AntikBar: online vintage-poster gallery

Head-turning images, from Alpine slopes to Soviet-era Russia

Browse online poster gallery AntikBar, and the abundance of Soviet-era posters immediately grabs the attention. “They’re mainly from the 1920s and 1930s and from my personal collection,” says founder Kirill Kalinin, the economist-turned-dealer who launched AntikBar in 2011.

These Russian works account for 20 per cent of the more than 1,500 posters available on the site – the remainder take in a vast array of countries, styles and categories. Although the site specialises in posters, books and magazines, maps and prints are also for sale. A navigation bar allows users to search by date – the oldest item is a map of the Moscow Kremlin from 1686 and the most recent are from 2010. However, the bulk of the stock, says Kalinin, is from the 1930s to 1950s.

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Categories include cinema, automobiles, war and sport, with the most popular being travel (which includes a 1970s drawing of the Alps by Salvador Dalí, £150, second picture, and a 1950s picture of Helsinki, £525, third picture) and advertising (a poster for the OBM furniture store in Rouen is £950, while a 1950s pin-up-style Philips Autoradio ad by French artist R Jeleng is £575, first picture).

Skiing posters in particular are highly sought after, says Kalinin, adding: “They are hard to come by and prices are going up year on year.” In the end, however, it’s about how a piece speaks to a buyer. “These works offer a strong emotional connection,” he says. “One gentleman bought an American Graffiti poster, as it was the first film he saw in a cinema with his father.”

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All AntikBar’s works are guaranteed originals – the site is a member of the US-based International Vintage Poster Dealers’ Association, as well as LAPADA, the Association of Art & Antique Dealers, which has a strict code of practice and will intervene in the case of a dispute. In addition to offering advice for collectors and a search-on-demand service, AntikBar can help buyers find something specific, as Kalinin recently did for a client looking for South African posters. The site also works with a California-based restoration company to address colour loss, tears and stains.

“These posters mainly date back to a time pre-TV,” says Kalinin. “They were a way to reach a mass audience and designed to make you stop, look and remember. Today, they have become an alternative to modern art and are ideal for those wanting a bright, bold statement for their walls.”

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