Fall 2020 Preview: Rare & Important Travel Posters

At Auction October 15

Lot 153: Paul George Lawler, San Francisco – Hawaii Overnight / Via Pan Am, 1939. $10,000 to $15,000.

Around the World in Vintage Posters

In an era in which armchair traveling has become the new normal, it has never been more engaging to stay at home and travel the world virtually through the glorious designs of historical travel posters. Unintentionally, though poignantly, our Rare & Important Travel Posters auction this fall can certainly be described as celebrating “America the Beautiful” as the number of posters relating to American travel is more concentrated than usual, all luring travelers to the mountains and coastlines, cities, vistas, destinations, National Parks, monuments and events of historical significance around the United States.

Collecting & Appreciating Train Posters

An Informal Talk with Railroad Historian Michael Zega & Swann President Nicholas D. Lowry

Happening October 12 at 7PM ET

For anyone who has met Michael Zega, it’s clear he knows everything about the fascinating history of American railroad advertising. He did, in fact, write the book Travel By Train, and has penned numerous magazine articles on the topic. He is the person our specialists call when they have a question on railroad history or advertising minutiae. For anyone who hasn’t met Mr. Zega, it’s your lucky day to glean some insight into his favorite, most historical pieces, and hear him chat about some of the interesting images he has come across over decades of researching. At a time when very few of us have been traveling, and on the cusp of an era where the way we travel may very well change again, this event promises to appeal to the armchair traveler, the historian and the poster aficionado.

Featured Image Above: Lot 102: Leslie Ragan, The New 20th Century Limited, 1939. $10,000 to $15,000.

Ocean Liners

Lot 1: Around the World / North German Lloyd, designer unknown, circa 1910. $800 to $1,200.

Egypt, the Middle East, Asia & Australia

Lot 29: Michael Rudolf Wening, Siam, circa 1920s. $2,000 to $3,000.

From London to Latvia, Bangkok & Beyond

Celebrated images from Europe include a poster promoting early aviation in the south of France, with Charles Leone Brosse’s Meeting d’Aviation / Nice, 1910. An Art Deco design for the London Underground is seen in Jean Dupas’s Where is the Bower Beside the Silver Thames, 1930. A scarce, atmospheric view of the temples of Bangkok is displayed in Michael Rudolf Wening’s Siam (above). A Gatsby-esque evocation of holiday makers in Jasper, in the Canadian Rockies (below); a graphic representation of one of the most famous mountains in the Alps in Emil Cardinaux’s Zermatt, 1908; and a truly exceptional Art Deco gem for travel to the Seaside of Riga in Latvia-the Baltic Coast, circa 1930, complete the offering.

Lot 62: Sigismunds Vidbergs, Spend Your Holidays at the Wonderful Seaside of Riga, circa 1925. $1,200 to $1,800.


Including Swiss and Italian travel images (lots 37 to 48), French posters (lots 47 to 58), advertisements for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (lots 68 to 73) as well as the United Kingdom (lots 74 to 89).

Lot 88: Jean Dupas, “Where is this Bower Beside the Silver Thames?” 1930. $15,000 to $20,000.
Lot 48: Charles-Léonce Brossé, Meeting d’Aviation / Nice, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.

North American Travel Posters

Including railway images from New York Central Lin and Pennsylvania railroad (lots 93 to 105), New York (lots 106 to 111), Chicago (lots 119 to 123), California (lots 137 to 148), Hawaii and the Pacific Islands (lots 149 to 151), Cuba (lots 153 to 157) and Canada (lots 158 to 164).

Lot 152: Bern Hill, Fly Canadian Pacific / Across the Pacific, circa 1950s. $1,500 to $2,000.
Lot 115: John Held Jr., Nantucket, 1925. $6,000 to $9,000.
Lot 138: Seaverns W. Hilton, Lewis and Clark / Northern Pacific, 1920. $5,000 to $7,500.

Among the highlights are a previously unrecorded poster for the Northern Pacific Railway from 1920, featuring Lewis and Clark; Hernando Villa’s poster for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, which has not come up for auction in America in nearly ten years; as well as Villa’s 1931 The Chief is Still Chief poster for the Santa Fe Railroad; and John Held, Jr.’s 1925 poster advertising travel to Nantucket for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, an image that has not been on the block since 2006. The American offerings are augmented by works of highly regarded and talented poster artists such Edward Eggleston, David Klein, Maurice Logan and Leslie Ragan.

Lot 163: Fred Powis, Jasper / In the Canadian Rockies / Canadian National Railways. $2,000 to $3,000.

What You Need to Know for Auction Day

This auction will be held live and conducted remotely by Swann auctioneers taking bids from multiple platforms. While there will not be bidding in the room, we will be accepting order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live online via the Swann Galleries App. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, and it can also be accessed on a desktop at live.swanngalleries.com

Please note: limited phone bidding will be available for this auction. Phone bidding registrations will close the day before the sale at 4pm.

At this time, our exhibition and auction location at 104 East 25th Street is closed to the public. Private viewings are available by appointment only, and must be arranged in advance with the specialist. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.


Nicholas D. Lowry

Director, Vintage Posters


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