Swann Galleries’ Upcoming Vintage Posters Auction to Feature War, Buffalo Bill, Circus, & Resort Imagery


New York—On Wednesday, August 7, Swann Galleries will conduct a two-session auction of Vintage Posters that offers chilling World War I and II propaganda images, lovely sunbathing beauties in advertisements for beach and summer resorts and classic American posters for Buffalo Bill, The Saturday Evening Post, workplace safety and more.

A run of early American posters opens the sale, and these include promotional items for minstrel shows, plays, performances by Sells Brothers’ Enormous United Shows, 1893 (estimate $1,200 to $1,800); The Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth, circa 1894 ($1,500 to $2,000); and goodbye appearances by Buffalo Bill, 1911-12 ($5,000 to $7,500 and $3,000 to $4,000).

Iconic World War I images are Fred Spear’s Enlist, which evokes the tragedy of the Lusitania, 1915 ($5,000 to $7,500); James Montgomery Flagg’s well-loved I Want You, 1917 ($7,000 to $10,000); H.R. Hopps’s King Kong-esque Destroy this Mad Brute/Enlist, circa 1917 ($12,000 to $18,000); and Howard Chandler Christy’s winning Aviation/Fly with the U.S. Marines, 1920 ($7,000 to $10,000).

Featured among the powerful World War II posters are Dear God Keep Them Safe!/Buy War Bonds and Stamps,  depicting school children wearing gasmasks, issued by Kroger grocery stores, 1942 ($15,000 to $20,000); Keep Us Flying!/Buy War Bonds, showing an African-American serviceman, 1943 ($1,500 to $2,000); Teamwork Wins, 1943 ($1,000 to $1,500); as well as anti-US images, such as Dante Coscia’s La Libera America, with Italians polishing Uncle Sam’s shoes, 1944 ($2,500 to $3,500).

There are classic Mather Work Incentive posters including Loyalty Invites Loyalty/True Friends Have Faith. 1924 ($2,000 to $3,000); Be a Tight Wad!/Own Something!, 1925 ($2,000 to $3,000); and Where Are You Going? No One Knows But You, 1925 ($3,000 to $4,000).


The afternoon session of the sale opens with attractive women modeling swimsuits, lounging on the beaches and strolling beneath parasols. A pair of Jantzen advertisements are estimated at $1,000 to $1,500 each and a Wispo swimsuit ad with two circa 1955 lovelies, is $1,500 to $2,000; while Roger Broders’s Antibes, circa 1928 and Grasse, 1927 appeal at $7,000 to $10,000 and $4,000 to $6,000 respectively. Also eye-grabbing are H.J.’s La Côte d’Azur/P.L.M., 1912 ($3,000 to $4,000); Edward M. Eggleston’s Atlantic City/Pennsylvania Railroad, circa 1935 ($7,000 to $10,000); and Arthur C. Michael’s friendly boating party in The Broads, 1937 ($2,000 to $3,000).

A wider assortment of travel posters includes Douglas Annand’s photomontage for Australia/150th Anniversary Celebrations, 1938 ($1,500 to $2,000); M. Eyre Proudman’s See India/Jodhpur, 1934 ($1,200 to $1,800); Leslie Ragan’s The New Empire State Express, 1941 ($4,000 to $6,000); and Walter Till’s Ireland/The Fisherman’s Paradise ($1,000 to $1,500).

Among a choice selection of Art Nouveau posters are the oversized Tout Paris a la Revue des Folies Bergere by Adrien Barrère, 1902 ($15,000 to $20,000); Misti’s Le Petit Chat, circa 1898 ($2,000 to $3,000); Alphonse Mucha’s Biscuits Lefèvre-Utile, 1897 and Flirt, 1900 ($8,000 to $12,000 and $6,000 to $9,000); and Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell’s American Crescent Cycles, 1899 ($3,000 to $4,000).

The sale concludes with a selection of classic international advertisements promoting movies, cars, tobacco, liquor and more.

The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 7; and continues after a lunch break at 1:30 p.m.

The posters will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Thursday, August 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, August 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Monday, August 5 and Tuesday, August 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illustrated auction catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Kristina Goodstadt at (212) 254-4710 ext. 53, or via e-mail at posters@swanngalleries.com.

Live online bidding is also available via artfact.com.

First image: Buffalo Bill Bids You Goodbye, by an unknown designer, Cincinnati and New York, 1911 (estimate: $5,000 to $7,500).

Second image: Walter Hofmann, Wispo, Vienna, circa 1955 ($1,500 to $2,000).

Auction Guide