and following its closure he created his very own Regal at his home.

The Beatles Help! poster with an estimate of £500 - £800

The Beatles Help! poster with an estimate of £500 - £800 - Credit: Ewbank's

The Regal closed in 1993 but Michael was keen to keep its memory alive, converting his garage into a replica mini Regal and film lovers from far and wide enjoyed his shows and hospitality.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD poster with a value of £400-600

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD poster with a value of £400-600 - Credit: Ewbank's

He and his friend Philip Yaxley founded The Regal Experience. They and their team staged classic Sunday afternoon film shows at what is now the Ex-Servicemen’s Club and raised money to help charities and good causes.


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Many of the stars featured in the films were delighted to be invited to Wymondham to meet the people and talk about their life and times.

The Brides of Dracula poster with a value of £400-£600

The Brides of Dracula poster with a value of £400-£600 - Credit: Ewbank's

Among the lots at the auction being held on Friday, May 7 are autographs from stars such as Barbara Windsor, Doris Day and Joan Collins plus books and more unusual items such as a Sun-Pat hot salted peanuts machine, a bubble gum machine and a Regal Cinema ice cream tray.

Quatermass and The Pit poster, estimated at between £700-£1,000

Quatermass and The Pit poster, estimated at between £700-£1,000 - Credit: Ewbank's

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More than 300 posters for films including the Great Escape, Yellow Submarine, Girl On A Motorcycle and Planet Of The Apes feature, these are expected to reach more than £500 each.

Alastair McCrea, Ewbank’s partner and specialist said: “Michael Armstrong was unique in his love of cinema and his dedication to the world of film and this comes across in his collection.

“The sheer number of posters ranging across such a wide spectrum of film genres and stretching over such a long time period is impressive enough.

The Beatles Yellow Submarine poster, with an estimate of £700 - £1,000

The Beatles Yellow Submarine poster, with an estimate of £700 - £1,000 - Credit: Ewbank's

"But what really sets this apart for collectors is their excellent condition.

"This is because they have remained in the hands of their original recipient who worked in The Regal and later set up his own cinema operation, and because he took great pains to store them carefully.

"This makes a huge difference to their appeal and value.”

Surrey-based auctioneers Ewbank's are holding the auction on Friday, May 7 at 12pm. For more information see www.ewbankauctions.co.uk

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