Vintage posters were the original form of advertising. They were posted in public places to advertise a product or event and were not intended to become long-term collectibles. Their artists and printers knew that they would be rained on, torn down and covered up. The process of stone lithography limited the number of posters that could be created; a run of 2,000 to 3,000 was standard.
Many poster designs were created by anonymous artists, but there is also a number of well-known poster artists: Cheret, Gruau, Lesacq, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cappiello, Mucha, Bradley, Colin, Cassandre, Hohlwein and Cardinaux to name a few. Posters that are available today are those that were not displayed, either because the printer made a few extras, or they were packed away in storage and only recently discovered.
What we now know as “Vintage” posters were typically vibrant and fun and capture the trends and culture of the time in which they were designed. Perhaps this is why they have captured the imagination of collectors.
Poster styles differ according to the period they are from, the originating country and the artist. Art Nouveau posters from the late 1800's, Art Deco posters from the 1920's-1930, and Modernist Posters all have a vastly different design style. Even during the same time period, posters from different countries have their own unique look and each artist had their own style.
Early on posters were printed using a complicated process of stone or plate lithography but over time other printing techniques (photolithography, woodblocks, silk screens, photo-offset) were used.
Vintage poster prices are determined by a number of factors: the artist who produced the poster, the rarity of the poster, the subject matter of the poster, the condition of the poster, and the global vintage poster market. Although there is no definitive price guide for antique posters, auction prices typically define a fair market value. Collectors must remember that every poster has a unique condition and provenance and because of that two posters of the same design may sell for vastly different prices.
Because vintage posters are essentially very old pieces of printed newsprint, many of them have been lined on linen backed to preserve and protect them. All posters that we sell are linen backed.
Reference: International Vintage Poster Dealer Association
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