Railway posters may fetch £10k

Lithograph in colours, 1930
Lithograph in colours, 1930
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FIVE pre-war Scarborough and Bridlington railway posters are set to fetch nearly £10,000 at an auction later this month.

All five posters measure 40in inches by 50in and were produced for the London and North Eastern Railway during the steam era between 1924 and 1935.

Lithograph in colours, 1924

Lithograph in colours, 1924

The oldest, produced in 1924 and therefore one of the earliest posters issued by the LNER which was founded the previous year, on January 1 1923, is the Scarborough Castle poster by Bradford-born Frank Newbould. That is expected to fetch between £1,000 and £1,500 at the Christie’s South Kensington auction in London on May 12, while at the same sale another Frank Newbould view of Scarborough – of a couple in a speedboat named The Queen – was produced in 1930 and that could sell for between £1,500 and £2,000.

Frank Newbould also created one of the Bridlington posters in the Christie’s’ sale. The 1935 poster, emblazoned with the words ‘Bridlington: It’s quicker by rail’, is also valued at between £1,500 and £2000.

Tom Purvis’s 1932 Bridlington poster – featuring a toddler in a yellow hat – is, at £2,000 to £3,000, the most valuable of the five North Yorkshire posters. Fred Taylor’s 1928 Bridlington poster – of boats packed with tourists – could sell for between £800 and £1200.

Frank Newbould, Tom Purvis, Fred Taylor, Austin Cooper and Scarborough’s Frank Henry Mason, who, in 1911, lived at 14 Filey Road, Scarborough – were the LNER’s top five poster artists of the late 1920s and early 1930s. They signed deals to work exclusively for the LNER and between 1927 and 1929 Mason received a retainer from the LNER for £350 a year.

This was generously increased to £450 a year for the years 1930, 1931 and 1932.

In the early and middle parts of the 20th century, when comparatively few people owned cars and when overseas holidays were beyond the financial reach of many, railway companies, such as the LNER, commissioned artists to produce colourful, eye-catching posters in a bid to boost rail travel to seaside resorts, beauty spots and places of historical interest throughout Britain.

These posters, which once adorned railway station platforms and waiting rooms, are now much sought-after and increasingly – valuable mementoes of a gentler, bygone era.

At Swann Galleries, in New York, on November 15 2010, a rare circa 1925 LNER Scarborough poster by Reginald Higgins sold for £6,750.