Vintage posters are popular among collectors and decorators because of their beautiful artwork and interesting historical context. What many people don't realize, however, is that vintage posters can be quite valuable. Here's why:
Simply put, vintage posters are rare. When posters were created decades ago, they were produced for a specific use, maybe to advertise a product, promote a concert or movie, or champion a cause. They weren't meant to be collected and displayed, but rather the intention was to only use them for short period of time. Many were damaged in use, thrown away, or simply deteriorated over the years. These original posters won't be produced again, and certainly not for their original purpose. The trick, of course, are finding the gems still worth displaying or restoring.
Second, vintage posters and prints are often associated with important historical events, making them valuable pieces of art and history. Remember when Jaws was released in 1976? How about that Led Zeppelin concert from the 1960s? Military, war and propaganda posters are a complete genre onto themselves. And our favorites just might be the original European posters that were displayed in shops and on the streets of Paris, Rome and beyond using the "new media" of the day, stone lithography. Each decade has it's important moments that influenced both the artists and the poster art they created. The Art Nouveau movement, the World Wars, the fear of Communist proliferation, Public Works Administration and National Parks, world travel and the psychedelic era are all well documented through the artwork found in posters. A fascinating historical journey indeed!
Finally, vintage posters are true works of art. At the turn of the 19th century, the great artists of the time all wanted to dabble in this new art form. Alphonse Mucha, Leonetto Cappiello, Gino Boccasile and other great artists also became celebrated poster artists. Bold and beautiful graphics were created that were both eye catching and artistically stunning. In the decades to follow, graphic artists led the way with innovative, clever, and visually stunning designs that use art to convey their message. While primary function at the time might have been to communicate a commercial message, the medium to convey this was backed by incredible artistic talent.
How valuable are these posters? Well it all depends on rarity, condition and demand, but consider this classic example-- a 1931 classic Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi which sold for $525,000:
Remarkable! Of course most posters don't come close to this ultra rare gem, but clearly the the demand for a beautiful piece of vintage artwork will never lose it's luster.
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