27/01/2012 Christie’s ‘The Ski Sale’: Record prices for vintage ski posters
The annual Christie’s Ski Sale, this year held on 25 January, proved once again that there’s money not only on the slopes, but also in investing in the timeless advertising material of years past.
Many pieces changed hands for five-figure sums, and ‘Les Sports d'Hiver a St Pierre de Chartreuse’, by Roger Broders (1883-1953), estimated at £5,000 – 7,000, achieved a sizeable £32,450 – a possible world record. The total hammer price for the sale approached £1/4million.
As a subject, anything associated with St Moritz is always highly collectible. So it was no surprise that second and third in the rankings were posters advertising the famous Alpine resort. Two classic works by Emil Cardinaux (1877-1936) with St Moritz as the subject sold well for £25,000 (‘The Palace Hotel, St Moritz’) and £23,750 (simply, ‘St Moritz’).
By contrast, there were many lots sold in the far more affordable, sub-£1,000 bracket. The artist Walter Herdeg’s treatment of a fresh-faced lady skier adjusting her bindings on the slopes of St Moritz sold for £813, as an example.
The trend, though, has been of steadily rising prices. This is partly as a result of the current mode for tangible asset investment, in part because of the sheer rarity and fragility of what was intended to be a throw-away item, but mainly due to their classic design and attractiveness wall-mounted in an Alpine chalet or Chelsea pied à terre.
Nicolette Tomkinson and Sophie Churcher, responsible for Christie's 19th and 20th Century vintage poster sales, reported many bids coming directly from the slopes and were delighted with the 96 per cent overall sell-through rate.
On 17 April, Christie's will hold its next vintage poster auction, this time focusing on the Olympics. A timely event in this, London’s Olympic year. For further information, visit www.christies.com.