In touch with the everyday life of the nation

As promised last week, another look at Sotherans and their new-found love of posters which I had hitherto never thought of as valuable, never mind the preserve of a Mayfair dealer,  But I am always willing to learn.

What’s most interesting about the latest crop of posters that they’ve put up on their website is that there are a whole slew of GPO posters in there.  This, by Donald Smith has to be my absolute favourite.

Donald Smith Vintage GPO poster Post Office Savings Bank

So much so that I almost thought about paying the £125 that they want for it.  But didn’t, you’ll be relieved to hear.

I’ve mentioned my utter lack of knowledge about Donald Smith before (when a few of his posters, including the one above, turned up in the 1962 Poster Annual. Unfortunately nothing has turned up to change that since then, so I still can’t tell you the first thing about him except that he made very good posters indeed.

In the same sort of vein are a Stan Krol and Harry Stevens.

Stan Krol vintage gpo poster post office savings bank

Harry Stevens Vintage GPO POster Post office savings bank knight

There’s a weird lack of consistency in the dimensions of these posters which is a bit puzzling, as they must have been made for a whole range of different displays.

Just to add further variety, there are also a couple of what I think are GPO schools posters, although I’ve never seen them before, both proudly promoting the Post Office’s role as a promotor of national unity, ‘in touch with the everyday life of the nation’.  Which is probably something which should have been thought about a bit more before so many of them were closed down.

Walter Hoyle Harlow New Town GPO schools poster

Norman Jacques vintage GPO poster schools

The sheer joyous optimism about new town life in Harlow in the Walter Hoyle poster at the top is rather wonderful, while the Norman Jacques below more falls under alright if you like that sort of thing.  Neither of them, though, are ever going to be worth £145 in my book.  Nor is this other Hoyle going to persuade me to part with £225 either.

Walter Hoyle GPO savings poster 4 nations

But the griping about the prices is really a bit incidental.  What’s odd (and if I’m honest a bit unnerving) is that this kind of poster has suddenly found its way into the mainstream.  I am bemused, I really am.

Further bemusement is also caused by finding this anonymous CoI poster in there too.

CoI vintage civil defence poster post war

I’m guessing it’s early 1950s, but is there really a market for Cold War memorabilia?  This Beverley Pick is at least a bit less of a surprise.

Beverley Pick ATS vintage world war two propaganda poster

But what still confounds me most about all of this is how the usual fare of Cuneos and railway landscapes have almost completely vanished from the Sotherans roster.  To be sure, there are one or two in there, but not in the swarms there once were.  Instead, they’ve been replaced by, well, this kind of thing.  Posters I like and am interested in to be precise.  And I’m not sure I like that, I don’t think I’m ready for my tastes to become mainstream.  Quite apart from anything else, I’ll never be able to afford another poster again.

  • Curses! These are just the auction estimates, aren’t they? Maybe there is still some degree of hope that Sotheran’s have misjudged the market … I do hope so; I was looking forward to amassing a nice collection of GPO & Savings Bank posters.

    Actually, I do like the Norman Jacques ‘Lowryesque’ scene, having worked to promote & protect the Northern industrial heritage for many years. It looks very like Stockport to me, with those steps, but could equally well be a composite of any & all Northern towns built in the grim Pennine hills.

  • Sadly, Sotherans are a dealer not an auction house so that is very exactly the price they expect you to pay (I have no idea whether they haggle or not, but given their Mayfair location, I suspect not). I think you may yet be able to get your poster collection though, as I can’t see them fetching these prices anywhere else, like eBay or Onslows. Although if they ever do, we are quids in.

    You are very right about the location, it’s Chapel-en-le-Frith according to the BPMA website. So a Northern Towns spotter badge for you.

  • Of course they are! > strikes forehead in effort to jostle memory into action<

    Now I feel better, because I do recall looking at the Sotherans site when I first got interested in the Shell wallcharts – & now I have lots of these for considerably less than the price of just one of theirs!

    Gather ye posters while ye may, eh?

  • Well exactly.

    Although Mr Crownfolio and I do occasionally consider how useful time travel would be in going back to some auctions of the past to collect armloads of bargains. Even the oldest auctions on the Onslows sites have amazing prices, £10-20 for really excellent WW2 posters. Never mind.

  • And another thing … looking at my little collection of Savings Bank poster images, they correlate surprisingly exactly with those on offer from Sotherans, suggesting that I got them from there in the first place & that this particular batch of posters may have been on offer a while ago, with no takers.

    Hopefully that makes us both feel better!

    Wearing my Spotter’s badge with pride …

  • Ah, but one day, in our golden years, we will be able to sit back smugly with the walls around us covered in fabulous rare things, while the young people say “If only we could go back in time to when you could snap up wonderful London Transport posters for only £100 & Paddens for pennies”

    ’tis the way of the world …

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