I can’t resist a few instant observations about Morphets. The full set of opinions will have to wait until I’ve got the complete results in front of me and some more time, but for the moment, we’ll deal with what I know.
Firstly, it’s clear that not many people like Daphne Padden and Royston Cooper as much as we do.
This is both a good thing and a bad thing. It does mean that we can pick up some lovely posters for rather less than we thought we’d have to pay – the lot above went for just £85. How anyone can not like that right hand poster in particular is beyond me. I particularly love it because the woman looks like all of my aunts in old photographs, but that’s incidental, it’s wonderful anyway.
But it also means that their work still isn’t getting the acclaim and recognition that they both deserve; particularly when kitschy 1950s seaside posters were going for way more. Perhaps it will just take a bit longer for the 1960s to come into fashion properly.
A possible third explanation (which would account for more than just these prices) is that the kind of people who buy 1960s posters don’t tend to hang around at railway and coach sales in Harrogate. Which is their loss. The left hand one above, incidentally, is an Eckersley which I have never seen before. Has anyone else spotted it elsewhere?
Although more likely is that there just isn’t a developed enough market in coach posters for people to be competing over them. Because 1960s London Underground posters did do well, with most of them hitting £80 – £100+, like this delectable John Burningham.
All of which adds up to the fact that I don’t really have a definite answer on Padden and Cooper values; if you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.
My other main observation is that auctions and their prices operate outside the world of logic, and I shall illustrate this with a small amount of mathematics.
This pair of posters went for £80.
If we say that the poster on the left is worth no more than £20, that values our sailor at £60. So far so good.
This pair then went for £260.
Which makes our friends with the cat worth £200-ish.
Except that, just a few lots later, this went for just £65.
Despite the fact that this version is in better condition. Unless the very subtle differences in the typography matter to people, this makes no sense at all. But I can’t think about it any more because it’s making my head ache.
More thoughts on Morphets later on this week, something completely different tomorrow.