Price Conspiracy

Now, I know I’ve been saying recently that eBay prices are going up and can sometimes be a match for the auction houses these days.  Clearly I am not the only person to have come to this conclusion.

A seller called the design conspiracy (a name just asking for a snarky comeback) has put this poster on.

1928 London Transport poster Austin Cooper golliwog

For £500.

Now it is an Austin Cooper London Transport poster, and it is framed.  But it’s a picture of a golliwog, it’s just not going to happen.  It probably wouldn’t have happened anyway even if it were a picture of an ickle fluffy bunny, but it’s definitely not going to fetch that for a golliwog.  And in case you think I’m being harsh, it’s already failed to sell and been relisted at least once.

However, that is the pricing of a sane person compared to our next offering.

Andrew Hall London Transport poster 1965 Imperial War Museum

This is by Andrew Hall from 1965, it is not framed and it too is on offer for, wait for it, £500.

We bought one on eBay  a few years ago; it cost us £19.99.  I think someone is going to be a bit disappointed here.

Amazingly though, I can top that.  Here is a Terence Cuneo poster (not one of my favourite phrases, I must say).

Terence Cuneo Forth Bridge scottish holidays railway poster

Quite apart from the fact that it seems to have been bolted onto the wall, it’s an odd one.  Come to Scotland for your holidays, it’s trying to say, but the picture is not beaches or promenades but the Forth Road Bridge.  Perhaps the engineering holiday market was bigger than I imagine.

Peculiar though that may be, it’s still overshadowed by the price, which is a truly boggling £3,100.  Has a Cuneo poster ever gone for that kind of money, particularly one with brown sellotape marks on it?  Surely not. (Bidding has actually ended, but I still had to show you anyway).

There are still a few bargains out there, though.  Two of which may be the subjects of my next post.  Watch this space.


Blackpool, camels and shandy

I’m posting like fury this week to try and catch up with all the auctions that are going on.  Although this post is in fact about a couple of auctions that have already happened, but are still worth noting.

The first of these is the recent GWRA auction, where we had been hoping to get this Daphne Padden, but were outbid and it went for £280.

Daphen Padden Lancashire coast British Railways psoter

I don’t think we’ve seen that one before ever, so I am a bit sad about that.  We also failed to buy this Lander too.

Royal Mail Boats Lander poster

Although as it went for just £140 you may deduce that we weren’t trying that hard.

We did, however get this Lander, which I am rather pleased about.

Morecambe British Railways poster RM Lander

Again, it’s not one that you see very often (something I have mentioned on here before now).  But it’s a brilliant piece of what I believe people now refer to as ‘mid-century’ and will look rather good framed.

The auction was chock-full of posters including, interestingly, another two for Blackpool – as far as GWRA knows, both anonymous.

Blackpool Britsh Railways poster anonymous


The first one went for £300, the second for a whopping £700, which was almost the record for the entire sale.  The actual top price, though was £750, which was paid for this.


With this Fred Taylor coming a close second at £720.


But if you just wanted a nice pictorial seaside poster, quite possibly with a bit of kitsch in it, and you wanted to pay £200-300, you would have been spoiled for choice.  Here’s just one of the dozens.


That went for £240, and for ten pounds less you could have had yourself another Daphne Padden as well.

Daphne Padden isle of Man BRitish railways poster

I do like that cat.

But there were a few bargains here and there, at least if you like Peterborough.


Just eighty of your pounds.

There are even one or two bargains still to be had as well.  This rather striking Bromfield failed to sell, and is now on offer with a reserve of just £50.

bromfield - hampshire

Surely that must have some midcentury appeal somewhere; I’m sure it would go for more than that on eBay.

Also passed and worthy of note is the recent Christies sale, which I did manage to blog about beforehand.

Apart from the obvious conclusion that expensive posters are expensive, what has most caused me to raise an eyebrow here is the price of the little bus posters.  Several, like this Anna Zinkeisen, went for more than a thousand pounds.

Anna Katrina Zinkeisen (1901-1976) WIMBLEDON TENNIS lithograph in colours, 1934

Although interestingly, this Herry Perry, which had an estimate of £1000-1,500, only fetched £875.  And not everything sold either, although I haven’t had the time to do the forensics and find out exactly what.

Herry (Heather) Perry (1893-1962) BOAT RACE lithograph in colours, 1935

All of which will make it particularly interesting to see how this Anna Zinkeisen will do on eBay.

Anna Zinkeisen bus poster motorcycle show

It’s currently at £9.99, but with 6 days to go and a reserve that hasn’t been met yet.  Watch that space.

While we are watching that eBay space, a few more things that have turned up.  This Quantas poster is mostly of interest because it is quirky, has a picture of a camel on it and is not overpriced at £39.

Quantas Camel poster from Ebay

While someone by the name of prbs1929 is also selling a job lot of coach posters at very reasonable prices.  This is my favourite.

Late holiday coach poster

This, on the other hand, does seem a bit expensive to me.

poster for Maltese shandy

Although I know nothing about the Maltese poster market and may turn out to be completely wrong about that.

Finally, I think we have a collectable in the making here.

Can safety poster

I have no idea what it is trying to tell me, but that’s part of the fun.  I think. And there are plenty more to be had if that tickles your fancy.

Love and money

A proper post is brewing and will follow tomorrow, but this is just a brief appearance to let you know that all your Valentines poster needs are solved.

Dorrit Dekk post office savings bank love poster

I’ve mentioned this Dorrit Dekk poster before, and now it has appeared on eBay, not once but twice.  It ought to go really, it’s just the kind of thing that would sell for a lot more in the right kind of shop, even if it is mounted on some kind of board.

While we’re on the subject of eBay, can I also just remind you that the Quad Royal Daphne Padden prints are also now available on that esteemed shopping site.

Daphne Padden gardener print to buy

They’re very competitively priced, especially when compared with this little gem.

New milton vintage british railways poster

The auction has ended, but until last week it has been on offer for £1,350.  A figure which completely boggled my mind because in the auction at which we bought the Eckersley last week, a copy of this went for, I think, about £300.

Now normally, I would laugh and point, saying that this hasn’t even been restored and how much do you expect me to pay for a frame?  But that’s not going to work here.  For one thing, the auction has been ended because the item is no longer available, which I suspect means they have sold it.  More tellingly than that, they received a Best Offer on it of £1,200.  Really, truly I do wish I had the sheer gall to be a dealer.  I’d make a fortune.  But I have no such ability in me, so you’re all safe.

All of which means that I can make no comment on their one remaining poster, except to say that if you would like to buy this Norman Wilkinson poster for £1,850, you know where you can go.

Norman Wilkinson Harrow School LNER poster

Meanwhile, for those of us without the best part of two grand burning a hole in their pockets, this National Savings poster of Shipping through the Ages currently has no bids at just £3.99.

National Savings shipping through the ages not pretty poster

Or this slightly more appealing example of the National Savings genre could be yours for £6.99

National Savings Club poster

Or we could all just give up and collect thimbles.

Deck the halls

I think it’s about time to get the Christmas decorations out, isn’t it?  Or in this case, the Christmas posters.  I’ve been saving this one for half the year – and that’s not a weird reflection on it, by the way, it’s part of the design.

Raymond McGrath London Transport Christmas poster 1937

This delight is a little 10″ x 15″ London Transport poster, from 1937 which popped up on eBay over the summer.  And that was supposed to be the end of the post, until I decided to try and find out something about Raymond McGrath, who designed it.

Now the London Transport Museum website doesn’t have much information on him, and it appears that this was the only thing he ever did for LT.  But a bit more delving on the web reveals a lot more.  If I am honest it didn’t take that much, McGrath has his own Wikipedia page for heavens sake, and it turns out he was a really interesting chap.

Predominantly, McGrath was an architect and so rather falls out of the scope of this blog, but I’ll give you a brief summary because it’s such a fascinating and, it seems, infrequently told story.  Coming from Australia in 1926, he quickly became one of the pioneers and champions of modernist architecture in Britain.  His first major work was the remodelling of Finella, a house for the Cambridge don Mansfield Forbes (there is a comprehensive and wonderful article about this if you would like to read more), and this got him known, to the extent that he was put in charge  of the remodelling of Broadcasting House in  1931, so at the age of just 27 he was overseeing architects like Wells Coates and Serge Chermayeff.  He also designed a stunning modernist house in Chertsey, St Anne’s Hill House.

Raymond McGrath Hill House chertsey

(This was later owned by Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music, and there is a great discussion of the area’s modernist rock heritage here.)

Despite these works, a combination of the war, a lack of work and his wife’s mental problems led McGrath to take a job in the Dublin Office of Public Works, where he became Principal Architect in 1948, a job he held until the 1960s.  While he did much notable work there, the move meant that he effectively disappeared from the architectural record in Britain.

As the poster shows, McGrath was also a talented artist and draughtsman.   Below is one of the set of drawing about aircraft production that he contributed to the War Artists scheme before he left for Dublin.

Raymond McGrath war artists painting aircraft production

But this piece of his design has to be one of my favourite things, just for its pure modernist quirkiness.

Raymond McGrath aeroplane wallpaper

It has an interesting provenance, apparently.

This elegant design for a wallpaper was only one element in an entire design scheme presented by McGrath for a house called “Rudderbar”, commissioned by a British female pilot of the 1930’s.  It had been conceived as a combination “house and transport hub” having “an aircraft hanger and a garage built alongside domestic quarters surmounted by an observation/control tower”! It was to be built nearby the historic Hanworth Airplane Field, Feltham, Middlesex, England. And all of this in McGrath’s signature Modernist style.

Rather wonderfully, the paper is being reprinted, so you can now buy it to paper your flying room should you wish.  Although McGrath is interesting enough to warrant more of a memorial than even this, I think.

Food is Necessary

Once again, people have been sending me things.  To be more precise, they’ve been sending pictures of things.  Which is a shame, as I would have very much liked to get this in the post.

Hans Unger mosaic of London photo by MIchael Sand

Michael Sand got in contact with me.  His parents were friends of Hans Unger’s in London in the 196os, and so he made them this lovely mosaic of their house in 1965.  I love this, I think it’s my favourite of any of his mosaics that I’ve seen, so thank you to Michael for telling me about it and then letting me show you the photograph.

That’s not all, either.  Suzanne Emerson’s parents were friends of Royston Cooper in the 1960s and 1970s, and so she now owns two of Royston’s paintings.

Royston cooper original painting

Royston Cooper original painting

Apparently she and her mum called the first one drips and the second one eggs.  There’s also a limited edition lithograph too.

Original Royston Cooper lithograph

She asked me about them, but I am well outside of what I know about here, so I thought I’d put them up on the blog and see if you lot can help.  Suzanne is also thinking about selling them, so if anyone has any knowledge of or interest in them, please do let me know in the comments and I will pass your details on.

Because I outed myself in a recent post as being utterly ignorant about film posters, I have also – very kindly – been sent an entire book on the subject.  So once I have moved house (have I mentioned this yet?), I shall read it and then I will know.  Watch out.

Finally, since we’re all here, an interesting heap of posters have come up on eBay, all from the one seller.

Abram Games wasted food is another ship lost World war two propaganda poster

Abram Games talk kills world war two poster propaganda

That’s interesting as in the sense of totally bemusing, because I do not know how someone ends up with three Abram Games posters (there is also the Damp Ruins Ammunition one which I have seen more often than these two), and then two GPO posters from the 1960s?  Most odd.  I am hoping that the Talk Kills one is in focus in real life,  I’m sure it must be.

GPO stamps in books poster from ebay 1960

Most confounding.  But I shall watch the prices with interest.

We are, finally, moving house next week, and chaos will almost certainly loom large.  So if Quad Royal falls short of its customary standards of service, I apologise.  Back to normal very soon.  I hope.

Where are we?

Just when I thought I’d got on top of the auction situation, another one pops up.  This time it’s Onslows, whose winter sale will be on 19th December.  The catalogue isn’t up yet, but there are a few preview images to whet your appetite, of which this is my favourite.

Quantas Australia travel poster c. 1950 Anonymous
Frank McNamara, circa 1950, est. £400-500

When it’s almost freezing outside, sampling the 1950s in Australia sounds like a very tempting proposition.

There is also the opportunity to get one or two posters at prices cheaper than a Christies sale.

Herz (Walter B.1909) Olympic Games London 1948 poster
Herz, 1948, est. £800-1,200

Fougasse Careless talk posters set of 8 World war two propaganda
Fougasse, 1940, est. £800-1,200

As well as this, which is just endearingly bonkers.

Czech skiing poster 1950 from Onslows woman leaning on ski
Czech, c.1950, est. £700-1,000

There’s another forthcoming railwayana auction too, at Talisman, but I am relieved to say that there isn’t a single poster of interest to me in there.  Although I have been looking at these catalogues for so long now that the opportunity to buy a large sign which says Pyewipe West Sidings is becoming increasingly tempting.

Meanwhile on eBay there are posters galore.  One of the prize exhibits is probably this Daphne Padden, from the earlier, more conventional phase of her career.

Daphne Padden BEA Paris poster 1953

People clearly liked the style and image, as this is a poster which comes up more often than it ought to.  At a current price of just under £70 – from the U.S. – it is going cheap too.

Another poster of possibly an even higher calibre, if not entirely my cup of tea, is this Jean Carlu World War Two design.

Jean carlu give em both barrels poster world war two american

It looks in very good condition, and so is an extreme bargain at just £18 right now, possibly because they’ve mis-spelt Jean Carlu in the listing and title.  You read it here first.

If you fancy something a bit more British, there is always this wartime poster, if you can get past the slightly sexist weediness of the woman.

Womens land army world war two propaganda poster uk

But be warned, it’s tiny. just 9″ x 6″.  An identical version sold for £64 on eBay last week, so it will probably go for a bit more than it’s current 99p then, even with the typing on the back.

The rest of what is on offer, though, is starting to look like a trend.  Take, for example, this Post Office Savings Bank Poster.

Post Office Savings Banks poster keep your head above water

This 1965 London Transport poster (which oddly isn’t on the London Transport Museum site so I can’t tell you anything more about it).

London transport 1960s bus poster Avoid the Squeeze

And perhaps best of all these two delightful Homepride posters.

Homepride Flour men poster with best wishes

Homepride flour poster where are we

What it’s looking like is that later 60s and 70s graphics are starting to be seen as, if not yet collectable, certainly worth selling.  It’s not always good design – although the two Homepride posters are classics and deserve to be revered as such – but it’s definitely out there.

Because that’s not all there is.  I mentioned this Bridlington poster last week as being expensive at £45.

Stan Krol bridlington coach poste 1960s

It finally sold for £25, and there is another one up now too if you think that’s more like a fair price.   But the seller has clearly found a stack of this kind of thing somewhere, just take a look at these.

British railways mystery tours poster 1969

1970s fire extinguisher poster

I think that’s enough to constitute a trend, don’t you?  Although the same person is also selling this.

Mablethorpe coach poster Atkins

Now to my mind that’s the best of the bunch.  But then I’m probably entirely out of fashion.

Finally, we’ve just bought a rather expensive poster on eBay ourselves.  More news on that when it arrives.  And yes, I know we’re meant to be spending the money on carpets.