Meet Mr Poster

There has definitely been a change in eBay over the last few years, at least in terms of the poster market.  When we first started watching it, most of what was up for sale wasn’t either of much quality or of much value.  Think National Savings and posters which had been damaged beyond all reasonable repair.  And quite often both.

Nowadays, though, it’s very different out there.  What’s on offer can sometimes look more like a sample from a specialist poster auction than the scrapings from someone’s attic, although admittedly you don’t get to look at pictures of so many people’s floors in a proper auction.

It’s one of those weeks this week.  So you could have a Guinness poster.

Guinness Poster 1951 Wilk (Dick Wilkinson)

Or a high quality film poster by none other than James Fitton.

James fitton film poster Meet Mr Lucifer 1953

Although with a starting bid of £250, I shan’t be buying it.  As the posters on offer edge up to auction quality, it seems the prices are doing the same.  I’m less impressed with that, however inevitable it is.

For a £99.99 opening offer, you might also have this period railway poster, featuring a man with wonderfully spivvy dress sense.

Lggage in Advance vintage railway poster late 1940s

Extra points for standing on the poster while you’re taking the photograph there.

You might also be interested in this gem  (starting price £80) which is one of my favourite railways posters that we don’t own.  Yet.

Manchester Piccadilly vintage railway poster British Railways 1960

I spent several of my teenage years travelling in and out of Manchester Piccadilly for gigs, nightclubs and hanging around in shops without buying anything, so it has a great nostalgic appeal.  Although I don’t remember the architecture looking quite that optimistic or even interesting after a couple of decades of unsympathetic adaptation and Mancunian smoke.

If it’s London Transport posters you are after, there is this bus stop poster by Harry Stevens.  Again.

Harry Stevens bus stop litter poster London Transport 1977

This keeps coming up, everywhere from eBay to Sotherans, and has probably been mentioned on here more times than any other single poster.  I have no idea why there are quite so many of them about.  Were they distributed to every London school child for the Silver Jubilee or something?  Or were they just very easy to steal from bus stops?  If anyone has a clue, please do share.

But all is not lost, some corners of eBay are just as they ever were.  Would you like a 1960s RoSPA poster?

1960s ROSPA road safety poster mirror gear signal

Please say you would.  Because I’ve got a whole tube full of these to put up for sale one of these days, although probably with a starting price of less than £9.99.

There’s also still space for the oddities too, like this man in France who is mostly selling a vast array of posters about safety out on the airport apron which is really worth looking at just for curiosity value alone.  The collection includes this British Airways safety poster, yours for the grand sum of €2.

British Airways safety poster

My favourite, however, is this Air France one, also €2 if you fancy it.

Air France safety poster dogs bottom

Finally,  there are the things that are more likely to come up in a junk shop or ephemera fair than an auction house, like a large set of BBC Schools leaflets or a Dorrit Dekk menu.

Lots of lovely time and tune for you

Dorrit Dekk P&O Chusan

These reassure me.  I’m really pleased it isn’t all tidied up and auction-like yet on eBay; life would be much duller if it were, and I wouldn’t know quite how many people had beige carpets. And we’d hardly be able to afford any posters at all ever. So long may it carry on like this.

Vintage design for modern times

Tom Eckersley is all over the web at the moment.  Yesterday he was here on Grain Edit (and hence tweeted and reposted hither and thither).  And over the last few months, he’s also been herehereherehere and even all the way over here in Italy.  (There are loads more, I just lost the will to look at them all).  The two images below are currently spreading across the web like a virus.

Tom Eckersley Keep Britain Tidy vintage poster

This is in part – a big part – because the Eckersley Archive is both so big and so available.  But it must also be because there is something about Eckersley which is particularly appealing to today’s designers and students.

What’s noticeable about the posters which have, mostly, been chosen from the archive is that they tend to be Eckersley’s much more simple and graphic work, from the 60s and later.

Tom Eckersley Pakistan Airways vintage poster

What’s missing from the tides of Eckersley’s work ebbing and flowing across the web are the earlier, more whimsical posters.  Posters like this one:

tom eckersley seal guinness vintage poster

Or even this:

tom eckersley mablethorpe vintage poster

(This just went for £110 at Talisman Railway auctions, which is a bit of a bargain, even if it is a bit battered).

There is one exception to this, which are his Please Pack Parcels Very Carefully series, which the BPMA have been using quite a bit recently.  If I am truthful, I’m a bit cross about this.

Tom eckersley china dog vintage poster

It’s not that it’s not a lovely poster, it is, and of course everyone should get a chance to see it, if only to prove that Tom Eckersley did a bit more than just sparse modernism.  But it’s mine.  This was the first poster I ever bought (more on that some other time) and it’s sitting watching me as I write right now.  So hands off everyone.  Go and find another poster to tweet about please.

Here’s one to start with, another lovely piece of sparse modernism.

Mr Crownfolio and I are off to turn this into a twitter button.  We may be gone some time.  In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter here.