RCA Secret Postcard Sale: Guide to the Show, 2018
As the mini masterpieces go on view, we tell you how to get the most out of the Royal College of Art Secret Postcard sale 2018
The Royal College of Art Secret Postcard Sale is back this weekend. If you think you could pick a modern master out of a crowd, then the Royal College of Art Secret Postcard Sale is for you.
One of the highlights of the London contemporary art scene, the annual exhibition and sale of 1800 anonymous postcards at the RCA Kensington outpost is an opportunity to buy work by current students, Royal College of Art notable alumni and famous names, which this year include Grayson Perry, Sir Paul Smith and Ridley Scott. And with the ‘hush hush’ aspect of it all – famous artists are placed next to emerging artists in a pick 'n' mix hang – you won’t have a clue who you’ve bought until you turn the postcard over on sale day.
From the super conceptual to the down right lewd, all of the money raised goes to the RCA student bursaries. Emerging and famous artists alike love the show, because buyers treasure their postcards rather than reselling on the fluctuating art market. And it's a very social affair, with visitors that come back every year to find work that they can cherish forever.
Images of all postcards in the exhibition are now available to browse online, 24 hours before the RCA Secret in-person Viewing Day (30 November 2018). Each original postcard, made with the love and rigour of any other artwork, costs £60 and is sold on a first come first served basis on sale day (1 December); the selling exhibition continues until 3 December 2018.
RCA Secret Postcard Sale 2018: How to beat the System
RCA Secret Postcard Sale 2018
With queues round the block and camping out over night, there’s an art to playing the game at the Royal College of Art, if you want to get your hands on a David Bailey or Damien Hirst original. For one thing, the hard-core who have been coming to the RCA exhibition since it began in 1994, will know each other and will certainly be comparing notes in the queue.
- Register in advance as a Secret Supporter. In order to purchase a postcard, you must register on the RCA Secret Postcard Sale website and note down your ID number. Click here to register for RCA Secret Postcard Sale 2018
- A lot of buyers will be experienced RCA Secret goers that do fervent research on each famous artist before seeing the show. If you want to catch the big names, make sure you do the same!
- With your research complete, carefully browse the postcards for sale online. Images of all postcards in the exhibition are released online on from 9am on Thursday 29 November, 24 hours before the RCA Secret in-person Viewing Day (30 November 2018).
- Pull a sickie, blame the dog or skip of work early to catch the early viewing day on 30 November 2018. Postcards will also be available for online viewing, as usual, 24 hours before this. Each postcard in the exhibition costs £60 and is sold on a first come first served basis (initially capped at 4 per person) from Saturday 1 December; the selling exhibition continues until 3 December. Although there is plenty of time to snap up the postcards you love, prepare a list of back-ups in case you are beaten to the post.
RCA Secret Postcard exhibition 2018: big names vs. emerging talent
If you’re scanning the room for Tracey Emin’s handwriting or Paula Rego’s illustrations, you may be disappointed as famous artists are not given any special treatment. Take a risk and you'll definitely find it pays off because the RCA graduates of today are the movers and shakers of the art world tomorrow.
- Don’t expect the famous artists to be front and centre. They have been carefully placed so that each artist gets a look in
- And there are of course tricks to the curating that the organisers can’t reveal: 'There might be reasons certain postcards are next to each other and themes…and then again there might not!' Infuriating, but we’ll play along...if it means bagging a bargain.
RCA Secret Postcard 2018: Practical Information
Online Viewing: From 9am on Thursday 29 November
Early Viewing Day, Kensington outpost: 30 November 2018, 12–7pm
Donation Days: 1 - 3 December 2018
Collection: Thursday 6 December, 4–8pm
ROYAL COLLEGE OF ARTSenior Common Room
London SW7 2EU