Further training

I’m really glad we don’t collect railway posters very seriously.  Because we’d be stony broke by now.  This year has just been sale after sale of high quality railway posters (with a fair slew of London Transport stuff too).  And now, to round off the year, there’s another one.

Onslows’s December sale titles itself  Vintage Travel Posters including Fine British Railway Posters.  Which means posters like this, by the dozen.

Somerset Railway poster Frank Sherwin c1930
Frank Sherwin, 1930, est. £800-1,200

And this.  Which is quite interesting, because it’s by Brian Batsford, of book cover fame.

Brian Batsford Somerset vintage GWR railway poster
Brian Batsford, 1930, est. £800-1,200

Although there is also this too, which, as I think I have mentioned before, every right-thinking home should have a copy of.

Eric Lander English Lakes vintage British Railways poster
Eric Lander, est. £700-1,000

Plus there’s lots of pictures of trains too, but I shan’t be bothering you with those today, or indeed on any other day.  Apparently most of the collection comes from a single estate sale, although I think I can recognise a few things which did also appear at Morphets earlier this year.

Bruce Angrave Parties of 8 vintage British railways poster
Bruce Angrave, est. £250-300

Royston Cooper vintage railway Harwich poster
Royston Cooper, 1959, est. £200-300

These Holiday Haunts posters by Abram Games and Tom Eckersley also appeared there as a single lot too – the Eckersley in particular is a fine thing.

Abram Games Holiday Haunts vintage railway poster
Abram Games, 1960, est. £200-300

Tom Eckersley vintage Holiday Haunts railway poster
Tom Eckersley, 1962, est. £200-300

Elsewhere, it’s the usual Onslow’s miscellany.  This poster seems to appear in almost every single sale they do, which at the price it goes for is quite an achievement.

Fortuno Mat Southport theatre poster from Onslows vintage Cheshire Railways
Fortunino Matania, 1933, est. £6,000-8,000

This is the rarer version, apparently, because it’s overprinted with the logo of the Cheshire Lines Railway rather than the LMS.  I have to say that I can’t quite bring myself to be bothered about the difference.

There’s also the usual selection of London Transport posters.  I love this Sheila Robinson (which comes with four other posters, it’s all the rage these days).

Sheila Robinson vintage London Transport poster Royal London
Sheila Robinson, 1953, est. £200-300.

We once owned a LT poster by her and sold it.  I still don’t know what was going through our minds at that point, and now every time I see one of her designs I am filled with remorse.

These James Fittons are also rather good too.

James Fitton vintage London Transport poster
James Fitton, 1936, est. £400-600

James Fitton vintage London Transport poster
James Fitton, 1937, est £200-300.

There’s also a complete set of four of these Austin Coopers, one of which featured in the last Christies.


Austin Cooper, 1933, est. £1,000-1,500

Although at that kind of estimate, a set of four is going to be a pretty substantial investment.

I also rather like this.  And it’s a lot cheaper too.

Farleigh vintage London Transport poster 1947
John Farleigh, 1947, est. £200-300.

But then I am always a sucker for a chalk hillside figure.

There is still more to consider in there, but I’ve run out of time.  So, World War Two posters and other miscellaneous bits and bobs next week.  And an Advent calendar too.

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You, the jury

A quick question today.  Which basically boils down to this: real or not?

LMS Bestway poster for auction in Lincolnshire

And there’s quite a lot riding on the answer, because this is up for auction at Brown & Co in Lincolnshire with an estimate of £100-150.  Which would be a bit of a bargain, for what might be a Cassandre which is in the collection of M0Ma in New York.

But is it the real deal?  I don’t know.  The colours are off, to start with.

Bestway Cassandre real deal

And the dimensions are too – the auction version is 43″ x 33″, instead of the 40″ x 50″ it probably should be.

Plus the description says that it’s “doublesided” (although how they can tell when it is also framed, I am not sure).

So, I’m unsure enough not to have a go, and to throw it open to you lot to see what you think.  Any thoughts, or tips, or opinions out there?

Mind you, even if it is a cropped reproduction, it’s probably still worth more than the estimate.  Chisholm Larsson are selling this.

Bestway Cassandre Reprint from Chisholm Larsson

It’s a 1980s reprint, but they want $750 for it anyway.  It’s a mad world, Mr Benjamin.

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Leave your Paddens here

I spy with my little eye…

Torquay and Paignton Daphne Padden poster from Elephant and Monkey

…some Daphne Padden posters for sale.  And I’m rather pleased about it as her work really does deserve more attention and acclaim than it has got so far.

The one above is being sold by Elephant and Monkey for £95, but Fears and Kahn have this (for a somewhat more taxing £475).

Daphne Padden luggage coach poster from fears and Kahn

While Present and Correct have all of these,

Daphne Padden reindeer coach poster 1964 Present and Correct Daphne Padden lion savings bank poster Present And Correct

Daphne Padden knights coach hire poster Present and Correct

at prices ranging from £135 – £175.  Which is a lot more of her work than I have ever seen on sale before – and at interestingly variable prices too; it’s still perhaps a bit early to judge what her real market value is yet.

Now while I would like to read this entirely as the start of the Daphne Padden revival, that is of course just a small part of what’s happening here.  These bright and punchy 1960s graphics have been starting to surface for a couple of years now – mainly due to the efforts of shops like Fears and Kahn.

But the real story is, of course, Morphets.  The vast slew of 1960s and 70s posters that were released at their July sale is now working its way into the dealers.  Because all of these people aren’t just selling Daphne Padden, they’re also selling a whole heap of other coach and rail posters along with them.  So Elephant and Monkey have Royston Cooper and Harry Stevens.

Royston Cooper bus to airport poster from Elephant and Monkey

Harry Stevens vintage coach poster from Elephant and Monkey

Fears and Kahn have this splendid stag.

New forest stag coach poster from Fears and Kahn

And Present and Correct can offer this rather good rendition of a family tree.

Family tree vintage coach poster Present and Correct

In each case there are plenty more where that came from on the websites too, small and large, cheap and expensive.  But, at my guess, almost all originating from Morphets.  The only one I know wasn’t in the sale was the Daphne Padden lion and mouse – but I am happy to be corrected if anyone out there knows better.

What will be interesting to see is whether this  lasts.  Did the Morphets sale release a flood of stock onto the market which will come and then disappear because no one else preserved these posters?  Or will the high prices entice more of these graphics out of their hiding places and up for sale?   I’d love there to be more, but I’m not really optimistic that they are out there to be sold.  We shall see.

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Collectors and cows

I don’t normally bother you with auction results except for the biggest sales.  But Swann Galeries sent me the results for their  15 November poster sale which I wrote about a few weeks ago.  And it’s noteworthy for two things.

Number one is this.

Andrew Power Wimbledon Poster from Swann Galleries vintage London Transpot

It went for, wait for it, $24,000 – the second most expensive poster they sold at that auction.  Which is a fairly extraordinary result for a London Transport poster.  Almost everything else in the list of high-fliers is a trad tourism poster from the 1920s or a picture of a cruise ship.  I’m surprised and impressed.

Although this did also make $10,800 t00.

Reginald Higgins Scarborough poster LNER vintage railway poster

The catalogue text could only have been written by an American. One who has never seen the English seaside.

Here, in a visual snippet worthy of Brideshead Revisited, Higgins’s exceptional Art Deco style captures the perfect essence of an elegant evening at a British holiday destination.

If only.

The other brilliant thing about Swann’s results, though, is that they tell me just a bit about who bought the poster, at least whether it’s a collector or a dealer.  So both of those ones above went to collectors, for example.

One of the real sadnesses about internet bidding, is that I just don’t know who’s bought anything any more.  Back in the old and draughty days of Onslows at Marble Arch, I knew exactly who had beaten me to a gem, and who else was hoovering up all of the odds and ends for £20 a lot like us.  I can’t even see who’s bought a poster on eBay now.  So it’s always good to hear even just a little bit about where these things are going.

Elsewhere, Onslows have put up a preview for their December sale.  The auction advertises itself as ‘Important Railway Posters’ so it is perhaps no surprise that the preview features more pictures of trains than I consider strictly necessary in one place (a detailed image of a train being repaired at Crewe being perhaps the apotheosis of this).  Although, as pictures of trains go, this one isn’t bad.

Zec night train poster 1932

It’s by Zec, it’s from 1932, and Onslows are estimating that it will go for £10,000-15,000 in the sale.  Which could make it the most expensive railway poster they’ve ever sold.  We shall see how hard times really are then, shan’t we?

The only one I can muster up any real enthusiasm for is this Bromfield from 1956.

Bromfield golden arrow railway poster 1956

Although I didn’t buy it for £440 at Morphets, so I rather doubt that I will buy it at Onslows’ estimate of £700-1,000 either.

Finally, Sotherans have put a new(ish) catalogue of posters on their site.  It’s all digital and so fully carbon neutral, whoop de doop.

It is, of course, still eye-achingly expensive.  I’ve gone on about them often enough before, so you can take my complaints as read this time.  Although I am starting to get inured to their prices. To the extent that £195 each for these seems really quite reasonable.

Vintage London transport cows from Sotherans catalogue

This may of course be down to the fact that we own two of these cows already, and I really, really need the third.

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Designs of the times

Oddly enough, the day after I posted a (rare) Robin Day poster on here, news has broken of his death.

He was of course far more of a furniture designer than a graphic artist.

Robin Day roomset for Festival of Britain Design Council slide

This is a roomset he designed for the Festival of Britain in 1951, and I’d willingly move into that tomorrow.

He only really designed posters in the early years of his career – pretty much up until the Festival.

Robin Day Festival of Britain exhibition of science poster

But as a giant of British post-war design, he very much deserves remembering here.  And there’s a very good obituary in the Guardian today if you want to read more.

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Small but perfectly formed

So, back on the auction rounds once more, and first in our sights is Van Sabben, on December 11th.

I’ve already skipped through a few of the French ones in passing last week, but there are also a small selection of British posters in there which are worth looking at.

Lewitt Him Vegetabull poster vintage WW2 on sale Van Sabben
Lewitt Him, c.1947, est. €250

Like the Vegetabull, to start with.  Everyone should own this poster.

But in addition to that, it’s a small, but quite interesting selection.  There’s something for everyone.  Some railway posters, like this faintly murky Fred Taylor.

Fred Taylor cambridge vintage LNER railway poster from Van Sabben 1930
Fred Taylor, 1930, est. €450

And this rather wonderful piece of glamour.  In as much as Felixstowe can do glamour.

Nicoll Gordon vintage railway poster 1930 van sabben felixstowe
Nicoll Gordon, 1930, est. €2,000

There’s a really lovely Abram Games too, which I’ve always rather liked.

Abram Games civvy street vintage WW2 poster from Van Sabben
Abram Games, 1944, est. €450

As well as a few more of his posters which, while brilliant pieces of design, I nonetheless wouldn’t much fancy having up on the wall.

Abram Games vintage ww2 safety poster 1943
Abram Games, 1943, est. €650

Especially if I have to pay €650 for the rather morbid pleasure.

But one thing that I really like about the Van Sabben auctions is that, even though they don’t have that many British posters, they’re not just comprised of the usual suspects.  So in addition to Abram Games and Tom Eckersley,

Tom Eckersley vintage London Transport poster 1947 from Van sabben
Tom Eckersley, 1947, est. €250

there are also posters by Henrion.

Henrion exhibition poster 1945 from Van Sabben
FHK Henrion, 1945, est. €280

And Beverley Pick and Reginald Mount too.

Beverley Pick vintage London Transport poster 1947 from Van Sabben
Beverley Pick, 1947, est €250

Reginald Mount vintage WW2 home front poster 1946 from van sabben
Reginald Mount, 1946, est. €650

And even Robin Day.

ROBIN Day RAF poster c 1950 from Van Sabben vintage poster
Robin Day, c.1950, est. €450.

I’m assuming that’s the furniture designer rather than the interviewer.

It’s not just that they have a good mix of designers, they also get posters from different sources.  Like these two from the GPO, which are also both large format rather than 1o x 15.

Zero Hans SChleger remember the country name vintage gpo poster 1942
Zero, 1942, est. €300

Manfred Reiss GPO helps the export drive vintage poster 1950
Manfred Reiss, 1950, est. €300

I’d love to know where they source their posters from, but I don’t suppose they’ll tell me.

My only minor complaint is the pricing.  It’s hard to work out how the Vegetabull can be worth so much less than this Hans Schleger, for example, when they’re both in similar condition.

Hans Schleger blackout vintage ww2 poster London Transport 1943
Zero, 1943, est. €500

It does sometimes feel as though estimages are obtained by sticking a pin into a roulette wheel.  Mind you, I shouldn’t be complaining; that’s the way that bargains are made, after all.

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