Swann was founded in 1941 as an auction house specializing in Rare and Antiquarian Books and is now the largest specialist auctioneer of Works on Paper in the world. Swann conducts approximately 40 sales a year, with departments devoted to Books, Autographs, Maps & Atlases, Photographs & Photobooks, Prints & Drawings, Vintage Posters, African-American Fine Art and Illustration Art. On March 27, 2017, Swann celebrated 75 years of auctions.
Swann Galleries is a third-generation family business. George S. Lowry—now chairman of the company—became President and Principal Auctioneer in 1970 upon the retirement of founder Benjamin Swann. Nicholas D. Lowry, the current President, joined Swann in 1995 as head of the Vintage Posters department. He was named Principal Auctioneer in 1998, and President in January 2001.
Swann has long been located on East 25th Street, just one block east of Madison Square Park, at the borders of the historic Murray Hill and Flatiron districts. The premises doubled in size in 1999 with the addition of a second gallery and salesroom.
75 Years of Auctions
On March 27, 1942, Benjamin Swann held an auction dedicated to rare and antiquarian books. Since then, Swann Galleries has become the largest auctioneer of Works on Paper in the world, and New York's oldest specialty auction house.
In the last 75 years we have grown from a four-person office to a dynamic community of collectors and specialists dedicated to integrity and innovation in the field.