Vintage advertising posters



2015-06-26 10:30:50

Vintage Advertising Posters are highly collectible posters relating to specific brands, products and companies in the late 19th and 20th centuries. History

Advertising posters first became mass-produced during the late 19th century, and remained popular up until the 1920s and 1930s.

They were an ideal replacement for advertising signs, which used expensive materials like porcelain, glass and metal, and were less easy to transport. Paper posters could be produced on a large scale, very cheaply, and easily posted out to distant distributors.

Some of the many popular and collectible items include posters which advertise women's rights, cigarettes, cigars, vehicles cabarets, propaganda, travel, food and beverages, and popular designers include the Art Nouveau posters of Alphonse Mucha and Leonetto Cappiello, the Modernist designs of Jean Carlu, and the Art Deco works of Paul Colin.

Guide for collectors

Advertising posters are delicate items of ephemera, often pasted up outdoors and subjected to much wear and tear. Often they were pasted over with other advertisements, or discarded. Thus antique & vintage posters in good condition can be quite rare and valuable.

Posters which advertise cigarettes or smoking are highly collectible due to the fact that they are incredibly rare today, as well as items advertising cars or cycling. The most popular designs of advertising posters are ones which feature bold and bright colours or humour and wit.

Advertising posters can be found on eBay, in second hand stores, at garage sales and flea markets, and at specialist auctions of advertising ephemera.

It is worth noting that their popularity has led to wide scale modern reproductions and imitations. Many of these are sold as novelty items, but some may try to pass themselves off as genuine vintage examples. Be wary of anything that looks too pristine, and of sellers offering several examples of the same poster.

Restoration should be done by a professional, but is not generally recommended as it will decrease the poster's value. Posters should be framed rather than pinned with tacks.

Articles on vintage advertising posters

  • Vintage Chanel posters
  • Vintage airline posters
  • Liberty bonds posters

Notable sales

Burley Auction Group in New Braunfels, Texas sold:

  • An Anheuser-Busch beer advertising litograph poster (34.75" x 22.75") for $3,500 in April of 2008.
  • A Remington UMC advertising poster for gun ammo depicting a man hunting quail (26" x 18") for $1,000 in April of 2007.

Uniques & Antiques, Inc. in Aston, Pennsylvania sold two Joe Frazier boxing advertising posters (22" x 14" and 22" x 28") for $2,300 in February of 2007.

Great Gatsby's Antiques and Auctions in Atlanta, Georgia sold a framed "El Verso Cigars" advertising poster (48" x 33") for $800 in September of 2010, and the same poster for $500 in November of 2009.

Stanton Auctions in Hampden, MA sold a Ford Deluxe Coupe advertising poster (24" x 36") for $125 in October of 2010.

Wickliff & Associates Auctioneers in Carmel, Indiana sold a Bull Durham advertising poster depicting a cowboy in a tree lighting a pipe with a bull below (23" x 18") for $60 in May of 2011.

Early American History Auctions in Rancho Sante Fe, California sold a Lipton's Tea advertising poster featuring a woman in a red dress and the words "The Whole World Enjoys Lipton’s Tea" (circa 1920s; 19.25" x 14") for $1 in May of 2007.

Share on social media
Write a response...

The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.

Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.


Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.

collect it