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An Alberta man hopes to reel in some cash as he auctions about 40 film posters that date back to the early days of sound in movies.

Blair Pitre said he stumbled across a treasure trove of vintage movie posters in his house two weeks after he moved in back in 2007.

Built in 1912, the house turned out to be something of a time capsule of the early days of Hollywood talkies.

"It's kind of neat to find actually," the 39-year-old construction worker said from the home he's renovating himself in Lacombe, Alta.

Some of the posters date back to the late 1920s and early 30s and feature stars such as Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Gary Cooper, Bela Lugosi and Warner Oland.

Mr. Pitre said he found about 360 posters and film title cards that had likely been displayed in the lobby of the local movie house. The man who owned the theatre had at one time owned the house.

The images were stuffed in a crawl space, under floorboards and under the roof of his house - probably put there for insulation.

"I knew it was kind of cool because the pictures and the colour, everything was very vibrant still," Mr. Pitre said.

A rare insert and title card for the 1930 movie Anna Christie that starred Greta Garbo in her first talking picture could net $5,000 U.S., said Grey Smith of Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas.

Garbo is seen in the poster gazing up into the eyes of co-star Charles Bickford.

One of the rarest and most valuable in the lot is a one-sheet poster of the 1929 movie The 13th Chair, said Mr. Smith. The film starred Lugosi in a supporting role, two years before he made his monster hit Dracula.

It's also valued at $5,000, as is a half-sheet poster and title card from Bulldog Drummond, which starred Ronald Colman who was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his portrayal of the detective in the 1929 motion picture.

The yellow title card from the 1929 film The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu - which shows eerie green eyes peering out through the card as if through a slat in a doorway - could go for $1,000.

"Vintage movie posters are really very desirable," Mr. Smith said.

Heritage has sold $40-million worth in the last 8 1/2 years. The hottest commodities are the classic horror genre, followed by science fiction flicks of the 1950s.

The title and star of the film, the poster's images and rarity make a poster collectible.

The priciest poster ever was for the 1932 Boris Karloff film The Mummy, sold at Sotheby's in 1997 for $453,000 (U.S.)

Mr. Smith estimates Mr. Pitre could get $50,000 for his posters at the July 16-17 auction in Dallas.

Any money raised would go back into the home, to pay for renovations.

But he has some far out competition.

Posters for movies such as Invasion of the Saucer Men, Attack of the 50-foot Woman and It Came From Outer Space are among more than 1,300 lots being auctioned by Heritage on the same days.

Bidding is already under way at Heritage's website (www.ha.com).

The Canadian Press