Thursday, November 13, 2008

Article in the International Herald tribune

There has been an article published in the blog pages of the International Herald Tribune tonight! And it links to this blog. Ah, thanks guys.

Click here to read it but the text is reproduced below. Incidentally the cards featured are from previous years sales, before people get too excited.

In London, Purchase a Postcard Worth 42,000 British Pounds
Posted by Pam Kent in Local Customs, Something Different, Exhibits, London

Forty pounds might seem expensive for a postcard. But what if the postcard turns out to be an original work of art by the likes of Anish Kapoor, Yoko Ono, Olafur Eliasson, Tracey Emin, or Paula Rego? An annual fund-raising event at London’s Royal College of Art, “RCA Secret,” gives people the chance to spot the work of famous artists among 2,7000 works on postcards that are for sale. With a good eye and some patience, you may just get an incredible bargain.

RCA Secret runs from November 14th to 22nd and it works like this:

A combination of famous artists and young art students are asked to submit an original piece of work – it must be completed on a postcard and signed on the reverse, thus keeping the identity of the artist a secret until after it has been purchased. Viewing takes place at the RCA in Kensington over a week. Then, for one day only – November 22nd - all the postcards go on sale.

This event, to raise money to support fine art students at the college, was the idea of an RCA student and has been running for 15 years.

Postcards are sold on a first come, first served basis. So bargain hunters are unlikely to get the card they have set their heart on, unless they are prepared to stand in line for a long time – possibly overnight. There is a raffle for buyers to win a position in the first fifty places in the sale day queue but that is not a guaranteed option.

And you’ll have to compete with diehard contingent of about 20 people who are obsessed with the sale, have perfected their technique and come every year. One, Perry, has started his own blog. Two Damien Hirsts and a Tracey Emin are among his acquisitions in previous years. Sue Bradburn, of the RCA, told me that student and graduate artists sometimes emulate more famous artists thus making it even trickier to pick out an authentic piece by a recognized artist. So look closely before you assume a postcard with butterflies would be a Damien Hirst.

Each person is limited to purchasing 4 cards, so Ms. Bradburn recommends that buyers choose at least 50 cards to avoid disappointment. Postcards can be viewed on line at

This year contributors include not just artists but also other creative professionals: Wallace & Gromit creator, Nick Park, shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, inventor James Dyson and fashion designers Paul Smith and Sonia Rykiel.

Writing in the Times of London, Grayson Perry, a regular contributor to RCA Secrets, said that “Keeping the works anonymous is a very clever idea because potential buyers have to use their own powers of discrimination….They must look at art works closely rather than read labels, a habit they might find rewarding at any exhibition.”

Cards from previous sales have made a tidy profit for their buyers. In June 2007, a Damien Hirst skull drawing from RCA Secret 2004 resold for 15,600 pounds, one Peter Doig postcard made in 2000 sold for 42,000 pounds, another for 16,250 pounds – all at Sotheby’s auctions

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