Auctions | December 1, 2020

Travel Posters Topped Potter & Potter’s Vintage Poster Sale

Courtesy of Potter & Potter

This 1935 color lithograph of Berlin by German illustrator Jupp Wiertz realized $2,400.

Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions' November 14, 2020 Vintage Posters, Prints, and Works on Paper sale captured the imagination of collectors worldwide.  When the hammer fell silent after a very long day of bidding, 122 lots realized $500-$999; 44 lots scored $1,000-$2,499; and seven lots made $2,500+. Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium.

Posters promoting overseas destinations took several of the top slots in this exciting sale.

  • Lot #220, a poster for the London Underground illustrated by Sybil Andrews (1898-1992) and featuring cricket players, traded hands at $2,040. From 1925 to 1935, Andrews designed nine posters for the London Underground.
  • Lot #161, a stunning lithograph for Soviet Armenia by Sergey Igumnov (1900–1942), brought $2,040. Produced in 1935 in the USSR by Intourist, this poster touted the Soviet’s engineering skills and advanced modern machinery of the period.
  • Lot #716, a 1930-era poster for the Moscow Theatre Festival, was estimated at $500-700 and made $3,120. This westernized Art Deco image was printed by the Soviet state travel agency to attract foreign visitors, especially those versed in English.
  • Lot #366, Berlin Evening Near the Memorial Church for the German National Railway delivered $2,400 - six times its low estimate. This 1935 color lithograph by German illustrator Jupp Wiertz (1888-1939) featured a neon colored Berlin at night.
  • Lot #368, a poster promoting the island of Bermuda was estimated at $900-1,200 and sold for $2,640. It was produced for Pan Am in the 1960s and was illustrated with two happy go lucky tourists on a moped.

As noted in previous Potter & Potter events, posters featuring Indian themes, destinations, and events generated spirited bidding - and results!

  • Lot #153,  a color lithograph Fly Jet to India / Pan American World Airways travel poster from the 1950s was estimated at $250-350 and soared to $2,640. It featured the top of a majestic, many spired building against a vivid blue sky.
  • Lot #157, Dorrie Newsome's colorful stone lithograph of an oceanside city in India was estimated at $300-500 and realized $1,920. It was printed in Calcutta by the E.I.R. Press in 1938.
  • Lot #160, Sobha Singn's Kashmir / Indian Railways was estimated at $200-300 and made $1,560. This colorful lithograph of native people and animals against a hilly landscape, was printed in Bombay by G. Claridge.

20th century posters for iconic domestic travel destinations also produced first class results.

  • Lot #279, an example illustrated with a bird's eye view of NYC's Rockefeller Center for New York Central Lines scored $6,000. This lithograph was rendered by artist Leslie Ragan (1897-1972) and produced in Long Island City, NY by Latham Litho. & Ptg. in 1936.
  • Lot #141, Pan Am’s World / Hawaii USA from the 1970s was estimated at $250-350 and sold for $1,560. This photo-offset poster of palm trees silhouetted against a dusky sky was designed by Ivan Chermayeff’s agency, and was one of several posters from Pan Am featured at an exhibit held at the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Lot #330, Squaw Valley / Lake Tahoe from the 1950s more than doubled its high estimate to make $3,360. This rare stone lithograph featured the ski resort's (at the time) “world’s largest ski lift."

Vintage postcards collections were another key category in this sale and truly delivered.

  • Lot #766, a collection of 700+ Black Americana postcards sold for $2,040. This well curated collection included images of babies and young children, watermelon eating, cotton picking, leather postcards, French advertisements, trade cards, servants, chicken thieves, and many others.
  • Lot #785, a collection 800+ postcards of diners and roadside stops from the 1930s/50s was estimated at $600-800 and made $2,400. Featured images included diners, Greyhound bus stops, motels, state parks, dealerships and service stops, gas stations, restaurants, and drive-ins.
  • Lot #772, a collection of 200+ postcards devoted to Coney Island, was estimated at $125-225 and realized $1,200. Most of the cards were pre-1920; scenes and views included Luna Park, Dreamland, Shooting the Chutes, Japanese Café, views from the ocean, Surf Avenue, Dragon’s Gorge, and others.

Historical broadsides, product advertising posters, and works from modern masters brought this signature sales event full circle.

  • Lot #563, Marc Chagall's (1887-1985) color litho Springtime in the Meadow, from Daphnis and Chloe, brought $2,880. This work was from an edition of 250, set in a gilt wooden frame with linen matting, and bore a gallery label of Phillip E. Freed to its verso.
  • Lot #497, a South African WWI recruitment poster depicting a bust portrait of General Smuts was estimated at $100-200 and delivered $1,020.
  • Lot #451, an original Jaguar showroom poster with a dramatic image of the XK120 shooting down a track under the pre-dawn sky was estimated at $200-300 and crossed the finish line at $1,920. This 1952 example, titled Dawn at Montlhery, was designed by Roy Nockolds (1911-1979), a British artist specializing in motoring images and advertising.

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "This was our most successful poster sale to date, with an astonishingly high sell-through rate and results that speak for themselves. Our next auction of vintage posters is already in the works for 2021."