The only known copy of Alfred Hitchcock's first directorial effort has come to light in New Zealand, sparking great interest among film collectors.
The White Shadow was produced in 1923 when Hitchcock was just 24. He wrote and co-directed the piece, as well as editing the footage.
The three reels from the silent film were unearthed among a number of artefacts sent to the New Zealand Film Archive in 1989 from the collection of film projectionist Jack Murtagh.
The three reels are believed to show the first half of the film. It is not known if reels four to six are extant.
David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics, told the BBC that the news is "one of the most significant developments in memory".
"These first three reels offer a priceless opportunity to study his visual and narrative ideas when they were first taking shape."
Hitchcock is hugely popular with movie memorabilia collectors, thanks to his pioneering techniques and the continuing popularity of his films.
We would expect the reels to prove immensely popular with collectors if they ever appeared at auction, due to their importance in shaping Hitchcock's future career and unique nature.
An original single sheet poster from the Hitchcock-directed Psycho film achieved $1,314 at an auction in 2008, while eight cinema posters from the same film made a combined $2,151 in 2009.
For now the reels will be housed at a post-production film studio in Wellington, New Zealand.
- Click here to view our Memorabilia stock items for sale
- Learn how you can get pleasure and profit by investing in film memorabilia
- Read all the latest Memorabilia news
Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today