July 31 2014 Latest news:
Buried deep in a Fakenham attic, it seemed that a forgotten collection of posters depicting a golden age of British travel may never see the sun again.
Buried deep in a Fakenham attic, it seemed that a forgotten collection of posters depicting a golden age of British travel may never see the sunlight again.
But earlier this month, viewers of the Antiques Roadshow saw Mo Blundy's, below, amazement when she discovered she owned vintage works by some of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century.
Now, 13 of the iconic British Rail images are expected to fetch more than £8,000 when they go under the hammer at a prestigious London auction house next month.
Ms Blundy, 62, said the posters were originally collected by her uncle Joseph Puddey, an artist and lithographer who worked for the printing houses of Waterlow and Dangerfield in the 1920s and 30s.
But after “Uncle Joe” died in 1986, she found them in a battered leather suitcase while clearing out his home in St Albans.
Since then, they have moved home with her to Fakenham and were destined for the dump until her neighbour, Eileen Siddle, urged her to take them along when BBC film crews arrived at Oxburgh Hall, near Swaffham, last July.
Antiques Roadshow expert Paul Atterbury said the posters were worth up to £1,000 each and singled out one by Frank Mason from around 1930 showing the Flying Scotsman steaming along the East Coast rail route to Scotland.
That item is now valued at up to £2,000 by auctioneers at Christie's in South Kensignton, where the collection will be put up for sale on May 20.
Ms Blundy said: “When I found out the valuation, it was just open-jawed amazement that a piece of paper could be worth so much money.
“These posters were put up in stations, then pulled down and thrown away. Perhaps that is why they are so valuable now.
“Eileen came round to help me clear out the loft and she instantly saw the value of the posters. I couldn't really be bothered - they had been in the loft for such a long time.
“Uncle Joe was a fantastic artist and really interested in art. He worked at the places these posters were made and he must have known some of the artists. I can only guess that at the end of the print run there were one or two left and he stowed them away.”
Sophie Churcher, vintage posters specialist at Christie's, said: “The posters illustrate images of stunning landscapes and glamorous holiday makers, harking back to the uncomplicated pleasure of the British holiday.
“This, coupled with their rarity and historical significance, has made them extremely sought after today.
“Ms Blundy's posters are a rare and exceptional find. It is very unusual to come across such a unique and early collection of British Railway posters that have been untouched for all these years.”