Collector's Corner: Winter sports memorabilia

Demand for winter sports memorabilia is booming so get your skates on, says Gwyn Jones

The Winter Olympics began in spectacular fashion last night, with the stage set in Turin for two weeks' of snow-bound sport. And while the winter games do not attract the same attention as the summer tournaments, there is a burgeoning market in snow-sports memorabilia.

At last month's ninth annual Winter Sports sale at Christie's, the auction was dominated by posters. "There are always new people coming into the market. We're finding new buyers all the time and there are a lot of young collectors," says Nicolette Tomkinson, a specialist. "They are mostly ski enthusiasts who don't necessarily buy other posters but collect by resort so that they can put the poster in their chalet or home."

These posters hark back to the first era of mass ski tourism when resorts commissioned some of the finest artists to create posters that would attract holidaymakers to their areas - most date from the 1920s and 1930s.

The most popular resorts are St Moritz for Switzerland, then Davos, Cloisters and Chamonix in France. Areas such as the Jungfrau region are also popular, as is Murren.

Some collectors are keen on certain artists such as Roger Broders or Carl Moos, or the world record-holding ski poster artist Emil Cardinaux, who designed the St Moritz Palace Hotel poster that made £23,900 in 2004. Often, posters are bought because they are from the venue where the collector skis.

Prices have risen dramatically over the past 10 years. The world record Palace Hotel poster could have been snapped up for a mere £2,000 to £3,000 in the Nineties. Even though the group of collectors with the necessary money to be able to afford to buy these posters today is relatively small compared to some sports, the dearth of good items available ensures that prices remain high.

"It takes us a whole year to get in the material for our sale - there's simply not much around," explains Tomkinson. This is good news for anyone with a poster to sell, while a lack of good-quality material should ensure prices will rise steadily in the long term.

Despite the popularity of this market, there are some posters that keen-eyed investors might do well to look at. "The art nouveau period is currently less sought-after," adds Tomkinson. "Some of the earlier examples of skiing posters from around 1910 are generally undervalued. We had a Winter in Bayern poster dated 1905 in our last sale which was estimated to make £700-900. It came in under estimate at £650, but it's an early example of winter sports posters, so they're a good thing to look out for at the moment.

"There's no explanation why art nouveau is less popular at present but things can change round again."

Even some relatively modern posters are on the up. In the last Christie's sale, a Verbier poster from 1960 fetched £600 against an estimate of £250-350. It's a popular resort but a relatively young one.

The posters are the high end of the winter sports market, but there are other collectables. A few years ago Christie's carried some skis in one of its early sales, though this has been dropped because the auction house was swamped with people wanting to sell their skis.

In fact, only the old examples from the 1890s up to the 1920s and 1930s make good money and as Sean Arnold, a sporting antiques dealer, explains, they have to be in very good condition.

"They must also have their poles in good condition and it's the poles which are harder to find intact than the skis themselves," Arnold says. "We also sell snow shoes and the like, and even ice axes, but they have to be early examples."

Manfred Schotten, an Oxfordshire specialist in sporting memorabilia, also sells skis from the Twenties and Thirties for around £140 a pair, whilst Norwegian skis from the 1890s will fetch up to £1,400.

Both dealers have found a rising market in old photographs, an area that is generally booming at present. Original photographs from the early 1900s sell well but because they are very small, modern handmade reprints are produced from them. These reprints are unlikely to be an investment, but they are decoratively very popular.

Quality and rarity are the key words in this market. A very good condition early child's wooden sledge would fetch around £60 at most - and don't forget that's only if you're selling directly to a collector. If a dealer is buying, you can cut that amount quite considerably as they need to make their profit.

Away from the specialist auction and shops, there are very few places to buy and sell winter sports memorabilia. Even eBay, the world's biggest online auction site, has just a handful of items and most are recent or reproductions.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

    Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

    The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

    £43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there