What does “Original” mean?
All of our posters are from the original or first printing, which means that if a poster has a specific date, such as 1930, in the margin, then that is the year when the poster was actually printed. Because these are lithographs, there is no one “original” piece. The art was drawn directly onto the lithography stones, and printed in runs numbering from a few hundred to approximately 3,000 posters. The stones deteriorated during the printing process, and could not be reused.
What were these old posters used for?
Posters were the first form of modern color advertising. Posters were used to promote products, events, travel and political ideas. They were placed on exterior walls, precursors to today’s billboards, as well as inside buildings, railway stations, sidewalk kiosks and other public places.
How were they made?
The primary printing technique was stone lithography, a procedure refined and simplified in the late 1800’s by a Parisian printer and artist named Jules Cheret (1836-1932). The process was done by hand and is very much an art form in itself. By drawing the images on large lithographic stones, it became feasible to print enormous posters in color. Jules Cheret is known as the “Father of the Color Lithograph Poster.”
How do you price them?
Vintage posters are priced and appreciate very much like collectible coins and stamps. There are limited remaining quantities of any specific image. Prices are established by the poster’s rarity, condition, artist, and subject matter, and are directly affected by the market price established at auction.
Where do you find posters?
Most of our vintage posters are found in Europe at markets, printers, book and paper dealers, auctions and private collections.
Why are they in such good condition?
Posters have been collectibles since they were introduced to Europe in the 1800s. Many of them were never posted, for several reasons. When a new poster was issued, the printer would purposely do an overrun in order to sell them privately to print dealers and turn-of-the-century collectors. These posters were valued and preserved. Others were stored and forgotten, only recently rediscovered in attics and warehouses. On occasion, vintage posters need minor restoration. Any restoration performed on our vintage posters meets museum preservation standards and is done in France by experts who specialize in paper restoration.
What kind of paper are they on?
The original posters were printed on a very thin, cheap paper, similar to newsprint. In order to protect the poster, we back it on a linen fabric/canvas, with a layer of acid free paper and wheat paste between it. The backing can be removed and the poster returned to its original form.
Do posters increase in value?
Vintage posters have been collected and offered at auction for many years. The recent increase in the visibility of poster art has driven demand to the highest levels ever. Many posters have tripled in value over the past several years, and some have commanded six figures at public auction.
How do I know that I’m buying an original poster?
As with any other product or service, the vendor you choose is very important. Education about the artwork should be available, as well as some guarantee from the gallery as to authenticity and origin. Since these pieces were not originally produced as fine art, there were no certificates or numbering systems to use for identification.
How do you usually display vintage posters?
Posters are usually framed and hung just like a painting or other printed wall art. The poster backing is trimmed to about .25” of the original paper, and attached to the linen canvas with wheat paste. Someone who is experienced in the care of vintage posters should perform this service. For over-sized pieces, we recommend the use of Plexiglas in order to reduce the weight and chance of damage due to breakage. UVA-treated Plexiglas will reduce the chance of damage due to sunlight.
I’ve seen this poster before at a different price. Why is there a price variation?
All products experience price variation from one source to another. The nature of antiques and other collectibles is such that this variation can be greater than with other products. Many factors affect the market price on art. When a cache of a particular image is discovered, the art pieces are distributed through the dealer and collector community. The price will reflect the dealer’s position on this distribution chain; the length of time the dealer has owned it; and the poster’s condition, rarity, artist and subject matter. No two posters are in the same condition. A poster can appreciate several times while in the possession of a dealer, without the dealer’s knowledge.