Auctions | January 24, 2013

Hans Sachs Poster Collection Sells High at Guernsey’s

New York, NY — January 23, 2012 — Between January 18th and 20th, 2013, Guernsey's Auction House conducted the first of three separate sales of thousands of rare collectible posters seized by the Nazis from collector Dr. Hans Sachs in 1938. Recently returned to Peter Sachs, the son of Dr. Hans Sachs, Guernsey’s auctioned 1,233 lots of the more than 4,000 posters recently retrieved from Germany after seven long years of legal battles initiated by the Sachs family. The first group of posters from the collection was auctioned to the public over the course of three days, fetching approximately $2.5 million dollars.

Arlan Ettinger, President of Guernsey’s was quite pleased but not at all surprised by the turnout and response. “People recognized and appreciated the historic significance of this collection. There was excitement in the air and even cheering during a few moments when various members of Dr. Hans Sachs’ family including his son-in-law and granddaughter spoke. The Bohemian National Hall where the auction took place was packed with enthusiastic bidders, the telephone lines were busy throughout the entire three day auction series and scores of people were bidding internationally via,” he states.

Top-selling lots included:  Kunstsalon Aktuaryus c. 1900, by an anonymous artist known only by the initials E.L., for $57,950; Moderne Galerie c. 1901 by Fritz Behn for $30,500; Arche Noah c. 1913 by Hermann Keimel for $27,450; Margertittentag c. 1911 by Wilhelm Hartz for $27,450; and Künstlerhaus Jahresausstellung c. 1919 by Karl Sterrer for $24,400.


A popular theme of the three-day auction series were posters from the Vienna Secession movement of the early 1900s, a movement that included painters, sculptors and architects, including Gustav Klimt, one of the founders and the group’s first president. Posters from the Secession movement fetched bids well above-and-beyond their estimates.


The Dr. Hans Sachs Poster Auction drew museum representatives and dealers from around the globe, with many commenting on how they had never before seen so many dealers and art world representatives come together for a poster auction previously.  Arlan Ettinger anticipates an even greater turnout for the upcoming auctions featuring the remainder of the Sachs collection stating, “We divided the 4,000 posters into three groups, each of which contain posters of varied value, rarity and subject matter.  We tried to break the posters up in as even a manner as possible to produce three auctions that accurately represent the diversity, uniqueness and historical significance of the Dr. Hans Sachs Collection.”


With two more auctions on the horizon, the public still has ample opportunity to own a piece from this world-famous collection of posters, the largest of its kind in existence. Dates for the next auctions will be set within the coming months and as with the first round of auctions, the remainder of the Sachs posters will be sold with no reserves.


The Sachs Poster Collection is universally described as being the most significant collection of its type in existence. Dr. Hans Sachs amassed an extensive collection of posters spanning categories including art, propaganda, politics, entertainment, (from cabarets and dining to opera and early film), travel, sports, consumer products, (from cigarettes to the first automobiles), to scenes of war. His collection included works by notable artists such as Mucha, Steinlen, Cassandre, Cheret, Bernhard, Edel, Gipkens, Klinger, Carlu, Schnackenberg, Dufau, Grasset, Fennecker, Hohlwein, Kainer, Pechstein, Scheurich, Biro, Leyendecker, Christy and Flagg among others. He organized the first poster collecting society and in 1911, published Das Plakat (The Poster), an international magazine which quickly developed a devoted following.


About Guernsey’s

Guernsey’s Auction House is known for such extraordinary events as the Titanic, John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Mickey Mantle and Princess Diana. All are invited to attend the Sachs Poster Collection Auctions. For more information, please call 212-794-2280 or