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Vintage Poster F.A.Q.'s

What does "Original Vintage Poster" mean? Where do they come from?

The term "Original Vintage Poster" refers to the fact that the poster we are selling is from the time it was first created, and not a reproduction printed later. For example, if a poster is listed on our site as "1925", this is the actual poster created in 1925.

The images that we display are generally at least 50 years old, and originated mostly in Europe. They were used to advertise all manner of things - foods, liquors, entertainment, travel, and others. These vintage posters were commissioned by advertisers, using the best commercial artists of the day. Some of those artists are now very well known. Henri de Toulouse - Lautrec is perhaps the most famous of many great poster artists.

Colorful advertising posters first became popular in the late 1800's. The preferred method of printing, called stone lithography, was developed for vintage posters in Paris by Jules Cheret. It was an exciting art form that brought out colors and graphics, and Paris was transformed into a city full of posters. The kiosks on the streets, the sides of building, and the interiors of stores and restaurants were all used to display these exciting new posters. The popularity of original posters quickly spread throughout Europe and North America.

Who collects Original Vintage Posters? What makes posters valuable?

The collecting of Vintage Posters was started with the first distribution of the posters themselves. Some art dealers believed they could sell these "advertising" pieces to their customers. They sought out the poster artists and the printers in an effort to secure some over runs. Some dealers and collectors went so far as to remove the posters from their outdoor displays. However, it must be remembered that most of the vintage posters were destroyed in actual use. They were mounted on walls and merely discarded or ripped away when the next new image became available. While Vintage Posters were originally produced in editions that numbered in the hundreds, and sometimes thousands, few survive in their original state. The lithographer's stones did not normally survive past their first printing.

It is the combination of rarity of a poster, condition, artist, and the image itself that will determine the final selling price of an individual poster. Some people purchase Vintage Posters with a specific subject matter, some are looking to work with a particular color scheme, while others prefer the style of a particular artist. At all times, the better the condition of a poster the higher its price. The size of the piece does not always determine the value of a poster.

Where are Original Vintage Posters Used?

Vintage posters are used in many different ways. In the home many people use these striking images as the focal point of a room, often the living room or family room, but also the kitchen and bedroom as well. In an office setting posters can be used in a lobby, as well as in conference and showrooms. Some businesses use Vintage Posters to promote their own products or just to create an atmosphere pleasing to their clients and employees. Hotels and restaurants use our Vintage Posters to enhance the ambiance of their establishments. Whether it be just one, or a full display of Vintage Posters, they lend themselves to a room setting where people are having a good time.

What is Linen-Backing?

You may notice that many of our Original Vintage Posters are listed as having been "archivally backed onto linen". This refers to the museum standard process of preserving vintage and antique paper. The poster is treated on its back with acid-free, water soluble methyl cellulose adhesive and affixed onto an acid-free barrier paper that has been joined with linen on its back. This process creates an archival backing for the poster, which protects it from damage in handling and shipping, resists mold and residue, and also helps the poster lay flat within a frame. This process serves to protect the original poster, and often increases its value.

Some of our newer posters may not require this archival backing process, while others may have been printed using a method that does not make linen-backing a safe option (screen-prints, for example, are rarely able to be backed without damaging the poster itself). These items are listed throughout our site as being "printed on paper".