Today’s post is crowdsourcing, Quad Royal style, because lots of very kind people have been sending me links to posters on sale or sold recently. So the least I can do, of course, is share them.
It’s a great poster, and one that I have never ever seen before and can’t find much trace of either, apart from the fact that one sold in the Midlands about three years ago. Despite all that, and an attempt at a frame, the price seems a bit steep to me at £300+ for a starting bid. But thank you to Mike Jacob for putting that my way nonetheless.
Also forthcoming, and emailed to me by Mr Crownfolio upstairs, is a Christies poster sale. But don’t get too excited, this is an Olympic special, and there are very few Olympic posters I can get enthusiastic about, with this Richard Beck from 1956 perhaps the only exception.
Richard Beck, 1956, est £800-1,200
And I definitely don’t want to buy an Olympic torch (there are a surprising number on offer too). Given that, there isn’t a great deal else to report from the catalogue. All I can point you towards are a handful of McKnight Kauffer’s.
The one below has to be my favourite, although this is less a result of the image than the estimate.
McKnight Kauffer, 1925, est. £1,200 – 1,800
We got another one of this series on eBay about eighteen months ago, only for a small fraction of what Christies thinks it is worth, an experience which never fails to please me. And it’s a nicer image, to boot.
There is also a classic Abram Games.
Along with this Peter Roberson, which I am guessing only slips through Christies minimum lot requirements thanks to the Festival of Britain interest.
Peter Roberson, 1950, est. £1,200 – 1,600
My favourite British poster is probably this obscure and slightly pallid Victor Pasmore.
Note the use of British in the sentence above. Because once again, the local talent is having to compete for my attention with a small but lovely set of David Klein posters.
That first one in particular is fabulous, if a touch unaffordable.
The bad news is not just the small selection of posters I want to look at either. As far as I can tell from Christies’ Calendar, this will be their only poster sale this spring. And eBay’s gone into the doldrums too. There’s nothing left for it, I may have to start trawling the railwayana catalogues to keep my hopes up.
There are still a few glimmerings in the provincial auction scene as well, although I might have to get my act together a bit in reporting them to you. James Manning pointed out that Dreweatts have been selling more Percy Drake Brookshaws in a recent sale.
Now I say more because one of my first ever posts on here was about some of his posters being sold at the same auction house. Both then and now they seem to have come from the artist’s family, who have clearly been disposing of what they have in dribs and drabs. And also saving the best stuff until last.
What’s most amusing about these lots is the discrepancy between the estimates and the results. I would have been very happy to get the poster above for the £50-60 that Dreweatt’s estimated. Sadly it went for £550. Although perhaps not sadly, given that I missed the sale.
That wasn’t a freak occurrence either, all the posters reached similarly high prices. The boat race poster below was estimated at £100-150, but sold for almost ten times that, £1,100.
While this classic would have been the bargain of the century at its £60-80 estimate.
But it too went for £1,100.
I swear I will never ever fully understand the poster market. Prices like that make me think that the internet is doing its job in flattening out the market, as anyone with an interest and a tiny bit of understanding of searches on websites can find almost any lot up for sale and bid on it. But why doesn’t that work with eBay then? Why can we buy a McKnight Kauffer on there for a tenth of its Christies price? I think we might need to write a specialist piece of poster market theory, so if there is an economist in the house, can they get in touch? And for anyone else, please do keep sending the auction links and anything else that takes your fancy, they’re very much appreciated.