WWI&II, Grand Prix and Tennis Images Led Swann’s Top August Posters Auction of All Time

Alphonse Mucha’s Art Nouveau advertisement for JOB rolling papers was the top lot in our August 6, 2014 auction.

Coming on the heels of tremendous media coverage (see: The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Luxury Travel Magazine, Robb Report and Slate), Swann’s August 6 auction of Vintage Posters grossed more than any previous August posters sale, bringing in more than $790,000.

H.R. Hopps’s chilling propaganda poster was the highest priced WWI image in the sale.

Among the top lots were highlights from a collection of tennis posters, which was larger and more important than any tennis poster collection to appear at auction before, World War I & II images, scarce Buffalo Bill posters, Geo Ham’s Grand Prix advertisements and summer and beach resort promos by celebrated artists.

WWII was also represented, with the now well-known British poster, Keep Calm and Carry On.

A selection of Art Nouveau beauties by the master of that medium, Alphonse Mucha, also helped the sale’s bottom line, with his JOB, 1896–the auction’s top lot–achieving $21,250. Also by Mucha were an alternate JOB poster at $9,375 and The Seasons, a group of four decorative panels at $11,250.

Tops among the tennis posters was Roger Broders’s design for Monte-Carlo.

Among the World War One highlights were H.R. Hopps’s Destroy this Mad Brute / Enlist, circa 1917, which brought $18,750; and two record-setting items: James Montgomery Flagg’s Wake Up America Day, which appeared on the front of the auction catalogue, 1917, $8,750 and Howard Chandler Christy’s If you Want to Fight! / Join the Marines, 1915, $7,680. 

From World War Two was the often parodied Keep Calm and Carry On by an unknown designer, 1939, which rarely appears at auction, $17,500.

Geo Ham’s dynamic car-racing posters are always popular.

Tops among the tennis images were Ludwig Hohlwein’s stylish Kaffee Hag, 1913, $15,000 and Roger Broders’s Monte-Carlo, circa 1930, $16,250. 

Sporting images from that same region included a pair of Geo Ham’s car racing posters: Monaco / 5ÈME Grand Prix Automobile, 1933, $13,750 and Monaco, 1936, $11,875.

This poster depicting a young Buffalo Bill on horseback, based on artwork by Paul Frenzeny, set a new auction record

Posters for Buffalo Bill, that grand showman of the American West, also performed well, with Paul Frenzeny’s The Scout / Buffalo Bill, 1888, setting an auction record at $7,500, while Col. W.F. Cody / “Buffalo Bill,”1908 and W.F. Cody / Buffalo Bill, circa 1905–both by unknown designers–bringing $15,000 and $14,080 respectively.