Carefree by coach

I haven’t done a good rummage through eBay for a while.  There is a reason for this, other than simple idleness on my part, which is that there hasn’t been much of interest coming up for a while.  But this has been going on for so long now that it’s probably time to consider the whys and wherefores of this.

Or shall we at least start with the hows.  What seems to be in short supply at the moment is my and Mr Crownfolio’s ideal lots: good quality posters owned by people without a clue about what they are selling.  This is how we like to buy posters, but at the moment these are simply not there.  What’s more, I don’t know where they have gone, either; if anyone can tell me, please do.

What’s there instead falls to either extreme.  There are some more pedestrian advertising posters being sold at a reasonable price.  Of these, my favourite at the moment is this Bristol Zoo effort, with a starting price of just £15.

Bristol Zoo poster polar bears

Also-rans in the same category include this very, um, bright poster for the Woolwich Building Society, yours for just £9.99 Buy It Now.

Woolwich Building Society Manchester branch 1950s poster

Also in the same category is this London Evening Standard poster .

Young Londoners Evening Standard poster

It’s barely worth the £12.53 Buy It Now price as graphic design, but I reckon that as a piece of social history it’s probably worth much more.

Then at the other end of the scale are nice posters at a rather high price.  These are almost entirely sold by our old friends PosterConnection, who are currently selling a coach-load of coach posters.  Here are Harry Stevens and Daphne Padden covering very similar territory, and both priced at £290 Buy It Now (that’s $440).

Harry Stevens East Anglia fisherman coach poster

Daphne Padden East Anglia fisherman coach poster

I’m not sure what I feel about the pricing here.  Those two seem quite expensive to me, this Daphne Padden for Llandudno even more so at £316.

Daphne Padden Llandudno coach poster

While this Royal Blue classic is just £257.  I do not understand, although to be fair I have not read the condition reports as fully as I might do were I going to buy them.  Which I am not.

Daphne Padden Royal Blue fisherman poster

Still, I would like to hope that our copies of these posters are worth that kind of money too.

Not everything they have seems expensive, though.  This Coney Beach poster is £190, which is about what I’d expect it to fetch at a reasonable auction.

Coney Beach travel poster

While this David Klein, should you happen to have Irish connections, is almost a bargain at £237.

David Klein Ireland TWA travel poster

PosterConnection also don’t win the prize for most expensive highly desirable poster on eBay.  That surely must go to this Tom Eckersley classic.

Tom Eckersley Whisky Galore Film poster

Yours for £4,500.  But definitely not mine at that price.

What’s missing in all of this, though, is the middle ground of reasonable, affordable posters.  The pickings are sadly few.  There is this coach poster which has a starting price of £19.99.

Carefree by coach poster

Or this Lander railway poster, with a starting bid of £64.99.

R M Lander NOrthumberland Railway poster

But in truth I don’t much like either of them, so there’s not much consolation to be had.

And elsewhere in the railwayana listings, classic posters are also hitting auction prices.  This LNER Knaresborough poster has already reached £336 and has two more days to go.

Knaresborough LNER post Gawthorner

The poster market on eBay has changed very fast.  Even just five or six years ago, £25 spent on eBay might have bought you this.

Karo soft fruit by post genius GPO poster

Or this.

Properly Packed Parcels Please Tom Bund poster 1967

Or even this.

Andre Amstutz Move Your Farm railway executive poster

But not any more.  So where are we to get our posters from now?

  • Hi

    I have been an avid reader of the blog for the last year.

    I last got in touch a few months ago ref the Shell seasons, lanes etc posters I ended up selling mine for £12 each so I don’t think Onslows will be getting £100 each any time soon.

    One ambition that I have is to get one of my posters on your blog. Not happened so far but I am writing to report a couple of bargains from Ebay. I have recently purchased a couple of posters both for £17

    One is a Daphne Padden Luxury Coach Tours for Everyone poster in fragile condition, the other is a Doctor Carrot poster from ww2. So the bargains are still out there ?? !!

    Also can report that I was at the Railwayana auction at Derby recently and was sorely tempted when the Purvis that you featured went for only £240 but couldn’t go through with it !

    So as always its a mixed bag but am also tempted by the Drewatts auction in a couple of weeks , watch this space


  • I was the last man with his hand up when the hammer went down on the Purvis at Derby a fortnight ago. I was amazed when the bidding started at £50, so felt it needed some further investigation. Mind you, the poster is a little, how shall I say, delicate, and will need some conservation attention, particularly as it has been folded for probably half a century or more and the folds are very thin.

    All I need to do now is find someone who can lay it down onto linen at a reasonable cost. Preferably in the Midlands somewhere. Any ideas, anybody?

  • It’s turning into bidders reunited on here. I hope no grudges are borne.

    Good to hear that there are a few bargains still – I think we saw that Padden but decided against it.

    If anyone else has any reccomendations for poster conservators – or even just experiences – it would be good to hear. Our searches have taught us that there are quite a few people who can mount smaller items, very few who can do the large scale poster mounting. Mostly we have used Alain: Can anyone else add to the list?

  • Hi, interesting post as always. I’m something of a lurker, but this is the only blog I regularly follow.

    There are still some great deals out there in ebayland. A couple of terrific Abram Games war posters (not listed as being by him, despite the familiar squiggle) just sold today for £79 and £88, which is possibly a third or a quarter what you would pay to a dealer. A large Hans Schleger London Transport Museum poster from 1966 sold a few weeks ago for just £37 (again, it was badly listed which kept the price down).

    I’m not sure I agree re: David Klein/Ireland. Most of the European posters done by Klein can be picked up very cheaply indeed, largely because…well, they’re not very good! (cf. England, Greece, Spain and um, almost any of them really) although the Ireland is stronger than most. But even the best of Klein’s European adventures, (Paris – Eiffel Tower) can still be picked up from a dealers for around £250.

    Klein has only gone completely crazy $-wise in terms of his US/highly stylised designs. A St. Louis Arch sold a few weeks ago for $1000 and this is in a different class to his Euro posters and to my eyes worth every penny.

    Finally, re: linenbacking. I had a terrible experience with Alain Bourgouin at posterscience, who misled me on cost, didn’t do any work on the poster for months and only returned the poster when threatened with legal action.

    The truth is that – even with eachway postage – poster-backing is so much cheaper in the USA?Canada, where there are many talented and inexpensive studios who will back your poster without fuss. I hear good things about Studio C plus Dario Casadei in Canada is good for a simple backing (and inexpensive).

    Keep up the the terrific blog.


  • Thank you for all of those thoughts – especially the heads up about Alain. It’s a while since we’ve used him. One of these days Mr Crownfolio will retrain as a poster restorer and all will be well.

    The only thing that I would want to add to what you say is that I think quite a lot of things can still be bought at less than they would fetch from a dealer. What I used to enjoy was getting high quality posters from eBay for less than they would fetch at a middle range auction rooms. But that’s pretty rare these days, although I am glad to see it is still possible. Does anyone else want to confess to their eBay bargains on here? We could start a series…

  • Possibly my best steal ever was last year: a complete portfolio of 13 Saul Bass lithographs, printed under his supervision in 1985 as a high-end paper sample. The item was was described as “Art Prints”, there was one photo, no other information and Bass wasn’t mentioned. I placed a high snipe bid and woke to find I had won it for the opening price of $6.99 (£4.50).

  • Now that is what I call a result. Have you ever had them valued?

    One day we should do our own version of Antiques Roadshow on here, we’ll all post our best bargains and I’ll find someone proper and posh who can come and value them all for us. That would be funny.

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