Collectable wall hangings for your home

Boris Karloff's Attack of the 50ft Woman will cost you £17,500

Boris Karloff's Attack of the 50ft Woman will cost you £17,500 - Credit: Archant

Antiques so often end up on our shelves and in cabinets, until we no longer really see them, except to dust or polish – so, Carol Burns asks why not adorn the walls with something collectable instead?

When it comes to antique or collectable wall hangings, most of us probably think of paintings. But there is more to your walls then pretty pictures. I have a tiny obsession with wallpaper. Although my walls are unerringly painted blanc to show off the paintings I created while studying an MA in Fine Art, wallpaper holds a steady fascination and I have found new ways to indulge myself.

Perhaps it is the 1970s floral of my childhood that entice me. Or the years of delicious samples that occasionally find their way to us here at the Hampshire Life offices, but I love to collect samples of old – sometimes handprinted wallpapers, especially those that remind me of my childhood and frame them.

The great thing about vintage wallpapers is that generally anything with the vintage, retro or antique tag features an old classic design, but freshly printed on to the best papers.

Perhaps the greatest name in wallpaper design is William Morris. William Morris began designing wallpapers in the 1860s which were hand printed by Jeffrey & Co. in London using wood blocks and mineral based natural pigments. Morris created stunningly beautiful wallpapers with complex rhythms and movement which seemed to capture the randomness and symmetry of nature.

These same designs are produced today by machine, using surface or ‘flexographic’ rollers and modern inks at their factory (

Among the widest range comes from Sanderson ( Their Vintage Wallpaper collection was launched in 2010 to celebrate Sanderson’s 150th Anniversary and offer a glimpse of treasures in Sanderson’s unparalleled archive dating back over the past 150 years.

Barker & Bird ( have an incredible collection of vintage wallpapers dating back to the wild days of late 1970s large geometric designs – perfect for a feature wall.

Of course, if wallpaper is not your thing, and you don’t have a spare million for your own Stubbs, invest anything from a few hundred to many thousands on a vintage poster.

Whether old advertising hoardings or promoting your favourite flick, framed posters can look great – and will tend to increase in value. Original posters are pricy – I have my eye on a smouldering Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s classic To Catch a Thief from 1955 priced at £3,500. When it comes to posters – value depends on the usual things, its condition, and its demand. Classic films with well-known designs fetch a premium. As do older ones, which by nature are often rare – a recent auction sold a poster of the classic Fritz Lang German film Metropolis (1927) recently sold for $850,000 at auction. But don’t assume that means A-list films: a rare poster of the B-movie sci-fi classic Attack of the 50ft Woman is currently available for £17,500.

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But you can find them for a few hundred pounds, frame them and sit back while they increase in value. Happy hunting!


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