Sold on eBay this weekend*, proof that poster design hadn’t gone into a complete decline by the 1970s, in the shape of this wonderful London Zoo poster by Abram Games.
I think this is great, and that’s a bit of a rare event. Because, in my mind, Abram Games is rather like oysters or Gainsborough. Everyone else thinks they’re wonderful, and I know I’m supposed to think that they’re fabulous as well, but I can’t do it. I can admire them, I can see why other people pay lots of money for them (ish) but I just don’t like them that much. With Abram Games, his posters are great pieces of design, but more often than not they feel to me a bit worthy, if not dour, and I wouldn’t necessarily want them hanging on my wall. This, however, has a real lightness of touch which makes it a pleasure to look at – and the tiger (edit: of course that’s what it is) is smiling. Who wouldn’t want to live with that.
Another surprise about this auction was the finishing price of just over £156, which felt quite low. This isn’t just because it’s a lovely poster of a kind which doesn’t come up that often, but also because of idiosyncracies of eBay keyword search. Named designers sell much better than good design, and Games seems to be – correct me if you think otherwise – the top search in posters. So a bit of a surprise that this didn’t turn into a more expensive battle.
If all of that fuzziness and folding is giving you a headache, by the way, this is what it ought to look like in focus and with a bit of light restoration.
*You will notice as this blog goes on that I’ll point you to some eBay auctions while they’re going on, and to others after they’ve finished. This may be a bit infuriating – for which I apologise – but it doesn’t take the mind of Einstein to work out that it rather depends on whether or not we’ve decided to bid on them. These days, it’s hard enough to pick up a bargain on eBay without inviting half the internet (or, as things stand at the moment, the rather smaller number of readers of this blog) to bid on the posters we’re after as well.