Vintage World Cup Posters for Auction at Christie’s

Christie’s South Kensington sale on 13 May 2010 will offer approximately 200 lots, embracing the best of illustrative and graphic poster design. With a particular emphasis on football and the World Cup as the 2010 South African tournament prepares to commence in June, estimates range from £600 to £15,000, offering the chance to indulge in original vintage artwork from a variety of years and countries.

An exceptional example offered for sale is an extremely rare original poster produced in order to promote the first ever edition of the world championship for international association football teams – the FIFA World Cup – which was held over seventeen days in Uruquay in July 1930 (estimate: £15,000-20,000). Uruguay was selected as the host nation to further celebrate the centenary of its independence, and the Uruguay national football team had successfully retained their football title at the 1928 Summer Olympics. The number one dominates the image, highlighting the fact that this was the first ever world football championship. All matches were played in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, and the majority of these took place at the purpose built Estadio Centenario. Nicolette Tomkinson, Director, Specialist and Head of Sale said: “It is very appropriate that such a momentous event was commemorated by the best art deco football poster ever designed”. The poster’s Art Deco style is sleek and dynamic – a far cry from the prosaic realism of many football posters. An imposing image despite its small scale, at the time of production the poster was a powerful statement for football and Uruguay alike. In the 1930 final, Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people.

Another highlight from the sale is the 1966 World Cup poster by Carvosso (estimate: £800-1,200), which is likely to garner interest from patriotic English supporters. The poster depicts the Jules Rimet badge and uses simple and effective graphics to promote the venues where the finals were held. In an epic final the country that invented football – England – won the world cup, beating West Germany 4-2. It is their only World Cup victory to date. A happier year for fans of West Germany was 1974, the tenth World Cup, which they won in a final against the Netherlands 2-1 on home turf. That year was the first time that the current FIFA World Cup Trophy, which was created by the Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was presented. One lot in the sale includes two posters from the 1974 competition (estimate: £800-1,200). For Italian fans, and also sure to appeal to art enthusiasts is a poster designed by the famous Italian mixed-media artist Alberto Burri (1915-1995) for the 1990 World Cup: Italia 90 (estimate: £500-700). It is one of six versions that he produced for the World Cup, each with a different coloured central football pitch placed inside the contrasting black and white colosseum.

The sale is the perfect opportunity for football fans to bid for a piece of sporting history – perhaps from their favourite team, a significant year, or simply their favourite design. The official poster issued by the World Cup Committee to English clubs hosting the tournament.

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