Potter & Potter’s Poster Sale Soars to $313,000
Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions' poster sale held on August 20th, 2022 was a wall-to-wall success. When the hammer fell silent for the last time, 47 lots made $750-$1,499; 22 lots scored $1,500-$3,999; and seven lots broke the $4,000 mark. All prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.
Bidders could not get enough of a series of Air India 1980s-era promotional posters offered through this sale.
· Lot #353, Air India's The yawning gap between our Maharajah Class and any other First Class, was estimated at $200-300 and soared to $4,800. This example was illustrated with the company's mascot napping on a comfortable recliner.
· Lot #351, Air India’s Executive Class, was estimated at $250-350 and made $4,560. This poster featured three airline mascots relaxing in a spacious and well-appointed cabin.
· Lot #352, Air India's First Class passengers deserve better than First – our Maharajah Class!, was estimated at $250-350 and sold for $4,320. This poster pictured Air India's mascot gently removing the hat from a napping passenger.
Other prewar to midcentury posters marketing destinations in and around India also proved extremely popular with bidders.
· Lot #344, G. Tait's Kedarnath / See India, was estimated at $1,500-2,500 and brought $4,080. This tourism poster was published in the 1930s in Bombay and pictured the Kedarnath Temple, in the Himalayas, near one of the tributaries of the sacred Ganges River.
· Lot #347, Visit Kashmir, was estimated at $800-1,200 and made $3,360. This lithograph from 1949 was issued by the government of Jammu & Kashmir. It depicted a woman relaxing on the roof of a houseboat on Dal Lake, Srinagar with the Himalayas rising in the distance.
· Lot #345, Dorothy Newsome's (c. 1900-1980) A Shillong Belle / See India, was estimated at $800-1,200 and sold for $2,880. It was printed in the 1930s in Bombay by Bolton Fine Art and advertised travel to the capital of Meghalaya (formerly Assam) in northwest India.
Stunning antique posters featuring legacy brands and destinations scored several highlight slots in this sale.
· Lot #663, Manuel Orazi's (1860-1934) L’Hippodrome, was estimated at $3,000-5,000 and made $7,200. This lithograph was printed in 1905 in Paris by Societe d’Impressions d’Art Industriel. It featured an equestrienne in an Art Nouveau jade and gilt dress and headpiece charging at the viewer on a black horse, with others on the track following behind.
· Lot #69, Leonetto Cappiello's, Cognac Monnet, was estimated at $2,500-3,500 and delivered $4,080. This example was printed in Paris by Devambez in 1927 and was illustrated with a flapper woman in red and purple kissing her snifter of cognac which contained a sun emanating rays of sunshine as soft as her dress.
· Lot #57, an art deco poster for Mossant hats by the artist Olsky, was estimated at $1,200-2,000 and sold for $2,880. It was printed in 1928 in Paris by Versasson and was illustrated with a white fedora held up by a darkly-rendered gentleman and bold red lettering.
Posters spotlighting aspirational travel within the USA were also hot tickets in this auction.
· Lot #301, Joseph Feher's (1908-1987) Hawaii / United Air Lines, traded hands at $2,640. This midcentury masterpiece featured a hula dancer standing larger than life on one of the Hawaiian islands, surrounded by fish and plants, men and women on surfboards and outriggers, and a United Boeing Stratocruiser flying overhead.
· Lot #296, Alexander S. Macleod's (1888-1956) A Map of Honolulu and the Sandwich Islands which we now call the Hawaiian Islands, was estimated at $1,200-1,800 and realized $3,360. It was published in 1927 in New York by Henry M. Snyder. This poster featured a map of Honolulu, with an inset of the islands and additional vignettes in the border, depicting “in pictorial fashion the history, landmarks, & customs of these colorful isles.”
· Lot #255, Edward M. Eggleston's (1882-1941) Great Lakes Exposition / Cleveland, was estimated at $800-1,200 sold for $3,120. This example from 1937 came to life with a young woman in a bathing suit happily waving “Ahoy there!” from a rope ladder. While she is unnamed, Eggleston’s model was Eleanor Holm, the star of Billy Rose’s Aquacade, the water show which became the central new attraction added in the second year of the exposition.
This auction rounded out with with entertainment-themed posters as well as those that promoted important 20th century political and social initiatives.
· Lot #583, Su Negrin, Peter Hujar, And Suzanne Bevier's Gay Liberation, traded hands at $4,800. This offset, primarily orange, tan, and magenta lithograph photographic poster was published in 1970 in New York by Times Change Press.
· Lot #35, Berta's Mame / Winter Garden, was estimated at $150-250 and realized $3,120 - nearly 21 times its low estimate! It was published in 1966 in New York by the Triton Gallery. This example was the original poster for the debut run of the timeless Broadway musical which starred Angela Lansbury and Beatrice Arthur.
According to Joe Slabaugh, Director of Cataloging at Potter & Potter Auctions, "Simply put, the success of this auction was driven by the quality and diversity of the posters. If browsing the catalog felt like wandering through a poster shop, it was for good reason."