Vintage European Posters: The Finest Original Posters from 1880 to 1980

ABOUT VINTAGE POSTERS


Welcome to the pleasure of Vintage Posters. Original Posters have been collected for more than 100 years. Since their inception in the 1860s, the public has adored these gorgeous graphic works and competed to own them. Back then it was easy—early poster afficionados pulled posters from the outdoor walls, they read poster collecting magazines to keep abreast of news of the great artists, and there were gallery exhibitions and prizes for the best poster designs.

Today, if you develop a taste for original posters, you must search to find the ones you love. We recommend that you look at as many posters as you can, and spend time with a knowledgeable dealer to gain an understanding of the historical and cultural context of posters, the market value, and the importance of archival framing and conservation. Most importantly—have fun. Buy posters that make you smile. Don’t worry about investment value, all original posters hold their value. Buy what you love and you will be happy with your collection for years to come.

WHAT IS A VINTAGE POSTER?


Original posters were printed for advertising purposes. They were printed in the same time period in which they were designed. They cover every topic imaginable from theatre and opera to travel, transportation, military, liquor, food, fashion, exhibitions, and products.

Posters were printed on cheap paper, they were not expected to last for more than a few weeks. When we find them, they are fragile, brittle and difficult to handle. All of our posters are then linen backed. This is a conservation process in which posters are washed to deacidify the paper, and then mounted using acid free paste onto a heavy backing to protect them. Museums recommend this treatment for vintage posters and it is 100% archival and water reversible; subsequently a poster mounted on linen is considered to be in better condition than a fragile poster on paper.

Most posters were printed with stone lithography. This is a painstaking process in which an image is etched into limestone with a grease crayon and acid. The design, etching and printing was done entirely by hand for the first 50 years of the poster. Artisans used huge slabs of limestone, and once the printing of a given poster was finished, the stone was scraped down and used to make a different poster. Unintentionally, the printers created something limited, which is why posters are valuable.