You’d think we’d all be winding down for Christmas by now, but not in poster world, oh no. We may be almost half way througb December, but there are still two auctions on the horizon. The first is Swann, whose next auction is on 17th December. Fortunately for my Christmas relaxation, this time they are selling two turn of the century collections. So if you want to see a lot of high quality American and French art nouveau, you know where to go, but that’s all I am going to say on here.
The day before this, however, is the Onslows winter auction, and this is a whole other story. Or several other stories in fact.
Some of these tales we know already. It is – just in case you hadn’t noticed – one hundred years since the start of World War One, and like every other auction with any self-respect this year, Onslows is celebrating by selling a lot of recruiting posters. For some reason, these also bring a whole lot of Second World War posters travelling in their wake, and this sale is no exception.
This is probably my favourite, partly because I’ve never seen it before and partly because I keep thinking it wants me to get rid of iron dumps.
I’m easily amused, me. And I do also like the typography, and the etc. etc at the end.
However, I do worry sometimes that this blog can get a bit jaded; I’ve already written about so many World War Two posters one way or another that perhaps I don’t get excited enough when they come up for auction. So I feel duty bound to say that there is also a good Dig for Victory poster too.
There’s also yet another copy of Keep Calm and Carry On, but I don’t really need to show you a picture of that, do I. After all, it doesn’t actually look any different to any of the reproductions.
The rest, though, aren’t actually that inspiring when I go back to look at them again. So perhaps I am not quite so world-weary yet.
Story two, about which I am not so much jaded as bemused, consists of a group of Shell educational posters. Every so often I spy these in an auction and say that I have no idea what they are worth. This is still true, but it now seems as though my confusion has spread to the auction houses as well. Onslows is offering one group of 21 posters in middling condition for £150-200, some smaller groups of posters for £50-80 and then this solo poster for a bit more even though it is just one.
If anybody feels like writing in and explaining the economics of Shell educational posters to me, along with some reasons why, I’d be very grateful. From what I can see on eBay, the going rate seems to be £20-30 a go if they are in good condition, with a few exceptions, but please feel free to disagree. I do have a vested interest in this, as recent explorations have revealed that we seem to have dozens of them, with many multiples. So if theres a county you particularly want, please let me know.
The main excitement though is neither of these but a positively extravagent quantity of GPO posters.
The vast majority are of this type, art paintings of places, commissioned by the GPO to make us address letters correctly and intended, even at the time, to be collectable objects. I offer you the highly typical one above mainly because it shows Worcester, the ancestral Crownfolio homeland.
Generally, I’m not wild about these, even when it’s an artist of the calibre of John Minton.
However this collection (which I think was found as a single in a provincial auction by someone who is going to do quite well out of it all) is so huge that it includes some which are entirely new to me and I also rather like.
I can’t tell you anything about either of these artists, but the posters are great, and there are two more equally good Robert Scanlan’s in the sale as well as that one.
But that’s not all, either, there are also a smaller number of commercial GPO posters too. We’ve seen this Eckersley before.
Its even-more-frequently reproduced dog companion is also for sale.
But I have never seen this Manfred Reiss anywhere.
Manfred Reiss, 1955, est. £200-300
Crownfolio says that’s a bit freaky.
And there’s also these two as well.
I shall watch all of that go past with interest.
Railway posters also make up a reasonable showing, although they are predominantly pre-war and quite a conventional bunch, while London Transport material is very thin on the ground indeed. Although if you like this bus poster, you will be pleased to hear that it is also available in blue.