Mar/Apr 2019 edition
Issue #4 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
The one consistent line of questioning from both seasoned collectors, and the new purchaser is: preservation of the poster.
The assumption is that a poster under consideration is “collectible”, having a good market value, and worthy of the investment of proper conservation techniques and possible framing.
The aim of preservation of the poster is to retain its authenticity as well as condition and color in the best manner consistent with current archival practices established and practiced world-wide. That “standard” is professional archival linen mounting. This method uses a water-based adhesive to affix the poster to acid free paper, which has already been like-wise affixed to linen. This should only be done by an expert in the field. It is a readily reversible process, but why one would wish to do this eludes me.
This new setting for the poster provides an extremely stable environment that allows handling, rolling, shipping, and framing without damage, as well as avoiding the wrinkles from humidity. The “12 Hours Paris” poster photos show the poster before and after linen. Professional linen mounting costs will vary based upon size, and any restoration required. The basic mounting charge runs from about $75 to $250 depending upon size.
The polar opposite of this is a practice used mainly in the 1960-1980s called “dry mounting”. For a “collectible” poster it is a near-death experience. Why? Unlike linen, this process uses a solvent based adhesive, heat and pressure to permanently affix the poster to foam-core or some other type of stiff backer. As a general statement, it reduces the value by 75%. There is no guarantee of being able to un-do this nor what effect it will have on the poster itself. I might add that dry mounting of any collectible prints (lithographs and serigraphs) also kills their value.
Should one wish to now frame the poster, there are a few directions worth giving to your quality framer. One is, to only use ‘archival’ [acid free] materials and the other is to use UV treated glass [if relatively small] or plexiglass [a matt or some other spacer should be employed to prevent the poster from touching the glass or plexi]. This will help reduce the damage from light that interacts with your poster.
Another issue worth addressing is light itself. A bright and sunny location, while lovely, is far from ideal for your poster. As most were printed 40 or more years ago, with inks, which were not the world’s most light-stable type. Doing whatever you can to protect the poster will give you years of pleasure instead of ending up with a washed-out image.
The “McQueen Drives Porsche” photos are a fine example of what a pristine poster looks like, and one which has had excessive light exposure/damage. There is nothing that can bring back the lost color, and the values are significantly affected. The light effected McQueen poster would have cost around $120 to linen mount.
If your environment has windows, I would suggest contacting someone who is actively involved with 99%+ UV film application for household windows. This material, by 3M and others, is a miracle! It reduces the damaging UV light which trashes furniture, carpets, floors, and posters….
Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments, etc.
To read more great columns like this one from automotive poster expert Tony Singer...
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.