Yes or No?

If you're familiar with my website, you may have seen the vintage bus/destination signs that I sell. Well, just popped opened May's House Beautiful to see these signs above. It's inevitable. A trend gets reproduced and mass-produced.

Left to right;

a. replica of New York subway sign, price: $495 (yes, that's right...for a repro)

b. custom-made sign - from $295

c. 1950's Hong Kong Bus Sign $3,000 (yay, it's vintage!)

So, what do you think? Would you buy a repro for $495? Do you like the custom-made? Has this trend gone to far?

photos from House Beautiful (a. Restoration Hardware, b. Watson Kennedy, c. Liza Sherman Antiques


La Dolfina said…
I would not. Recently I was in a friend's shop where I saw so many items that I have that are vintage originals that she was selling as reproductions and they were all priced higher than what I paid for the originals. I left there wondering the same thing... who would buy these?
I'd rather not have something if it wasn't authentic.
This repro trend has gone too far!
vicki archer said…
I am always going to prefer the I will probably end up with nothing! But I love the real deal and am never happy with reproductions...xv
Verhext said…
I never, ever buy repros. Why would you? The thrill is in the hunt!
One Cheap B*tch said…
No repros!

Yikes -- okay, I'm going out on a limb here...

I like BOTH. But rarely can I afford the vintage version of the thing I long for, soooo, if I can find a knock-off that I still really like, well... I'm there.

As for the subway signs/bus signs ... in that case, I actually own both originals and Pottery Barn repro's.
The vintage signs are under glass on top of my work desk -- I enjoy them all day, every day and they are protected. The large floor cloth version from Pottery Barn is on the floor in the kitchenette of my office. I get the visual pop I crave (typography done in bold black/white) and the sense that I was able to stretch my dollar a bit further because I bought some of both - repro AND vintage. (By the way, the vintage versions of my subway signs are SMALL -- it's all I could afford at the time... but hey, I got them!) ;)

As for why something that is clearly a repro is priced higher than it's vintage counterpart... I suppose the answer in a nutshell would be (unfortunately) "because it CAN." People - especially those not "in the know" will pay what you ask when it's just a "look" they're shooting for.
Whether the thing is a vintage original or not does not tug at the heart nearly as much as simply achieving the look-dujour. :)

Okay -- I'm done. Sorry for the L-O-N-G comment!!! :)

It's always hard to say. For me personally I prefer the original but for some reproductions work just fine. I think when I buy an original I truly hope that no one finds a way to reproduce something so special to me. I do think that things have gotten a bit out of hand with reproductions and mass selling of vintage pieces. You loose the "thrill of the hunt" feeling that you get when you find a special original piece.
katiedid said…
I for the originals. Hopefully one can discover something wonderful before it becomes a "trend" and get in on the bottom floor of pricing.

I do like the graphic quality of these signs, but if buying a repro...why not just make you own instead?
Julie@beingRUBY said…
I'd certainly prefer the original.. it is a piece of history.. no matter how cleverly done, a reproduction is just that.. a reproduction... and to pay this much for a fake.. probably not.

You know this trend has been out of control over here for a few years.... and often done a tad tacky.... too many on the bandwagon.. For me I would love the old bus scrolls or tram scrolls .. something that would remind me of my journeys with my mum.... although something from distant shores would be nice too... xx Julie
I am going out on a limb with Ruth. I always prefer the real thing......... But there are repros and there are repros. The good ones are not inexpensive, the bad ones are hideous and tacky. I am about to do a post on this very subject soon. Very provocative! Maryanne :)
Sheira said…
As much as I loved bus rolls the very first time I saw them, for me, the trend has gone too, too, far, and is just tired now. Enough already!
Mélanie said…
As an antiques dealer , I would rather look for ages to find originals than to buy repro
It's funny I just came across this post because i have an image with an old British bus roll in the background on my blog and so many people have emailed me to ask either what it is or where it's from and I've even gotten emails asking me to buy mine. So I was doing a search to see if I could find anyone who sold authentic rolls and it lead me here!

I know that it's popular in the design world but for the most part I don't think people have caught on in the rest of the world. I still love mine. I think I always will as I've been to the places on my bus roll and I looked along time for it. Plus it's real.
There are knock off's of everything these days! Almost anything you buy is going to be copied at some point sadly so I think you just have to buy what you love and not worry that a new cheaper version might come out.

Plus I just can't help but love old things. They have stories to tell that something brand new out of a factory just can't. And not just in how it looks but in how you found it and who had it before. Maybe that is a whimsical sort of view but it's how I feel.

Also I'm glad I found this blog! We just went to round top too! I had a great time but I was mostly looking for industrial pieces. I'm not sure what days you went but next time I think I'll go before all the big shows open and just head to the junk tents. It was much more authentic and interesting. Although I do love the booth designs in the nicer shows.

Sorry for my long comment! But it was lovely to find your blog.
Brook said…
I've been looking for a reasonably priced original British bus blind forever. I think I'm just gonna have to give in and pay international shipping.

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