Nov/Dec 2021 edition
Issue #19 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Photos and story by Tony Singer
With the ubiquity of Internet access, auctions seemingly popping up all over, and a multitude of eBay offerings, one has to be increasingly careful, if not downright suspicious.
If you read the fine print with most auctions, the burden of proof rests with you, the buyer. The auction is merely a conduit that connects an unknown seller with an optimistic buyer. As noted in an earlier e-blast, one company flat out said they don’t and won’t guarantee anything! With eBay, you have to “trust” what the seller says. [Editor’s note: If you buy something on eBay and deem it is not as described – not authentic – you can return it to the seller within a window of time, which I have done with a few fakes! BUT… the burden is still on you to know if it is real or not.]
So, what is a buyer to do? The simple answer is to deal with a seller who stands behind what they sell. This seller should be saying, clearly, that a poster in question is “guaranteed original.”
One can assume, therefore, that without said assurance, the opposite is likely to be true.
I make a strong point about this, in particular, when posters start to become more than mere “garage art” costing $50 or $100. Now, not everyone is that demanding, and it surely changes along with the price point of the image under consideration, depending upon intended use.
Take for example, the world-famous Shell Racing Commemorative Poster, by Geo Ham, from 1934. This stunning image, if original, ranges from about $5,000 to $7,500 depending on condition. Yet one can find a similar image on the Internet for a few hundred dollars. You, as the buyer, need to know quite specifically what it is you are buying.
Many times, the size of a poster is a dead giveaway. The Shell poster is approximately 23.75”x31.5”, and the repros generally are quite different.
The Porsche Triple Class Victory is another great case in point. This 1954 poster, a watercolor wash by Erich Strenger, was only issued in a size of 16.5”x23.75”, and the Italian flag’s stripes are at an angle, as per the photo. In the 1980-’90s a repro came onto the market with perfectly vertical stripes bleeding off the left and right edges, much stronger colors, and in a much large size. The original, depending upon condition, is $5,000 to $6,500, whereas the repro is $400 to $600. Quite a few auction houses have offered, and continue to offer, this reproduction as original!
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Vintage Auto Posters
Tony Singer, the owner of Vintage Auto Posters and Automobilia Monterey International Expo writes about finding, preserving and collecting Vintage Auto Posters.