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Vintage adverts displaying region's coastal charms to go on sale at auction

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 28, 2012

  • Some of the posters, used to entice holidaymakers to the South West by rail, are due to go on sale next month

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Seven Westcountry railway posters originally designed to entice holidaymakers to the area during the middle of the last century are expected to fetch up to £7,000 when they go under the hammer next month.

Three were produced for Great Western Railway before the Second World War, while the other four are from British Railways.

Now these magnificent seven posters from the steam era are expected to sell for between £5,400 and £7,300 at Bloomsbury Auctions in London on Thursday, July 12. And four of these could fetch more than £1,000 each.

One of the most valuable posters – Devon Trawlers – was produced by artist Frank Henry Mason for British Railways in or around 1950, when British fishermen were still allowed to catch what they wanted. It is expected to sell for between £1,000 and £1,500.

Frank Henry Mason's pre-1948 Great Western Railway poster of Plymouth, all lit up on a balmy summer evening and emblazoned with the words "Plymouth, Centre of the West For Holidays" is expect to go for between £1,200 and £1,400.

Another Plymouth poster produced for the GWR by artist Claude Buckle and featuring the words "Plymouth Devon, Delightful Centre For Holidays" – shows holidaymakers strolling across the Hoe and admiring the breathtaking view of a sun-kissed, unpolluted azure sea.

Another 39in x 24in poster, advertising Ilfracombe "on glorious Devon's ocean coast" – by artist Dobson Broadhead for British Railways – is valued at between £500 and £700.

And a pre-1948 Great Western Railway poster, by an unknown artist and featuring the words "Sunny South Devon, It's Quicker By Rail" should sell for between £250 and £350.

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

Now these posters, which once adorned railway station platforms and waiting rooms, are becoming increasingly sought-after and valuable mementoes of a gentler, by-gone age.

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