Such designs are fragile and have often suffered over the years through handling. However, if they have been stored away from the light the colours can be surprisingly pristine.
In this case, the 10 posters offered on January 12 had been stowed under the stairs of a pensioner’s home also in Brighton and were unearthed during a house clearance. The vendor, a lady in her 90s, herself delivered shells and armaments in the Second World War.
Top-seller was a poster showing John Bull that made £1900 and the group as a whole sold for £10,500 (with 15% buyer’s premium and VAT on top). All the posters had been estimated at £500-700.
Although some of the posters were in better condition than others, auctioneer Andrew Potter said because they had been out of the light and not faded, he found the graphics and bright colours “striking”.
And as noted before on this very website, successful sales can attract further consignments of similar items.
Potter added: “From the publicity which we had from the local BBC News and local BBC radio, we have taken in 13 more First World War recruitment posters for our February 9 sale. The vendor’s grandfather worked in the War Office.”
Estimates for these extra posters will again be £500-700 each.
Another example of posters consigned to auction which had been stowed away and discovered in very good condition came at Welsh saleroom Rogers Jones last year.
The posters were discovered more than 30 years ago during a house renovation and had been found flattened, having been used as underlay for the carpets. Many have been folded over multiple times and the colours remained remarkably vivid for their age.