Auction news and reviews today. Well that’s the theory, but in truth I’m not sure what to type next, because I can’t make head nor tail of the Onslows results. Some things sold, quite a lot of other things didn’t, but there’s no kind of pattern in it that I can find.
The best result was £5,000 (estimate £3,000 to £4,000) for Helen McKie’s Waterloo Station during wartime.
I am pleased to report that the Post Office in Space also went for a well-deserved £130.
On the other hand, I was somewhat disgruntled to see this Unger go for £40 over estimate because that means the we didn’t win it.
Curses. I want it even more now. It would have gone so well with our ravens too.
But those were the few glimmers of excitement in some otherwise fairly quiet results. The vast majority of posters that sold went for within or even under their estimates. I know they’re not classics, but I was still surprised to see these two Shell posters going for just £130 and £95.
World War Two posters were sold, or weren’t, with what seems to be no pattern at all to me. Why did this one go for £410 for example?
While this Abram Games went for just £90.
I ought to be relieved that not everyone shares my tastes, but the confusion just makes my head spin.
You can multiply that bewilderment by ten when it comes to the railway posters, I simply don’t understand the logic behind what sells and what doesn’t, if there is any to be found. I suppose it may just depend on something as random as whether or not potential bidders have a sentimental attachment to the particular places depicted. If you can enlighten me more than that, please do say.
All of which makes trying to guess prices at the forthcoming Great Central Railwayana Auction even more difficult than usual, given the ususal absence of any estimates at all. There’s a fair selection of posters on offer there, a quite surprising number of which I like. And this isn’t just because I am trying to be well-disposed towards railway posters and their collectors (more on this another day).
You do still have to wade through quite a few pictures of trains to get to them, mostly by Terence Cuneo. This one is so much of a picture of a train though that it is actually funny.
I would love to have heard the commissioning process for this one. We want them to travel to Scotland for their holidays, what shall we show? The lochs? Edinburgh Castle? No, I’ve got a much better idea, the engineering of the Forth Bridge and a train. That’ll entice them.
If that doesn’t persuade you, how about dead monks and missing windows?
Less obviously odd is this post-war poster for Teignmouth by Mayes, but I still find it a bit uncanny.
I can’t work out if it’s the night time, the faint traces of pointilism or just the fact that it looks as though it was painted in 1932. Answers on a postcard please. Preferably from Teignmouth.
There are of course more straightforward railway posters to be had too. I like this Fred Taylor partly for the sentimental reasons mentioned above, because it’s of a place I know.
What’s also quite satisfying though is that this corner of Wells Market Place still looks just like that. Which I suspect may not be true of this view of Southend.
If this is all getting a bit traditional for you, there is also some more modern typography on offer of a kind that I am always a sucker for.
In both cases, they date from 1960, and there’s an interesting set of thoughts to follow there one day about the updating and modernisation of the traditional art form of the railway poster.
Finally, my favourite poster of the lot, which isn’t actually anything to do with the railways at all, but is both completely 1950s and something I’ve never seen before.
Which has to be quite an achievement this year.