Hamster Joy

This poster would be worthy of your attention for its headline alone, because Hamster Joy is indeed how it is being advertised on eBay.

Hamster Joy Celestine Piatti vintage poster 1960

I think the caption really means something like saving is fun, but Hamster Joy is much more pleasing.  If that tickles your fancy, you will also be pleased to know that it comes “without linen on backside’. Although you may be less chuffed to discover that they want about £160 for it.

But I’m not just posting it for the pleasures of the mangled translation. This poster is just the tip of an iceberg, an iceberg so huge that it is forcing me to go off our usual paths and into the strange territory of the European poster.  In fact Hamster Joy is just one of almost 1,500 posters being sold out of Switzerland by PosterConnection.  Want to see a few more?

Donald Brun Gas poster 1956
Donald Brun, 1956, £266

Celestine Piatti carpet ad with contented cat 1960
Celestine Piatti, 1960, £244

H.+L.Gantenbein Sport vintage poster 1948
H.+L.Gantenbein, 1948, £1,152

They’re all being sold as Buy It Now, in dollars, hence the slightly odd pricing.  The listings suggest that they will accept Best Offers too; a few seem to have been sold this way, although our offer on this Karo – the only British poster in there – was rejected.  But then it was a bit cheeky.

Karo Happy Christmas travelling vintage coach poster
Karo, 1960, £133

I’m guessing that’s a coach poster – any thoughts, anyone?

What will be obvious already is that this an incredible set of posters being sold here.  I do know of a couple of huge collections in Switzerland, one of which has been up for sale as a whole for some time (details here in case you have a yen for Swiss posters and a ton of cash to dispose of).  But the illustrations of that one seem earlier, and I can’t match up a single image between them – this is a much more contemporary and modernist collection.

Vintagetravel poster texas phoenix air 1960
Anonymous,1960, £139

Which then suggests that it’s the other big Swiss poster collection (who have bought some things from us in the past) just disposing, as we did, of some unwanted flotsam and jetsam.  In which case I’d very much like to see what they’re keeping.

What’s on sale covers pretty much every poster subject you can imagine, so what I post on here can never be more than a partial survey.  Please do go and look for yourself, because it’s an education for the eye.  For example, there are several Brussels Expo posters that I haven’t seen before.

Villemot vintage poster Brussels Expo 1958
Villemot, 1958, £72

Jacques Riches vintage poster Brussels Expo 1958
Jacques Riches, 1958, £218

In fact the collection as a whole is quite strong on posters for Expos and trade fairs in general.

Danish Textile exhibition vintage poster 1950 H Simon
H Simon, 1950, £388

vintage poster Japan trade fair 1956
Anonymous, 1955, £466

Texas World fair bull vintage poster Buelow 1965
Buelow, 1965, £175

But looking at the collection also makes me consider some of the differences between European and British posters at this time.  To start with, Johnny Foreigner is much better at doing animals than we were (the Gilroy Guinness ads being perhaps an honourable exception).  Some of these, like Donald Brun’s Zwicky cat, are classics.

Donald Brun Zwicky cat 1946
Donald Brun, 1946, £533

But there are plenty more where that came from.

Fox Lottery Pierre Bataillard vintage poster 1947
Pierre Bataillard, 1947, £278

Frog juice Donald Brun 1958 vintage poster
Donald Brun, 1958, £339

Piatti seal vintage postal poster 1958
Piatti, 1958, £72

On a more serious note, one thing that I do envy about European posters is that so much more of their commercial work has survived.  Our walls are rather dominated by railway and London Transport , and I would  love to have some posters for food and other household stuffs up there too.  But tbey just don’t survive in the UK.  If someone can explain to me why they do survive in Europe (could you write to Zwicky or Knorr and ask for a poster?), I would, genuinely like to know.

Baby food vintage poster Piatti 1957
Piatti, 1957, £133

Coop laundry vintage poster 1940
Anonymous, 1940, £181

Given that our household would grind to a halt without coffee, I’d particularly like something along these lines.

Coop coffee vintage poster H.R.Erdmann 1960
H.R.Erdmann, 1960, £115

Rocca Mocca Coffee vintage poster Fritz Bühler 1958
Fritz Bühler, 1958, £181

On a slightly different tack, these two posters are a delight simply because they remind me of the days when the telephone was like a talking internet.  Well nearly.  These are for news and weather, but Mr Crownfolio can remember dialing up to hear the chart rundown back in the day.

parrot news via the telephone Piatti  1967
Piatti, 1967, £212

Weather telephone vintage poster René Gilsi 1950
René Gilsi, 1950, £121

There are so many posters, and so many great ones there, that I could go on almost indefinitely.  But I won’t; instead just two final observations.

The first is that an exhibition about House Cats sounds like a very good idea, and I would like to see one please.

House cat exhibition poster C.Kuhn 1994
C.Kuhn, 1994, £115

The second is that, as the observant amongst you may have noticed, I really like the work of Celestine Piatti a great deal.  I kept finding myself pulling them out from the listings without, most of the time, realising they were by him.  Really, they are excellent.

Piatti 1955 Knorr poster
Piatti, 1955, £175

Piatti Owl Joy
Piatti, 1960, £181

Furthermore, he must be a great man, because he has written a book about Happy Owls.  It’s a good job that he’s not British, and so outside our self-imposed guidelines, otherwise I think a very expensive spending spree would be coming on.

  • Thankyou – and I can see how Piatti would appeal to you for the animalarium. I’m only just learning how fantastic he is, though!

  • Hi again – agreed on Piatti; he is very under-rated, however he did design (‘doodle’) masses of posters so the best ones are beginning to get expensive – eg his work for Flims and other Swiss winter resorts; his work for products though do still seem to be quite common. Keep up the good work on the blogs – fascinating stuff, especially on how boring the consigned items to some auctions. As discussed a wee while ago, have added a link to your blog from my own poster site. Best, Russell

  • Interesting, thank you. Having no idea about European posters, I don’t really know how the prices for commercial posters compare to those reached by the travel ones. If I keep seeing posters as nice as that, though, I may have to find out…

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