For many, the appeal of posters for collection lies largely in the reason for which they were successful in the first place, their immediate visual impact. Most poster collectors will specialise in posters of a partciular type, including

“Anyone beginning a collection should also spend as much time as possible visiting auction houses and dealers to examine posters closely. However many books you read, there is no substitute for ‘hands-on’ experience; handling the genuine article is by far the best way of learning to spot reproductions and fakes.” The provenance of posters is important, but “provided collectors but from a reputable source that guarantees the authenticity of the poster, they should have little to worry about”.

Specialist poster dealers and auction houses are the most common source for purchasing posters. Auction house catalogues offer a wealth of useful information, most commonly the name of the artist (if available), the printing technique, the date of printing, the size, and a price guide (although this cannot be predicted with certainty, and does not include commission + VAT). Many catalogues also give details of the condition of the poster.

The key factors affecting the value of posters:

Gleeson advises that “provided you buy from a reputable souce and collect only posters that genuinely appeal to you, rather than an investment, your collection will give you great lasting pleasure – and any increase in value will be an extra bonus when you decide to sell.”

Information extracted and summarised from Janet Gleeson, Miller’s Collecting Prints and Posters, 1997, pp.92-93

I still hope to get some information for this soon from a vintage poster dealer (as it’s not really my field of expertise), and get an idea of what Onslow’s have recently sold posters for. Meanwhile you can find some information on the vintage poster stores page, or use the Miller’s Collectors Guides. Meantime, it’s interesting to see how the 2009 renaissance of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan has made what would have probably been a “throwaway” poster into a Collector’s Dream!

4 Responses

  1. “I have an original WW1 poster painted by the UK artist T.H. Robinson (Heath Robinson) and signed by the artist. It is a Red Cross poster advertising VAD PINNER with a soldier in trench uniform in the foreground and trenches/barbed wire/artillery barrels in the background. The colours are very bright, mainly bright blue background, a Red Cross, full length soldier in foreground. Condition is very good.
    Grateful you advise me if this poster is well known and what sort of price the original might fetch.” 20/03/10

    1. “Hi Jeremy. I have now moved my site under the URL I have no idea on valuations past the information on this page, and I should think that your best bet is to contact Onslow’s who specialise in such posters. Sounds like a great poster, love to see a pic of it!” 23/03/10

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