The Humble Poster is Worth Collecting and can be a Winner!

I meet a lot of people who would like to begin making a collection of Art but are restricted by limited funds and hesitant on what to collect.

“Should I collect one artist’s work? Perhaps collect a particular genre or a subject matter I’m interested in” I often get asked.

What should I collect?
vintage travel poster
Vintage travel poster

These questions I cannot answer and each person would have to make their own decision.  A great deal will depend on available funds.  Collecting a well-known artist is likely to be costly and this route is only open to a few people.  However, it is possible to begin collecting art on a tight budget and one area where there is plenty of opportunities is posters.

Collecting a well-known artist is likely to be costly.

I’m not talking about the posters on cheap paper that you can pick up for a few pounds but vintage posters that have some age, have become highly collectable and the price of some is sky-rocketing.

Film Poster
Film Poster “Bus Stop”

Let me give you an example.  Back in 1963 workmen working on a building discovered hundreds of posters by Toulouse-Lautrec rolled up under some floorboards.  Now they weren’t all in the best condition but the best ones sold at the time for a few hundred dollars.  In the 1970’s those posters were changing hands for around $800 each and today their value is around $40,000 each and more.

Posters can be a Good Investment

These are eye-watering amounts and if you are fortunate to acquire posters that are in demand, the prices will increase.  It can turn out to be one of the best if not the best investment you ever make.  Certainly better interest than in the Bank.

The other advantage with posters is that there is such a wide range to choose from.  You could start collecting travel posters, film posters, skiing, automobile, train, ocean liners, sport etc, etc.  The themes available are endless.  Of course, you can hunt out posters by the artists involved and there are some highly collectable poster artists.

If your interest is aroused with collecting posters, there are a few criteria that you must be aware of if it is to be a quality collection.

A Poster must be original
Skiing Poster
Vintage Skiing Poster

The posters must be from the original run and not copies run off at a later date.  The condition must be as near perfect as it possibly can be.  Obviously, if it is a very old poster it is highly unlikely to be in pristine condition.   Buy the best quality that is available, however.  If the poster has a tear or is creased, it is very likely this will affect the value.

The poster must have been conceived as a poster and not a copy of a painting.

If you frame your posters, my advice would be to have your framer use conservation materials.  Use mounting corners to fix it into the frame so that there are no tape marks.  These will have a detrimental effect on the value.

Posters were conceived as a way of advertising products, travel and events. However, today they adorn homes, offices and are treasured as works of Art.  Private and public collectors prize them for their beauty and historical significance.  Interior designers and decorators love to use them to bring colour and vibrancy into a room setting whether it be a home or office and in contrast to most art, fine posters have appreciated in value over the years and have become highly collectable.

A collection today can be started for a few hundred pounds.   If you buy wisely, research your chosen genre and collect the best images you can afford, you will not only get to enjoy your acquisitions but are very likely to end up with a collection that could be worth many times what it cost you to put together.

Happy Hunting!

studio 18