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Incredible Leonard Schrader Lobby Card Collection Sells

by Allan Maurer (09/04/08).
Buster Keaton item from Schrader's collection

One of the most amazing American collections of movie memorabilia known has sold to an as-yet unnamed foreign buyer.

Leonard Schrader, screenwriter and older brother of director Paul Schrader, died in November 2006. Nine months later, his friend and collaborator David Weisman discovered that Schrader had kept a secret from his friends, his brother and even his wife. He had amassed a collection of 8,642 vintage lobby cards and 5,000 additional movie stills, fan magazines, and heralds.

He kept the collection preserved in large photographer’s binders in his home in the Hollywood hills, although many were well hidden, says Weisman.

Quite possibly the largest and most important collection of lobby cards in existence, rivaling or surpassing those in museum hands, it includes such treasures as 189 Buster Keaton cards in pristine condition.

It also includes seven binders dedicated to John Ford films, six with Fritz Lang items, and many others dedicated to directors, stars and more.

No one knows exactly why Schrader kept the extent of his hobby hidden.

Two national magazines, “Moving Pictures,” and the literary magazine “The Believer” dedicated pages to the Schrader collection in recent months.

In an email to us, Weisman says:

“The collection has been sold, as a whole, and will be soon shipped abroad. The transaction is in final stages of conclusion and the buyer intends to make his own announcement soon, so that is all I can say right now.

“Suffice to say no one in this country had the vision or resources to compete. But the Schrader collection appears to have found the home it deserves – one that’s very much in keeping with the current zeitgeist.”

We’ll let you know when the buyer is revealed.

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