The Flagg Collection #5 – Michael Jordan “Wings” (1987) Nike 6-Foot Wall Poster

Posted June 1, 2017 by Neil Flagg
Categories: The Flagg Collection of Classic Sports Posters, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the fifth entry in this blog series, it’s one of the most famous sports posters of all-time – Michael Jordan “Wings”, the iconic black-and-white classic that turns, believe it or not, 30 years old this year. No serious poster collection is complete without this one, the all-time best-selling Nike poster, from the prime of the MJ era:

mj-wings-6foot.jpg

From the Air Jordan III era, when Nike’s MJ-branded sneaker line was reaching its peak, it features the simple photographic image of the 24-year-old pre-Championship-era Michael extending his ripped arms to show off his incredible wingspan, palming the ball with his right hand as he did in game-action every night to hold on for miraculous slam dunks.

Proving the old adage that “less is more”, the designers at Nike were smart enough to keep it simple – the photo in black-and-white, simple block letters “W-I-N-G-S” along the top white border, and the Nike swoosh in the bottom border along with the verse of poetry that every MJ fan has memorized:

mj-wings-verse.jpg

This specific poster held in The Flagg Collection is from a mid-1990s printing of this poster. It went through many, many press runs throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was certainly one of the top-selling posters of all-time. The first printing, to our knowledge, was a full 24″x72″ edition. They later cut it down to 23″x71″, as this one is, to fit the store racks of the day. Beware of knock-offs out of Asia – unscrupulous counterfeiters have flooded the modern market with cheap, smaller illegal reproductions that you can find for just a few dollars. Originals like this, however, regularly sell for hundreds of dollars at auction. This one, as with most of the holdings of The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

The Flagg Collection #4 – “Mr. Hockey and The Great One” (Nike 1990) – Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky

Posted May 23, 2017 by Neil Flagg
Categories: The Flagg Collection of Classic Sports Posters, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the fourth entry in this blog series, I’m bringing you a rare Nike classic with a controversial history. The content isn’t controversial at all – “Mr. Hockey”, Gordie Howe and “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky, in uniform, together on the ice in a classic pose, what could be wrong with that?

gretzky-howe-nike-1990

It was Nike’s use of the image that was the problem. According to a story I heard told way back in the late 1990s, this poster was discontinued and recalled by Nike soon after publication in 1990, due to a licensing issue with the picture. It seems the photo was part of a private shoot done for, I believe, the Coca-Cola company, and was not supposed to be released for any other use outside of Coke advertising. Apparently, the lawyers got to Nike, and the poster had to be discontinued and withdrawn from the market.

That didn’t stop a small quantity from getting out to the market, and we managed to obtain a stack of about 20 of them back in the day. They’re all long-gone, sold off to prime customers over the years, until we only had this last one left – and into the personal collection it went. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

The Flagg Collection #3 – Ken Griffey Jr. KENETICS 1991 Nike Poster

Posted May 15, 2017 by Neil Flagg
Categories: The Flagg Collection of Classic Sports Posters, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters held by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

For the third entry in this blog series, I’m showing off a true classic for fans of 1990s baseball and the great Hall of Fame slugger Ken Griffey Jr. This is from the height of the legendary Nike era of sports poster dominance, when the shoe company was more famous for its TV commercials and ancillary products like posters, than it was for footwear! Characteristic of Nike’s design creativity of the time, this full-sized 24″x36″ poster portrays the young, dynamic phenom Ken Griffey Jr. in the context of a physics experiment – instead of “Kinetics”, it’s “Kenetics”, studying the motion not of ordinary human mortals, but of the sweet-swinging Seattle Mariners superstar.

griffey-kenetics-nike-90

Check out the slim, baby-faced Junior in just his third Major League season here, displaying his picture-perfect swing mechanics for the camera (with a focus on his Nike cleats, of course). The graphics include blueprint-style geometrical calculations, and at the top-left, the following tongue-in-cheek text:

“Kenetics: a branch of baseball science that deals with the effects of the Griffey force upon the motion of the fastball, the curveball, the slider, the knuckleball, the forkball, spitball, scuffball, or mudball, inasmuch as that force is responsible for out-of-the-park trajectories of batted balls. Kenetics also explains how aerodynamic forces are overcome in order to raise the batting coefficient over .300.”

griffey-kenetics-text

It’s hard to tell how many of these ever made it to market, but I’m guessing it was very few. It is a 1991 release, and 1991 was the year Nike transitioned from 24″x36″ sized posters, down to 23″x35″, in order to have their posters fit in more store display racks throughout the retail landscape. Also, the Mariners only wore this style of uniform for one more season, meaning these would have had to have been discontinued by the end of 1992 at the latest. And, through simple observation over the years – you just never see these available anywhere! A very tough find. At one time, we had about a dozen in stock at SportsPosterWarehouse.com from a large warehouse stock purchase we made in the early 2000s; however, those are now gone, and this was the last one, now preserved for all-time as part of the Flagg Collection. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

As Griffey is now enshrined in Cooperstown, this poster is definitely a Hall of Fame-worthy showpiece. As someone who came of age as Griffey emerged into stardom, and who started in the poster business when Junior was still one of the top-5 superstars in the game, this one will always hold a special place in the collection!

The Flagg Collection #2: 1972 Oakland A’s World Champs ProMotions MLB Baseball Poster

Posted May 9, 2017 by Neil Flagg
Categories: The Flagg Collection of Classic Sports Posters, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters collected by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

As the second entry in this blog series, I’m pleased to show off another classic from 1972 (which happens to be the year of my birth). This is the ultimate get for fans of the Oakland A’s franchise, and collectors of the 1971-72 ProMotions series that featured brilliant artistic collages for each of baseball’s 24 teams of the era. I’m not quite sure how these posters were sold back in the day, but my guess would be some sort of mail-order promotion through sports magazine advertisements.

oakland-as-1972-worldchamps

The artwork on every poster in the series is amazing, and this one is no exception. They all just SCREAM early-1970s in style, as 1960s psychedelia combines with a dose of more gritty 1970s realism, to make the time frame unmistakeable. The players in each poster are intended to be generic (seems these were licensed by the league, but not the player’s association), but fans of the era usually pick up on the artist’s intention (maybe a little Bert Campaneris, Gene Tenace, Catfish Hunter and Joe Rudi resemblance here?)

The artist “Smith” captures the amazing Charlie O. Finley era “Swingin’ A’s” style to perfection in this poster. The green-and-gold color palette, the moustachio’d players, the Bay Area scenery, and, of course, the on-field success. This was released soon after the A’s first of three-consecutive World Series championships, the 1972 victory over the Cincinnati Reds’ Big Red Machine.

As a championship commemorative, an iconic keepsake of an era, and as simply a brilliant work of baseball art, this one has it all – one of my all-time favorite posters. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability, in an easy-to-display format.

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The Flagg Collection: 1972 Team Canada Hockey Summit Series Roster Poster

Posted May 1, 2017 by Neil Flagg
Categories: The Flagg Collection of Classic Sports Posters

For real, serious sports poster collectors and enthusiasts, this new feature is for you! On a periodic basis, I’ll be using this blog to display and describe the holdings of The Flagg Collection – the personal collection of rare and vintage posters collected by me, Neil Flagg, the founder and President of SportsPosterWarehouse.com.

To kick it off, I’ll start with a poster that is near and dear to my heart as a patriotic Canadian hockey fan. This amazing 24″x36″ original came out in the summer of 1972 (when I was a baby in diapers), to preview that fall’s upcoming Summit Series challenge tournament, the 8-game “Clash of Civilizations” series of hockey games between the Soviet Union’s famed Red Army team, and an NHL All-Star team of Canadian-born players.

canada1972-full

Anyone involved in collecting 1970s hockey items knows what a hard find this poster is, especially in decent condition. Any kid lucky enough to get one of these back in ’72 was likely to have tacked or taped it to his bedroom wall, and thus whenever one of these turns up at auction or at a memorabilia show, it’s usually pretty faded, creased and tattered. I was lucky enough to obtain this one many years ago at a memorabilia show in virtually perfect condition – it had some clear scotch tape around the edges, but luckily that peeled off without affecting the integrity of the paper or ink. As with most of the posters in The Flagg Collection, I’ve had this one canvas-transferred to preserve it forever with durability in an easy-to-display format.

The poster features coaches Harry Sinden and John Ferguson, and 35 of the eligible superstars expected to play in the tournament. Not all on this poster saw action – most notably, the great Bobby Orr, whose damaged knee started to catch up with him that year, keeping him out of action until the regular season to heal.

canada1972-orr

The placement of goalie Ken Dryden next to the Soviet flag was an ironic one. The Hall of Fame legend wrote and spoke extensively over the years following about the clash of cultures, ideologies, styles that were exposed in the Summit Series as part of this “Cold War on Ice”. Some felt he was too sentimental towards the Soviet side, as he struck up a close personal relationship with his opposite number, Russian goaltender Vladislav Tretiak. His poetic reminiscences helped lead him to a career in law, literature and politics after his early retirement from the NHL just 8 years later.

canada1972-dryden

Few expected Paul Henderson to play anything more than a peripheral role on this team. Here he is on the next-to-last row, next to “the other Hull”, Dennis, whose career paled in comparison to his legendary brother Bobby – who was ineligible for this tournament due to his status as a player contracted to the upstart competitor to the NHL, the WHA (World Hockey Association). Henderson’s talents peaked just at the right time, and after Game 8, this underachieving, un-serious Toronto Maple Leafs forward became an all-time household name in Canada, as the man who won the series with his last-minute Game 8 goal, for the glory of the NHL, Canada, and modern western civilization itself!

canada1972-henderson

Years later, after sobering up, quitting booze, and becoming an evangelizing Christian minister to the sporting world, Henderson said he believes God chose him to score this goal, to ultimately provide him with the platform to spread the gospel to the widest possible audience. “The Goal” also helped launch this very business, The Sports Poster Warehouse, exactly 20 years ago, with this poster release that is still a top-seller today!

Please don’t ask about buying this piece – as part of The Flagg Collection, it’s going nowhere, holding a permanent place in the archives as an irreplaceable all-time classic. Some day, perhaps, a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame!

Winter Olympics Posters – Our Top Five Favourites

Posted February 21, 2014 by Neil Flagg
Categories: Featured Collections, Lists

Tags: ,

While the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi have been a terrific sporting spectacle, sadly their product licensing department dropped the ball, and consequently there was no worldwide licensee for posters. As far as we know, only a single Russian publisher had any designs available, and they were forbidden from exporting to us here in North America. But, it does give us an opportunity to review with you our top-five favourite official Winter Olympics poster designs from years past. (All previous Olympic Games official posters are available in our Olympic Museum Collection).

5. Lake Placid 1980

Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint - $34.95

Lake Placid 1980 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint – $34.95

This simple, beautiful design became an icon for an era, introducing a color scheme that dominated the early 1980s, and evoking the glorious cold-war-era victory of Team USA over the Soviets in hockey in that year’s “Miracle on Ice”.  Many consider Lake Placid 1980 to have been the greatest Winter Games of all-time, a model that has rarely been matched since!

4. Innsbruck 1964

Innsbruck 1964 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint - $34.95

Innsbruck 1964 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint – $34.95

As the Lake Placid poster became a design icon for the ’80s, this official poster for Innsbruck, Austria’s first of two Winter Olympic Games became a style guide for 1960s ski fashion. The blue-on-blue color scheme is spectacular, and the snowflake icon is simply stunning. A bit of trivia for Winter Olympics fans: Innsbruck hosted the games again just 12 years later, when they were originally awarded to Denver, Colorado, but then relocated to Innsbruck again after Denver’s voters rejected the games due to skyrocketing costs.

3. St. Moritz 1948

St. Moritz, Switzerland 1948 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint - $34.95

St. Moritz, Switzerland 1948 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint – $34.95

After a twelve-year absence due to World War II, the Olympics returned to the world stage with the St. Moritz games of 1948. The poster design is magnificent, evoking a new dawn in the war-torn history of Europe, with two cross-country skiiers watching in awe as the sky comes alive with a frost-filled sunrise atop the alps. Amazing 1940s-era style!

2. Salt Lake City 2002

Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games

Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games “Light the Fire Within” Vintage Original Poster – $39.95

We have always adored this poster, with its motivational message (“Light the Fire Within”), and its unique artwork featuring a fiery torch-bearer emerging out of the snow and ice of the winter chill. Surprisingly, the IOC chose the much-more pedestrian “Salt Lake Flag” design as it’s “official” Salt Lake 2002 poster for posterity; however, we remain partial to this one as the true visual-arts symbol of that magnificent games.

1. Lake Placid 1932

Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint - $34.95

Lake Placid 1932 Winter Olympic Games Official IOC Poster Reprint – $34.95

This spectacular work of graphic arts set a standard for Winter Games posters that, in our opinion, remains unmatched to this day. It has it all – the Olympic rings prominently displayed; the location and dates in an iconic font style evocative of the era; a superb art deco-era overall appearance; and artwork that includes one of the key sports of winter competition, with a ski jumper soaring high above a map of the USA, with Lake Placid’s location clearly marked in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Simply perfect!

Super Bowl XLVIII (New York New Jersey 2014) Official Posters For Sale

Posted January 26, 2014 by Neil Flagg
Categories: New Poster Releases, Super Bowl Posters

Tags: , ,

Every year they get harder and harder to find in stores…but you can always count on Sports Poster Warehouse to have the official Super Bowl posters in stock! Don’t delay, order now to make sure you don’t miss out. First, there’s the official Theme Art poster, aka the “Event Poster”, featuring the Super Bowl XLVIII Vince Lombardi Trophy logo in the sky above Manhattan, with the official game ball on the New Jersey boardwalk, the game date, and the motto “Don’t Get Left Inside!”, playing off the fact that this will be the first cold-weather outdoor Super Bowl game in history:

Super Bowl XLVIII (New York New Jersey 2014) Official Theme Art Event Poster

Next, it’s the annual favorite, “Super Tickets”, which features as its centerpiece the official program cover and ticket art for Super Bowl XLVIII, the Lombardi Trophy as a Manhattan skyscraper:

Super Bowl XLVIII “Super Tickets” 47 Years of History Poster

Next, it’s the official Pop Art poster of Super Bowl 48, now an annual classic since its inception in 2001. The artist, Charles Fazzino, is a New York native and resident who has taken great pride in his depiction of gameday in his home town:

Super Bowl XLVIII Official Pop Art poster by Charles Fazzino

Next, there’s the official Pennant of Super Bowl XLVIII, entitled “Rain, Sleet, or Hail Mary”:

Official Pennant of Super Bowl XLVIII

And finally, there’s the official Banner:

Super Bowl XLVIII “NYNJ” Official Premium Felt Banner