Cheap and Expensive

Bonus extra blog post today (although I can’t type very well at the moment because my fingers are freezing).  I was going to put the eBay news on the end of yesterday’s post, but then it turned out that there was quite a lot on offer.  So now they have a post of their own instead.

The posters up on eBay at the moment seem to fall into a few tidy categories.  Firstly are expensive posters which probably have a right to be expensive.  Top of this list is this Jack Merriott British Railways poster.

Jack Merriott Findhorn British Railways poster

With just a few hours to go it’s already at £415  – a price which will probably have risen even higher by the time I press ‘publish’ on this post.  It might well make almost as much as the version which went at Morphets two years ago, which sold for £600.  For the right poster, it’s starting to look as though eBay wins hands down over the auction houses, simply because the fees are so much lower.  That’s if you’re selling of course; for buyers, I’m not so sure.  I still slightly balk at spending that much money on something I haven’t seen in the flesh.

Another example of the righteously expensive is another British Railways poster, also going today and currently at £142.

Edward Wesson vintage British Railways poster 1950s Moulsham

Finally in this category is a lovely London Transport poster which has been mentioned in dispatches on here before.

Vintage London Transport poster How to make a party go D M Earnshaw

The Buy It Now price of £390 strikes me as a bit more of a dealer level than an eBay level.  But then it is framed, and given what the Findhorn poster is going for anything could be possible these days.

Category two is expensive things which are currently going cheap.  Like this Guinness poster which is currently at £10.50 but, if it is original, is going for a song.

Vintage guinnes poster gilroy Zookeeper and seal

Of course whether something is original or not is always the question looming over every eBay listing.  The dimensions look right on this one, although it is a bit clean.  Any thoughts anyone?

Also cheap is this very odd survival – although I have no idea what it should actually be worth, I suspect it is more than the current £20.  It’s a poster for the 1929 Royal Opera House Ball.  What larks.

Royal Opera House Ball 1929 poster

But it’s rather good, isn’t it.  No word of an artist though.

In the other corner is expensive things which probably should be cheap, and we’ve got just one contender here, this Tom Purvis, which I have difficulty imagining someone paying £149 for.

Tom Purvis Empire Buy British poster

Now don’t get me wrong, because it’s a perfectly good poster, but I just don’t think many people want to hang it on their walls. Or do they?  I shall watch and wait and see.

Then of course there are cheap things that probably should stay that way.  I have a sneaking affection for this British Railways poster – it’s probably the cat – but that still doesn’t make it worth very much.

Vintage British Railways poster Plymouth and Cornwall timetable

So £2.99 is probably about right.   While even £20 seems a bit steep for this National Savings poster, even with the Coronation interest.

National Savings vintage coronation poster

Why were National Savings posters so uniformly dreary, when so many of the posters around them were so good?  Truly I do not know.

Those were going to be your lot, but even as I’ve been writing, some more listings have been passed over to me, and they both come under the heading of things that do not fit into my neat categories at all because I have no idea what they are worth.

This man is selling a big set of Kodak shop display posters.  Given the spelling of color, they are probably American, but I won’t hold that against them too much.

1950s Kodak display card

1950s Kodak display card

The starting price for each is £19.99 but I have no idea if that is fair or not.

This, meanwhile, is not a poster despite appearances to the contrary.  It’s a showcard.

Tom Eckersley vintage Guinness poster showcard

But as it’s currently priced at 99p I can say with some confidence that it is a bargain.  And would look rather good on someone’s bookshelves, I think.

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4 Comments

  1. mm
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The odd thing is that the same River Findhorn poster came round a couple of weeks ago with a starting price of £99.99 and received no bids whatsoever! The two bidders fighting over it now must have been away on holiday…although even that is not much of an excuse these days.
    The Essex poster also came round before with a start price of £149.99. It will be interesting to see where that ends up…
    I was attracted by the Purvis EMB poster, but not the price!

  2. crownfolio
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s all very interesting indeed. Although the story of the Essex poster does prove that a high starting price isn’t always the way to get a good sale. I feel slightly as though we should have noticed the Findhorn last time round, but never mind.

  3. William Burden
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, as a copy of the Merriott Findhorn poster sold at the GWRA auction at Pershore in November for £110. I know, because that’s what I had to pay! Framed, it looks very good in our local office in Forres. All I need now is a nice British Railways poster of Telford so that I can hang it in my office! Incidentally, does anyone find that the ebay search thingy misses some items? I have a saved search using the same criteria – collectables>transportation>railwayana>paper railwayana>advertising/posters but neither the Merriott or the Wesson came up.

  4. crownfolio
    Posted May 8, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Value, as ever, relative. Which doesn’t detract from the fact that £110 is clearly a very good price for Findhorn. I will keep an eye out for a Telford poster.

    And yes, eBay can be very temperamental, especially if it is sorting by ‘best match’ as that’s it’s opinion of what you want, which can be a bit odd. One way round this is to sort by listing time, which keeps it to facts. But even so we miss things sometimes too.

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