Tennis Posters, WWI & II Propaganda, and Resort Images at Swann Galleries August 6


New York—With Wimbledon and other legendary tennis tournaments on everyone’s mind this summer, Swann Galleries is pleased to offer the largest collection of posters for the sport ever to come to auction in their August 6 Vintage Posters sale.

This outstanding group of more than 70 tennis images from a private Australian collection offers a wide variety of vintage advertisements, and covers more than a century. There are works by the biggest names in design, remarkable ads for famous tournaments by unknown artists and posters that depict fashionable athletes in their finest tennis gear.

Examples include Ludwig Hohlwein’s stylish image of a coffee drinker with his racket tucked under one arm for Kaffee Hag, Munich, 1913 (estimate: $15,000 to $20,000); Roger Broders’s colorful circa 1930 tourism image for Monte-Carlo, which depicts a bird’s eye view of tennis courts along the Mediterranean coast and glamorous country club members ($15,000 to $20,000); Tom Purvis’s horizontal-format poster for Harrogate, with the tag “The British Spa,” London, 1930 ($6,000 to $9,000); and Louis C. Kalff’s Nationale Lawn - Tennis Kampioenschappen, Delft, 1922 ($5,000 to $7,500).

Sporting images of another variety featured in the sale are auto-racing posters, the finest of which are by Geo Ham, including his Monaco / 5ème Grand Prix Automobile, 1933, for the formula one motor race through the streets of Monte Carlo ($10,000 to $15,000) and Monaco, 1936, which depicts the battle between the Germans and the Italians in the race ($6,000 to $9,000).

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and although Swann Galleries has been featuring World War posters as a regular part of our August auctions since 2003, this year is special.

Among the more than 75 posters from WWI is the most well-known poster of all time, James Montgomery Flagg’s I Want You, New York, 1917 ($7,000 to $10,000); the rare and horrifying Destroy This Mad Brute by H.R. Hopps, circa 1917, ($15,000 to $20,000); as well as British, French, Canadian and even Australian images from the Great War.


The Second World War is also well represented with war bond promotions, anti-Nazi images and what has sparked in recent years countless imitations, the British crown and enduring slogan, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, by an unknown designer, 1939. This poster is only the second example in the 30-by-20 inch size to come to auction ($12,000 to $18,000).

Tempting warm-weather images include several examples by Roger Broders, such as Antibes, circa 1928 ($8,000 to $12,000); Agay, 1928 ($4,000 to $6,000); La Plage De Calvi. Corse, 1928 ($8,000 to $12,000); and Sur la Cote d’Azur, circa 1931 ($7,000 to $10,000); as well as Michel Bouchaud’s La Plage De Monte Carlo, 1929 ($5,000 to $7,500) and Leonetto Cappiello’s Nice, 1927 ($4,000 to $6,000). 

A trio of posters promoting Buffalo Bill are also among the sale highlights. Paul Frenzeny’s image of a young Buffalo Bill, The Scout from 1888, shows him with a smoking rifle and brown hair ($4,000 to $6,000); while two posters by unknown artists depict the showman as we’re used to seeing him. Col. W.F. Cody / “Buffalo Bill,” 1908, is a classic image with him astride his horse and doffing his Stetson to welcome the viewer ($12,000 to $18,000); and a French poster, W.F. Cody / Buffalo Bill, has vignettes from his life and career, 1905 ($10,000 to $15,000).

Rounding out the auction are Art Nouveau, Olympic and travel posters.

The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 6.

The posters will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries on Thursday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, August 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, August 4 and Tuesday, August 5, 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

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

Live online bidding is also available via

First image: National Tennis Week by an unknown designer. Estimate: $700 to $1,000.

Second image: Keep Calm and Carry On, by an unknown designer, 1939. Estimate: $12,000 to $18,000.

Auction Guide