If you have to ask, you can’t afford it

Often, I end up writing about posters on here that I, for one, can’t afford.  Like the Royston Cooper Hastings that I mentioned last week, which is fantastic, but at £1000 a pop, I’m probably never going to own it.  I’ve always rather fancied this 1951 Abram Games design too.

Abram Games vintage british railways poster 1951

But as it was last sighted going for £850 at Morphets, it’s unlikely to be making an appearance on our walls any time soon.

Here, however, is something which puts all of that into perspective.  Something so expensive that they don’t even dare tell you the price.

Perhaps I’d better let them describe it.

This outstanding collection of original vintage posters includes many Countries, all Periods, all Topics, all Styles, and most Artists. For major poster designers represented, see the ARTISTS page. This is an ensemble of finest Graphic Designs, covering Graphic History since its beginnings. It is a unique investment opportunity for Museums, Universities, Corporations or Private to establish or complete a significant collection.

(And I’m sorry, but I can’t help hearing that paragraph spoken by a snappily-dressed Russian meercat.  Simples.)

What they mean is 25,ooo posters.   Although only (only!) 17,000 different ones if you discount the duplicates.  How would you even know which were duplicates if you had that many posters?  I forget what posters we own, and ours all fit under the spare bed.

They look like this.

Kellenberger collection page 2a

And this.

Kellenberger collection  page 5a

And this.

Kellenberger image 10

And so on and so on.

If you want to see the full extent of what you’d get for your un-named price, they have their own website here.

They’re the collection of Eric Kellenberger, a Swiss architect who started collecting posters in the late 1960s as a cost-effective way of providing art for his clients’ walls.  (I seem to remember my own excuse for beginning to buy posters being some similar thing about value for money art; a rationalisation that is blown out of the water by the sheer number of posters that we now own but don’t display.)

fly BOAC middle east vintage travel poster AC 1955

Apart from being rather overwhelmed by its sheer size, I don’t have a lot to say about this, mainly because it’s almost entirely foreign.  So much so that the BOAC poster above (c1955) is the only British one I could confidently identify.  There is also a Jersey one, which I can’t find elsewhere, and another with a Kangaroo urging me to Buy Australian Sultanas, which I can live without.  Both the dog and the kangaroo look a bit threatening, if you ask me.

australian sultanas irish free state bacon

The artist list also mentions Zero, but I can’t see any images.

But it’s probably a good job it’s all foreign, because I doubt I could afford to buy one of these, never mind twenty-five thousand.  Anyone else up for it?

Meanwhile elsewhere on the web, a classic pre-war railway poster is up for auction on eBay.

Speed to the West vintage GWR railway poster 1939 eBay

It falls into the category of picture of a train where they want you to see its workings, which makes it quite valuable, if not generally my cup of tea.  But its auction history tells a little story about perceived value and eBay.

Firstly the seller, posterisland, put it on for Best Offer, with a guide price of £2,250.  Funnily enough, no one bought it.

They probably thought that they were being reasonable, as the poster did go for £2,200 at Morphets (and £1,900, and £1,800; he had three…).  But that was for near-perfect nick; this one is a bit battered.  And it’s on eBay.

Then they tried again, as an auction with a £99.99 start price, but also a £1,750 Buy It Now.  Then someone must have told him something because he took it off again twenty minutes later.

Now it is up for auction again, with a start price of £99.99, no scary Buy It Now price, and it has three bids.  And I suspect it will go quite a bit higher by the time it finishes today.  Although possibly not quite as high as the seller would like.   We shall see.

If you do bid and are disappointed, though, I can offer some consolation.

Speed to the West in Cross stitch

The chance to do it in cross stitch.  Kits available online.  There is nothing I can add to that.

  • That reminds me…Do you have any experience of getting posters backed? I could do with finding someone…

  • I do, but am away from home at the moment and so don’t have the contact details – will mail them over at the weekend

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