NEW YORK, NY. - Coming on the heels of tremendous media coverage, including write ups in The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Luxury Travel Magazine, Robb Report and Slate, Swann Galleries’ August 6 auction of Vintage Posters grossed more than any previous August posters sale, bringing in more than $800,000.
Among the top lots were highlights from a collection of tennis posters, which was larger and more important than any tennis poster collection to appear at auction before, World War I & II images, scarce Buffalo Bill posters, Geo Ham’s Grand Prix advertisements and summer and beach resort promos by celebrated artists.
Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann President and Posters Specialist, said, “This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and collectors and dealers showed up—both in person and online—to help propel the auction to impressive results. Several auction records were achieved, and it was Swann’s most successful August Vintage Posters ever.
A handful of brand-new clients were among the top bidders, indicating that the poster market is alive and well—and growing! Propaganda posters were particularly popular among collectors, while Tennis Posters, Beach and Summer Resort Posters and Australian Posters also performed extremely well.”
A selection of Art Nouveau beauties by the master of that medium, Alphonse Mucha, also helped the sale’s bottom line, with his JOB, 1896—the auction’s top lot—achieving $21,250. Also by Mucha were an alternate JOB poster at $9,375 and The Seasons, a group of four decorative panels at $11,250.
Among the World War One highlights were H.R. Hopps’s Destroy this Mad Brute / Enlist, circa 1917, which brought $18,750; and two record-setting items: James Montgomery Flagg’s Wake Up America Day, which appeared on the front of the auction catalogue, 1917, $8,750 and Howard Chandler Christy’s If you Want to Fight! / Join the Marines, 1915, $7,680.
From World War Two was the often-parodied Keep Calm and Carry On by an unknown designer, 1939, which rarely appears at auction, $17,500.
Tops among the tennis images were Ludwig Hohlwein’s stylish Kaffee Hag, 1913, $15,000 and Roger Broders’s Monte-Carlo, circa 1930, $16,250.
Sporting images from that same region included a pair of Geo Ham’s car racing posters: Monaco / 5ÈME Grand Prix Automobile, 1933, $13,750 and Monaco, 1936, $11,875.
Posters for Buffalo Bill, that grand showman of the American West, also performed well, with Paul Frenzeny’s The Scout / Buffalo Bill, 1888, setting an auction record at $7,500, while Col. W.F. Cody / “Buffalo Bill,”1908 and W.F. Cody / Buffalo Bill, circa 1905—both by unknown designers—bringing $15,000 and $14,080 respectively.
Rounding out the sale were additional works by Broders, such as Antibes, circa 1928, $10,625 and Sur la Cote d’Azur, circa 1931, $8,125; Maurice Millière,’s image of a bathing beauty in Cabourg, 1928, a record $7,750; a pair of posters for the 1924 Jeux Olympics in Paris by Jean Droit and Orsi, which brought $7,500 each; and a group of 52 Bill Jones Work Incentive posters from 1928 that also sold for $7,500.