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November 1991 – December 2017

Van Sabben Poster Auctions after 26 years and 50 catalogues.


It was not an everyday occasion, that first poster auction in the Netherlands and it was therefore witnessed by a large European and American audience and even some Dutchmen, as well as a fairly large part of the national press, Jan Pieter Glerum with a television crew and the eight o’clock NOS news in the evening. Quite an achievement  in a time in which we did not use mobile phones and still wrote each other letters and faxes.

The inventor had caused a huge amount of publicity, but had to lick his wounds at night. That was the past.


The first years in which sales of more than a thousand guilders for a poster would make the headlines, have long gone. There were bids from abroad by fax, and sometimes by phone, an overcrowded auction room filled with interested individuals and hardly any electronics. And of course, Willem de Winter who tirelessly lifted and dropped his hammer. A lot has changed in these years.


Barely three years ago a poster was stoically sold at auction for 250,000 euros. Even before that event a lot of other records had been broken, especially after Udo Boersma had started determining the specifications (1999) and had changed the rickety shack from the early years into a stable building with a view of the whole world.

Also in the home country some eyes were opened. The expertise grew and museums, which had become increasingly more destitute under dire financial circumstances, examined their depots and occasionally found underground treasures. Large, previously unknown collections, both privately and foundation-owned, were (re)discovered and offered to Boersma and his team to assess.

He already organised the first online auction in 2000.

In the meantime it has become possible to attend the auctions online all over the world and placing a bid has been reduced to just pressing the button, anywhere in the world.  


The auction house has more or less (in)conspicuously changed into one of the only four specialised houses which still remain in our time.

Looking back at the past years we remember numerous programmes on television and radio which highlighted our unique company and its driving forces. Yet our best memories are about the excellent posters we have been able to bring to the attention of a large audience. The 50th catalogue for the upcoming auction on 16 December comprises a small photographic exposé of top lots auctioned in the past 26 years.

Don’t miss it, this special event!


© Piet van Sabben, 2017