Warner’s Safe Nervine Tiger Revisited

Back in 2008, when I wrote about the famous Warner’s Safe Nervine Tiger poster,  I suggested that this poster was appearing rather frequently for sale on eBay and other sites and I felt like many of the posters were, in fact, reproductions, rather than originals. I still believe this to be the case and have seen at least a half dozen of these come up for auction in 2009 alone. There is simply no way that so many originals have survived to be offered for sale.

In a recent auction, the seller did an excellent job photographing the poster he was offering. I have attached above two of those photographs. Looking at the first photograph, you could easily believe that you were looking at an original. One of the great difficulties with buying antique paper over the internet is that you cannot actually examine the piece being offered. In this case, the second photograph is key. You will note that it says the piece was copyrighted by “Portal Publications, Sausalito, Calif. 94965”. This tells you that you are looking at a reproduction. While Portal was not the only publisher to reproduce this vintage poster, it was undoubtedly one of the most prolific. The other clue is the presence of the Zip Code after Sausalito. Zip Codes did not come into wide use by the U.S. Postal Service until the 1960’s. While there are no indicators of what is a genuine Nervine Tiger poster, any prospective buyer should carefully examine the item offered for markings that disclose a reproduction.


38 thoughts on “Warner’s Safe Nervine Tiger Revisited

  1. Hope your Christmas was great and wishing your New Years will follow great as well Steve. I remember,I THINK,Jack telling me that either,thereagain I THINK,Terry McMurray or Dan Cowman had an original “Safe Nervine” poster which was In the area of $5,000 at that time. Bottom line your right that the mass majority are reproductions,I still have one,and yes,they could be misconstrued as “Originals”. Will be doing the Las Vegas and National Show In Ohio this year,hope to catch up with you this year 2010. The Very Best Steve–Dave

    • Hello my name is brian,i have one of these posters been in my grandmother’s home I really would like it looked at to tell me if its reproduction or real thank ya’ll for your time

      • Brian:
        I would have to see pictures of the poster. However, referring to the above post, you may be able to answer your own question. What, if any, printing appears at the bottom left of your poster?


  2. Hi Dave,

    My guess is that Terry might have it. I have seen a few of these come up that I actually thought might be originals, but it is hard to judge based on a picture. The Portal Publications is a dead giveaway. When and where in Ohio is the national show? I have a table for Baltimore the first weekend in March.


    • Mornin’ Steve, Unfortunately I will not be attending the Baltimore Show,but will make the National on August the 6th. and 7th.at Wilmington Ohio which Is about halfway between Cincinnati and Columbus. Regards, Dave

  3. I bought a Warners Safe Nervine Cure Tiger Poster in 1974 for a hundred pounds, framed, this one does not have a printers make on it, can anyone tell me whether the fakes were around in that year

  4. We have a wooden (almost mahogany) looking traveling case with this tiger picture on the front. The box opens from the middle and is hinged on both sides. The inside is lined with royal blue with red stripes. Is this an original??

    • Courtney,

      I am not aware that Warner’s Safe Cure ever made any traveling cases; however, the image of the Nervine Tiger has appeared in many different forms over the years. My hunch (and it is nothing more than that) is that the image was added to your traveling case at some point. Perhaps by decoupage. I wish I could give you a more informed answer; however, you might want to consult someone with expertise in furniture for the age of the piece. I am pretty comfortable in saying that such a piece was not issued by the Warner’s Safe Cure Co.


  5. I have one of these posters and printed at the bottom it reads:

    Mensing & Stecher Rochester, N.Y.

    Is this a reproduction? And if so, what are these worth?

    • Mike,

      Frankly, without seeing it, it would be hard to tell. I have seen some very good reproductions. The most common was the copyright for Portal Publications in the lower right corner, but I assume from your questions that yours does not have that. Also, some less than scrupulous deals have been known to cut the poster down to eliminate the Portal Publications reference. Odds are that your is a reproduction. I have seen good repros on eBay bring $50-100. The originals would be worth many thousands. Hope this helps.


  6. I also have this same tiger poster but it is attached to wood and would be hung as a wall hanging. To me the wood looks very old and on the bottom of poster it says Mensing & Stecher Rochester. When i bought this item a man tried to buy it off me right away. Do you think it’s real?

    • Megan,

      When you say its attached to wood, how is it affixed? I have seen examples where the poster is decoupaged to wood and they are reproductions. If you can send along a good picture, I will be happy to tell you what I think. This poster has been reproduced so much, that the odds are against yours being an original, but you never know.


  7. Thank you so much for your time Steve but at this time i can not figure out how to upload the pic to this message as soon as I can i will do so

    • Daisy,

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I suspect your Warner sign is a reproduction. I get this question a lot and, while I cannot assure you one way or another that it is not authentic without examining it closely, a whole lot of these posters were reproduced in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Often the modern copyright has been trimmed off the bottom of the poster. In order to determine if it is authentic, I would suggest you have it examined by an expert in antique paper, who can judge whether the paper would date to the 1880’s. The other issue is the source of the poster. Where did you get it? If you found it in an old drug store then it stands a better chance of being an original than if you found it at a flea market.

      The mostly likely place to sell it is on eBay, but I would be careful about representing it as original if you don’t know that for certain. I hope it turns out to be an original.

  8. oh its no problem, i like the poster it looks amazing on my wall. but i bought it off an elderly woman. She passed and her belongings were sold to cover for her funeral expenses. I don’t know much about her, other than she had a lot of antiques in her home.

    • Glad you like it. It is a classic poster. It may be worth your while to have it appraised just in case. If it is an original, it would be very valuable. If not, it’s a great conversation piece. Best regards.


  9. I also just acquired one with the Mensino& Strecher logo on the bottom–it also has the date 1898 on the lowe right side, and is 21’x30′ high-framed – has some water spots, but very hard to tell the age of the paper,and i do not know how well the printer was able to copy the “antique” look of printing of rhe period.

    • Robby,
      Hope you found an original. The best way to verify that would be to have it examined by a dealer in antique paper, who can verify the age of the poster. There are lots of reproductions out there and sometimes its hard to be sure. Send me a picture if you get the chance.


  10. How much would an original h1
    “Warner’s Safe Nervine Tiger” be worth? The one I am inquiring is an original, (it’s been with the same, pharmacy, family for years).

    • Thomas,

      That’s a great question. If it is original and in good condition, I would certainly think it would be worth several hundred dollars at least. You would need to find the right buyer as well. Provenance is very important. Good luck!



  11. My husband found an old Warner’s Safe Nervine Tiger Revisited at a local thrift store. Now I know it is probably worthless, as it is in very poor condition. It looks like someone glued the poster on some very old wood.The wood is old and looks like an old box. We are just curious as to who might be interested in looking at it.
    We have no idea where to start. Help…..

    • Kathy,

      Can you send me a picture of it. If it’s a reproduction in poor condition, I doubt it has much value. Does it have a copyright in the lower left hand corner? If so, what does it say?


  12. There is this Drug Store in a South Western Drug Store which has been run by the same family for generations. They’ve got all kinds of vintage and antique items that have been around for generations too. One of those items is that poster and I’m pretty certain that it’s an origional. It’s in great condition. How much could it be worth?

    • Thomas, as you can tell from the number of comments on this post, this is a fairly frequent topic. If the poster is an original and not a reproduction, then I expect it could bring several thousand dollars to the right collector. However, there are lots of reproductions out there, so it’s buyer beware!

  13. Anyone still here? I am hoping to know if any originals of this poster have sold and it’s condition as well as final price? I have one that could be original, can send photos. I sent pics to the email address above but it came back as not found.

    • Kelly,

      Sorry about that. I changed my email, but forgot to change it here. If you want to send me some pics to look at send them to sjackson@pretlowlaw.com. Originals of this poster are truly rare. On the other hand, reproductions of it abound. Lots of the made in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I have never seen one go up for auction, so I cannot quote you a price. However, I would expect an original in good condition to bring a nice price.


  14. Hey Steve I sent you a email with some pictures of my WARMERS SAFE NERVINE… It Ben in my family for a very long time looking to know more about it…

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