A collection of original sketches by the ‘king of the saucy postcard’ made in excess of £1,000 at an antiques auction in Cirencester last week.
Ten original sketches in the manner of Donald McGill, unsigned but believed to be one of the Bamforth artists – whose work will be familiar to anyone who has ever browsed the postcards at a British seaside resort – achieved a total of £1,080, with individual sketches making up to £180.
The pencil sketches with handwritten or typed punchlines were drawn for postcard publisher Bamforth.
The most popular – a red-faced policeman telling curvy blonde driver with the broken taillight “You’ve got no light behind, so I’m afraid I’ll have to pinch you,” achieved £180 – well in excess of the £80 to £120 estimate.
Meanwhile, the buxom blonde showing her bloomers as she waters her flowerbed, with one passing man saying to the other “I like her display of pinks, Fred!” sold for £160, while a harried lift attendant begging a busty woman “Pardon me Miss – could you possibly turn sideways ! I want to close the doors” made £100.
The jokes might make us groan now, but back in the 1950s they fell foul of strict morality laws.
The director of public prosecutions, Sir Theobald Mathew, waged war on the saucy postcard industry – a war that saw McGill hauled before the beak for breaking the Obscene Publications Act.
While the collection was the highlight of the sale, the pieces were sold individually, so did not win a place on the list of the highest lot price of the day.
That top spot was reserved for a set of five early 19th Century oak panel seated hall chairs, with C-shaped scroll decorated backs with twin lion motif, which achieved £2,200, while the hammer fell on an oak display cabinet in the 17th Century taste at £1,150.
More 17th century furniture – this time in the form of a pair of oak trestle table end supports – achieved £520, while a modern cream painted Simon Horn full tester bedstead in the early 19th Century taste sold for £480.
The next sale at Moore Allen and Innocent takes place on Friday, January 23, while entries are being sought for the specialist Sporting sale on February 6. For more information log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk