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Retro Cool 1950s Advertising Art Prints and Ads

Updated on April 4, 2016

Retro 1950s Advertising Art Prints

People who are interested in 1950s advertising art are either collectors, crafters or artists, or are simply sentimental. Regardless of why people collect them, they make great unique gifts for home or office d├ęcor. Some of the various art projects in which these are used include scrapbooking and card making.

You won't find advertising like this anymore. These were the days of the Mad Men of advertising. These campaigns were done one time only for a short period of time, which makes these old, vintage magazine ads unique, valuable, and collectible to some people.

The prints range in size from between about 8 x 11 to 11 x 14. Vintage ads will fit into standard frames and look beautiful as framed home, office, doctor's office, or business decor.

Vintage 1951 Yardley Face Powder Ad


1950s Advertising Art Prints - Categories and Concepts

1950s advertising art encompasses many categories. Here are some of the categories in which you can find unique, vintage 1950s magazine ad prints.

  • Movies/Film/Television
  • Cars & Trucks
  • Household Cleaners
  • Health and Beauty
  • Transportation
  • Travel/Vacation Destinations
  • Holidays
  • Liquor
  • Cigarettes
  • Appliances
  • Electronics
  • Wedding
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Sodas
  • Lawn Equipment
  • Boats and Motors
  • Fitness
  • Food

Not only can these retro 1950s ads be used for decorative purposes, they can also give you ideas for businesses, craft ideas, wedding theme ideas, honeymoon destinations, and recipes. Ads about food often included a recipe that you could use, or even a pull-out booklet of recipes.

1955 Bordon Ad with Mince Meat Pie Recipe

1955 Bordon Ad with Mince Meat Pie Recipe
1955 Bordon Ad with Mince Meat Pie Recipe | Source

The Popularity of 1950s Advertising Art

What makes them so popular?

1. They are part of America's nostalgic history.

2. They are part of one-time campaigns from the Mad Men era.

3) They hold sentimental value

Retro 1950s ads are cut or carefully torn from vintage magazines like Life, Post and Look. They come in full color or black and white. They look great in a frame, but are also ideal for decoupage projects. Just take care that the magazine paper isn't too thin or brittle due to age.

Besides the fact that many of these ads are long gone and so few are available, they are also related to special memorabilia, and unique ephemera. That sentimental value can't be replaced by the real thing, so these ads make the next best things.

I once sold an old Rocket 88 car ad to an eBay customer who told me how her grandfather had owned that particular car in the color used in the ad. He was going into a retirement community and she thought it would make a nice housewarming gift for him. When I had my eBay store, I really liked getting the stories people would tell me about why they bought an item. It made me feel like I was part of something bigger and better.

A lot of people like to buy them in good or bad condition to use in decoupage or scrapbooking projects. The larger ads are almost the right size to use as part of a scrapbooking page. The arts & crafts options are only limited by your own creativity.

Now for a quick quiz! Hint: You will find the answer in the hub.

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Retro Pepsi Cola Vintage Ad Framed

Have you ever bought a vintage 1950s ad?

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Where to Find 1950s Retro Ads

There are not very many to say the least. It is not likely you will find more than 20 to 30 of any one ad campaign from the 50s in any category, and that's a stretch. That number might be higher for less viable ads for collecting, but that's a pretty good round number for collectible purposes. It still makes them more valuable since there are so few left from each campaign. Keep in mind, the lower the availability, the more valuable the ad.

Where does one find vintage magazine ad prints? Auctions sites like Etsy, eBay, Bonanza, and iOffer are the most common online venues for vintage advertising. There are also independent websites that sell 1950s advertising art online. Craigslist, Artfire, and Amazon often have old vintage 1950s ads available for sale in singles or lots. You may also find them occasionally at yard sales, flea markets, local auction houses and antique shops.

Collectors' sites and swap meets will cost you more to get involved in 1950s retro vintage ad collecting, but if you're game, the sky is the limit.

1951 Admiral TV Advert with Retro Art


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I love vintage images like these. Cool hub!

    • profile image

      Marzime 6 years ago

      I love retro prints. They always catch my eye. Great hub and useful information.