Please note, SportsAntiques101 will be adding more photos of the fair on a separate page as soon as time allows


story posted 11/14/05


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12th Annual 2005
San Francisco International Vintage  

Poster Fair 



Carlton Hendricks

The 12th annual 2005 San Francisco International Vintage Poster Fair was held October 28th, 29th, and 30th at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. I think I've been to all twelve of them, starting when it was held in an upstairs photography studio across town from where it's held now.

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Fair entrance   View of San Francisco bay from window inside fair, Golden Gate Bridge in distance 


Years ago when it was held at that location I bought the worldís greatest polo poster ďTonik PoloĒ, from a dealer there named Eric Leyton of Artfax from Scottsdale Arizona. It was a once in a lifetime find. The only other known example is in the BibliothŤque Nationale de France. (National Library of France). Eric had just bought the poster eight days earlier in Brussels, out of a collection there. Thatís the kind of action that can happen at this fair, and itís whatís always kept me coming back!

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Israel Perry of Postermania, NYC

Terrot Dijon cycles and motorcycles poster, offered by The Kellenberger Collection, Switzerland, 19 3/4" x 9 3/4", $800.00

Whitworth Cycles, 50" x 81", offered by Poster Treasures, Paris


Anybody that knows anything about the antiques world knows the landscape has changed a lot because of the internet (eBay). The S.F. Poster Fair hasn't been spared. The number of dealers has slowly declined over the years. There were only 14 dealers this year, way down from thirty two at the 2000 fair. What's interesting is it's still an enjoyable show, especially for $12.00. As well as San Francisco, the promoter Louis Bixenman stages this fair in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Louis is to be commended for having these fairs, as he has almost single handedly introduced and promoted vintage posters to these regions. 

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Mather poster, 

36 1/2" x 43 1/2", offered by Mark Weinbaum, NYC, $3,000.00

Joel Goodman of Florida made a nice find, $425.00 

Steve McQueen, French Bullit poster, 61"x47",  offered by, Ontario, $1,750.00


On the subject of promoting vintage posters, accolades to Max Donner as well. Max and his associates had a booth at the fair to promote their new magazine about vintage posters called Classic Poster Collector. The magazine is produced in Los Angeles, and is only $20.00 a year.


These fairs are a rare opportunity to see an enormous number of rare vintage posters all in one day. The fair only comes once a year and has some of the best posters in the world, by some of the best dealers in the world. If youíre new to vintage posters, you could not ask for a better place to learn about and buy from reputable dealers on such a scale. 

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Booths shot

Very Rare and unique poster offered by Galerie Un Deux Trois, Geneva, 24" x 13 3/4", $1,200.00

American Literary posters offered by Ma Maison De Papier, Brussels


Before I go any farther, Iíll address that this site is about sports display antiques, and vintage posters are a big part of this world. However, in my subjective view I didnít find any sports posters worth mentioning at this yearís fair. Nevertheless Iím covering it anyway. Mainly just to show you what a poster fair is like, and treat you to some great non sport vintage posters. 


Over the years I've heard the same assessment numerous times from the dealers about the San Francisco poster fair.  They say that the people that come there, buy posters primarily for decoration; as opposed to more scholarly reasons like, artist, and genera. It's an interesting observation. I guess that means eastern buyers are more sophisticated. As someone who has grown up in northern California, that pretty much goes along with my general feeling that there is much more culture in the east. Those eastern poster buyers probably have just had more exposure to vintage posters, with more time to understand and appreciate them beyond decoration. 

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Marie-Laurence Bernard of Ma Maison De Papier, Brussels

Frank Capilla made this great find for his Palm Springs home, 30 1/2" x 46", $3,800.00 sold by Barclay Samson Ltd., London

 Eric Kellenberger of The Kellenberger Collection, Switzerland


Speaking of the buyers, the crowd at the San Francisco fair is usually  interesting. It takes a certain amount of vision to be there in the first place. You have to have some discretionary income, and you have to have moved beyond buying your pictures at the furniture store. You might loosely tag it the "wine and cheese and leather patches on the elbow crowd". Matter of fact, they actually did have free tasting of  wine and pate' there, plus tequila too! McKenzie-Mueller Vineyards and Winery of Napa Valley had a table set up, as did Marcel et Henri p‚tťs and sausages of South San Francisco. Corazon Tequila also had a table set up. 


Vintage posters are a unique collectible for a few different reasons. First theyíre big and fun; advertising posters were created to capture attention, so they are sort of graphic hybrids. When you display them in your space, your home or office that is, they naturally come with impact. And the variety of different kinds is almost unfathomable. You can collect by artist, style, subject, historical significance, nationality, era, or by no other reason than you just like it. From dairy products to vacation destinations; what ever your personal preference is, you can almost certainly find it in vintage posters. 

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Crowd shot

Cycles Peugeot poster, offered by Chisolm Gallery, NYC, 58" x 43 1/2", $1,800.00

Gilles Didier of Poster Treasures in Paris, showing his wares


When you consider all this with the fact they are relatively affordable in relation to original paintings, and that they usually hold there value, itís understandable why vintage posters have become so popular to collect. Prices for vintage posters are subject to many factors, but most are priced between $500.00 and $5,000.00 . Put simply, you get a lot of bang for the buck and youíre buying something you should at least be able to get your money out of, if not make a profit when you sell. Thatís the kind of fun we like!

If youíre new to vintage posters, a good place to start your education would be with the fact that most of them are European. If I had to guess at the ratio of European to American posters, Iíd say thereís probably about 10,000 European posters for every American one. But the good part is that even though theyíre way more rare, American ones generally arenít any more expensive, for now anyway. 

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Gail Chisolm of Chisolm Gallery NYC

French poster of The Great Dictator with Charley Chaplin, offered by Galerie Un Deux Trois, Switzerland, 55" x 40", $1,500.00

Booth of Jane Moufflet, St. Quen, France


I like the American ones best. Mark Weinbaum of New York City is about the only dealer left doing the San Francisco fair that deals in and has a good understanding of American posters. Mike Hovet of Chicago used to set up, and brought good American stuff, but he hasnít done the show for years now. George Meehan of Meehan Military posters no longer does the S.F. show either. The one dealer I miss most, that stopped doing the fair is Jean-Louie Lamot of Brussels. As far as my area of antique sports is concerned, Jean-Louie was definitely numero uno. He would bring all kinds of great sports stuff. It was a real treat to see his booth. The last San Francisco fair he did was in 2000. When I went to the 2001 fair, it was right after 9/11, and someone told me the reason he wasnít there was his wife didnít want him to fly. And then that was it, he hasnít done the S.F. fair since. Check out his website. I like his logo of a track runner running with a poster!


I hope you've enjoyed the photos of the fair and commentary, but there's nothing like seeing these great posters in person. Take it from me a veteran attendee, don't miss this fair, it's one of the best antiques shows of the year.





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Fair promoter Louis Bixenman and public relations consultant Frances Larose of 

The Larose Group


posted 11/14/05

Please note, SportsAntiques101 will be adding more photos of the fair on a separate page as soon as time allows