Well I’d like to say that I was persuaded to write about our own eBay sales by the overwhelming vote that I should. After all, it was 100% in favour. There on the other hand, there was only one vote. But as that voter also correctly worked the eBay seller ID and outed us in the comments, there’s not much point in being coy any more. So now you can all see the piles of slightly underwhelming posters that have piled up by accident over the years.
But in a way it’s a relief. Not because I’m desperate to publicise them, but because there are one or two which I’d have definitely mentioned on here had someone else been selling them. Like this LMS/LNER poster for example.
It’s a rum ‘un. It would be quite unusual just for being a photographic railway poster produced before the Second World War (the NMSI dates it to 193o, but as the book was published in 1932 my guess would be that’s the actual date). But it’s even odder because it’s not a simple railway poster; instead it’s promoting a book about Scotland. The idea being, I assume, that you would read the book, be seized by a desire to go immediately to Scotland and then book your tickets with the railway. Which is not unreasonable, but I’ve still never seen anything like this before. Anyone else?
It came, like so much else on eBay at the moment, from the last Morphets sale. In this case, it came from one of the very last lots of assorted odds and ends, and which also included the four Jock Kinneir typeface posters. So rather a treasure trove in the end. But we will not – and I can say this with some certainty – ever put this on the wall, so it will be much better off somewhere else.
The other posters worth your time are the black and white tourist posters
Not immediately prepossessing, I’ll admit. But that’s part of the reason why they’re interesting. The posters (there’s a few, but I’ll spare you the rest) are all in various shades of black and white, ranging from greenish to sepia, and are printed on some really quite poor paper.
It’s not exactly how you might imagine advertising inercontinental tourism to the Americans in the early 1950s (these posters originally came from the States, so that’s what I’m assuming they were over there doing).
But technicolour was out of reach for Britain after the war; this slightly shoddy monochrome was all the country could afford at the time. So these posters are another reminder of the hardships of the post-war period, when every ounce of the country’s production and economic muscle had to go on exports, as the debts of the war had to be repaid. I wonder whether must sometimes have felt harder than the war itself, like running a marathon and then discovering that you’ve got to walk home.
But that’s not the only reason to look at them. Because, elsewhere on eBay, this is also for sale.
Similarly tatty, but if anything a slightly more challenging image of docks rather than historic castles (I wonder whether any Americans did come over to visit the Lancashire Docks as a result of this poster campaign; I am inclined to suspect not). But this seller has priced his at £49.99, ours started at just 99p.
So who’s right? What’s this poster really worth? Normally I’m in favour of starting with a low opening price on eBay, on the basis that if you’ve described it and photographed it well, a good poster will find its level. But I have to say that a sale in the last few weeks (about which I will blog later this week) has made me wonder whether that’s always true.
It still works for posters like an Eckersley or a Games, where people are searching for those designers and their works. I think that’s probably true of railway posters too. But with less well-known types like these, where there aren’t any obvious keywords that will be searched on, then what do you do? In our case, put them on at 99p because we want to get rid of them – but also put them on with some posters that will be found in searches so that poster collectors might actually see them. And a couple of these have now gone up to £5 already, so they do have some value. But will they ever be worth £50? Perhaps to one person and I’ve got it wrong. Or perhaps not; we will see.
And finally, when I was researching this in the LT Museum catalogue (it says it’s from 1967 and by Peter Roberson on the bottom so I don’t quite know what else I was expecting to find out)
I found this.
Isn’t that fantastic? Does anyone have one going spare? I promise I’ll pay more than 99p for it.