Incoming at Crownfolio Towers has been the story this week.
Three times in the last couple of weeks a job lot of posters has come up on eBay and, as no one else seemed to want them very much, three times they’ve ended up as ours. Net result, more posters than one household strictly needs (35 in total, if you must ask).
So we are now the go-to people for vintage dental hygiene,
food hygiene posters
and 1960s road safety messages.
Lucky old us.
Now, these kinds of lots are interesting for a whole heap of reasons, many of which I’ve gone over on here before. They’re a window into sets of posters which might otherwise have disappeared entirely. I can’t imagine there are too many collectors of posters about dustbin hygiene management, to start with.
Or supersized flies.
Lots are also interesting because they tend to preserve bad posters along with the good, and quite a few of the posters we have bought are, if I’m honest, second-rate. But then, if we’re just writing about what’s graphically appealing, is that a proper reflection of what really happened? To start with, we’re writing a story that’s going to change every time tastes alter. Although some posters might never make it back into fashion.
If they were ever there in the first place.
What’s more, there’s quite often something to be learned from seeing a group of posters together, even if it’s just the taste of the person who collected them at the time. These lots offer an insight into some of the less glamourous jobs the CoI were doing in the 1950s and 1960s.
While the RoSPA posters do give a real sense of an entire campaign, probably at about the same sort of time.
All of which is the intellectual justification, but an even bigger reason for buying job lots like these is the hope, never far from the mind of the collector, that lurking in the pile might be a hidden gem. And we did get lucky this time; the dental health set included this Reginald Mount which I’ve never seen before.
Which considering that the entire set only cost us 55p, really has to be a bargain.
I also quite like this RoSPA poster, even if it is a bit battered.
But for us, lots have a particular compulsion. This is because, once upon a few years ago, we bought a huge lot of posters from eBay, based only on a single shot of a pile of posters spread on someone’s floor. Admittedly that pile did seem to contain a Guinnes poster, two 1950s London Transport posters and quite a bit more, so we bet quite a lot of money on it, having both promised each other that there would be no recriminations if it turned out that we had spent a lot of money on a pile of rubbish.
Fortunately, it was worth every penny. Below are just a couple of the unexpected joys that came out of the package when it finally arrived.
There were plenty more too – most of the classics in our collection came from that one single purchase.
We’ll probably never get anything like that again. But even so, it’s still almost impossible to pass on a lot of posters when we see one, just in case.