In 1867, Jules Cheret, inspired by Japanese woodcuts, used the newly-developed four-color lithograph system to combine text and images into a new, easily produced, temporary form of advertising – the poster. Soon, European artists like Alphonse Mucha, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen were creating posters combining Art Nouveau aesthetics with easily understandable advertising.
Vintage posters are highly collectible as they can make great discussion pieces and bridge the worlds of art and history. The 20th Century saw a wide variety of memorable and iconic posters, from Uncle Sam's “I Want You” recruiting posters to Depression-era WPA posters to Fillmore-era concert posters. The prominence of the poster has continued into the 21st century, with a notable example being Shepard Fairey's Obama poster.
There are many collectible poster varieties, such as wartime, movies, music, political, sports, circus, aviation, railroad, and pure art posters. Condition, rarity, and attractiveness are especially critical with posters. Do your homework before you buy.