Behind the front door of an unassuming house in Canberra’s north lies a treasure trove of Hollywood history — hundreds of movie posters ranging from Gone with the Wind to Planet of the Apes.
Steven Gerakedis began collecting the posters in the 1980s after his infatuation with films began as a small child.
On a family holiday to Sydney he walked out of a shopping centre to see an entire building advertising The Sound of Music.
“I’d never heard anything about The Sound of Music, I didn’t know anything about it, all I knew was that I wanted to see it,” he said.
“So I took my mother’s hand on one side and my little sister’s on the other and we went across the road and bought tickets.
“That is an example of what the movie posters are supposed to do.”
Most of Mr Gerakedis’ framed posters hang on the walls of his home cinema, with others lining the hallways, but he said he had not once counted his collection.
“I don’t think in terms of numbers. It’s always the item,” he said.
“I started with the 60s [films] and then I went back to the silents and then onto the 30s, 40s, 50s and right up to posters of today.
“And there are collections within collections, there are Hitchcocks or Audrey Hepburns.”
But mostly Mr Gerakedis collected posters from his favourite graphic artist Howard Terpning, who he considers “the Rembrandt of the movie poster world”.
“He did movies like The Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago, Guns of Navarone, Oliver. A lot of films in the 60s were his work,” he said.
Mr Gerakedis said while he was able to buy in when movie posters were still relatively affordable, in the business he was “pretty late on the scene”.
“Now it’s difficult because producers and actors are collecting. In the 80s and 90s there was a gap where I just moved in,” he said.
Though that does not mean he has not come up against big names — one time he was outbid by a mystery buyer who turned out to be Steven Spielberg.
House built around the artwork
To house his movie treasures and extensive range of bronzes, Mr Gerakedis built an equally artistic home in Canberra’s north — one with ample wall space.
“This house was built around the collection really,” he said.
The home reflects another of Mr Gerakedis’ first loves — grand movie theatres, with their intricate design details.
“The big ones were huge, sitting thousands of people and they used to be full once,” he said.
“I’m sorry to have seen them all go now. It’s a loss.”
Mr Gerakedis’ home took six years to plan and two-and-a-half years to build, but now he is selling up and looking to shed what remains of his poster collection.
Over the years he has sold his posters to some big names, but said as he was “just a collector”, he was looking to start new journey.
“I just love looking at them and it will be very difficult to move on,” he said.
“I ended up having some wonderful posters and it was a joy collecting them. It was a real joy collecting them.”