Interpreter’s poster translates into top sale

A 1904 poster issued jointly by the South Eastern & Chatham Railway and the travel firm Thomas Cook was a top seller at a Transport Auctions of London sale in Croydon on July 1, going under the hammer for £1300.

The poster featured a uniformed interpreter who provided services and assistance free of charge to travellers on principal trains and steamers at Dover and Folkestone.

Two other £1300 realisations were achieved by a Harry Beck first edition London Underground diagrammatic pocket map issued in 1933 and an East London Railway and Underground direction sign.

The sign incorporated a pointing finger and is believed to have been located at Whitechapel station, possibly from 1884 when the District Railway station opened there. The auction house’s Michael Wickham said the sign, which was obtained by the vendor’s grandfather who worked for the East London Railway, was the oldest Underground sign he had ever seen at auction.

Another four-figure success was a 1947 London Underground poster map by Harry Beck that went for £1000, while a selection of about 100 LU diagrammatic pocket maps dating from 1946-66 sold for £700.

A railway poster issued by the LMS circa 1924 promoting the Scottish Highlands that fetched £550 was painted by Sir David Young Cameron (1865-1945), and depicted the sort of dramatic mountain weather so frequently encountered in this region of Scotland.

Glasgow-born Sir David, who was knighted in 1924 and the son of a church minister, was an official World War One artist for the Canadian Government, and a trustee of both the Tate Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery. Prices exclude buyer’s premium of 16%.

Michael said: “Despite the disrupted train services, hot weather and competing World Cup, it was a successful sale with strong internet demand. In addition to the 1904 poster and the enamel sign from the 1880s, standouts included the Beck LU poster map and the LMS poster.”

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