Historic Ocean Liner Posters Sail to Success


New York—Swann Galleries’ November 19 auction of select Rare & Important Travel Posters brought over $482,000 and set auction records for multiple artists and posters.

Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann Galleries’ President and Director of Vintage Posters, said, “This robust sale, with an enviable 80% sell-through rate, saw multiple records broken-setting new highs for both posters and, in four cases, for the artists themselves. Every auction has its surprises, and in this auction the Internet drove bidding especially high in the Italian posters being offered. Swann has been a market leader in broadening collector awareness about travel posters, and we continue to prove ourselves to be America’s best venue for offering select posters in this category.”


A new auction record was set for artist Leslie Ragan, whose The New 20th Century Limited, 1939 sold for $22,500 and was the top lot of the sale. Ragan’s Rockefeller Center New York / New York Central Lines, circa 1936, also sold well, bringing $8,750. Other artist records included Percival Albert (Percy) Trompf, with Australia, 1929, realizing $15,000; and Cecil King, whose LMS / The Merseyside Express, circa 1937, sold for $5,750.

Two rare posters advertising the Titanic and her sister ship the Olympic saw a great deal of interest and competitive bidding. James Scrimgeour Mann’s White Star Line / R.M.S. Olympic & Titanic, circa 1911, which shows the Olympic powerfully coursing through the water, brought $10,625 and set an auction record for the poster. A poster depicting both the sister ships passing at sea, Montague Birrell Black’s [White Star Line /  Olympic & Titanic], circa 1910, sold for $8,450. A poster of another doomed ocean liner also sold among the top lots; Odin Rosenvinge’s Cunard Line / Liverpool • New York • Boston / [Lusitania], circa 1907, which shows the ship in an evocative nocturnal seascape brought $15,600 and set a record for the artist at auction.

Other ocean liner images were popular in the sale, with Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s United States Line, 1928, realizing $17,500; while his dramatic Normandie, 1935, sold for $6,240. Posters touting travel by air were also favorites, with David Klein’s bright New York / Fly TWA, 1956, bringing $7,250; while another TWA poster, Paul Colin’s TWA / Trans World Airlines, circa 1950, showing a TWA Constellation circumnavigating a half-shadowed globe, sold for $5,500. Jean Carlu’s striking typography caught attention as his CAF / Voyages Aériens, circa 1926, brought $5,000.

Posters showcasing fabulous destinations performed well, with Percy Trompf’s Australia, 1929, a scene of a bustling Bondi Beach, selling for $15,000 and setting a record for the artist at auction. Additional  bright beach images included Maurice Lauro’s rare Trouville, 1927, depicting a day on the boardwalk, which sold for $10,625; and Roger Broders’s Sur la Cote D’Azur, circa 1931, which brought $8,125. Viero Migliorati’s Santa • Margherita • Ligure, 1934, with a stylish group lounging in the heart of the Italian Riviera, realized $8,450 and set an auction record for the poster.

Complete results are available online via www.swanngalleries.com.

Swann Galleries’ first poster auction of the 2016 season, with an excellent selection of Vintage Posters featuring Art Nouveau, skiing, travel posters and more will take place February 11.

For further information, or to consign items to upcoming poster auctions, please contact Nicholas D. Lowry at 212-254-4710, extension 57, or via email at posters@swanngalleries.com.

First image: Odin Rosenvinge, Cunard Line / Liverpool • New York • Boston / [Lusitania], circa 1907. Sold November 19, 2015 for $15,600, an auction record for the artist.

Second image: Leslie Ragan, The New 20th Century Limited, 1939. Sold November 19, 2015 for $22,500, an auction record for the artist.

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