London Underground poster auction set for Christie's in October

A rare collection of London Underground posters is coming to auction at Christie's later in the year.

The 300 original posters, dating from 1913 to 1955, come directly from the London Transport Museum archives.

Each of the posters, produced by some of the genre's most celebrated artists, is a duplicate copy. Yet that fact should not prevent these items from achieving considerable sums at auction, such is their striking beauty and desirability.

London Underground poster auction
Marc Fernand Severin’s 1938 work has a £2,000 high estimate

Estimates range from £800 to £15,000 for the pieces, which will sell in London on October 4, following a preview at the auctioneer between July 16 and August 24.

Nicolette Tomkinson, a director at Christie's, said that the sale will feature "some of the most recognisable and sought-after designs in the history of vintage posters, in pristine condition".

Posters for "the tube" were first produced in 1908, when the six independent companies operating lines in the capital began promoting themselves as The Underground and hired leading artists to advertise their services.

"The fact that [travel posters] were designed to be disposable… means survivors are relatively rare and the best examples can command impressive sums," writes Simon de Burton in the Financial Times.

Man Ray's Keeps London Going poster from 1938 holds the record for a travel poster at auction; it sold for £50,400 at Christie's in 2007.

Christie's will be auctioning a collection of London-based artefacts, including several vintage travel posters of the capital, at its My London auction on September 3. The sale will also include a red double-decker bus.

View results from the Underground auction here.

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