The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan


May 2014
Before the Bullet Train
Avant-garde posters now rare artworks
By Simon FarrellACCJ Journal they have never had such artworks and so could not estimate the value.

After the find, the student—who has requested anonymity—called poster expert Rudy Franchi, in Los Angeles, who sent photos of the pieces to experts around the world, but none of them had ever seen the posters before.

Franchi said: “Some people knew what they were, to the extent that they knew Japan’s national railway had distributed posters in the ’30s, but they had never seen them.”

“I’ve been dealing in posters for over 40 years and these are among the most strikingly beautiful images I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“They were found almost by accident. The young man who inherited them thought they were worthless, but he came across my website where I offer free verbal appraisals of posters. As soon as I started unrolling them I realized this was a major horde.”

Called “very fine on linen,” the posters had slight tears, pinholes, and chips that have since been repaired.



Simon Farrell is publisher at Custom Media.