Selections from Letterform Archive

At Auction May 12, 2021

Lot 142: Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers, 3 volumes, 1938-61. Estimate $200 to $300.

This special offering of deaccessioned duplicates from the rich collection of Letterform Archive will bring to auction graphics, books, posters and examples of typography that will delight any graphic design enthusiast. Within the trove of inspirational material are type specimens from around the world spanning decades of typographical innovation including work from such prominent type foundries as Klingspoor, Schelter & Giesecke, Berthold, Peignot & Fils, Bauer and many others. Also featured is a plethora of design material and books from such luminaries as Eric Gill, Ladislav Sutnar, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Piet Zwart, Karel Teige, Jan Tschichold, Paul Rand, Lester Beall and many many others. This auction will be held in tandem with Swann Galleries’ annual offering of Graphic Design, which follows on May 13.

Lot 2: Proef van Letteren, Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery, specimen book, 1768. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.

Please Join Us: Virtual Auction Preview Event with Poster House

May 3, 2021 at 3:00PM ET

Letterform Archive, a library and museum in San Francisco, has one of the world’s best collections of typographic history. With over 60,000 objects, there are hundreds of duplicates to be deaccessioned, and the nonprofit org has reserved the rarest of these gems for its first-ever auction. In anticipation of this special event, join Archive founder and curator Rob Saunders, Swann president and auctioneer Nicholas D. Lowry, and Poster House curator Angelina Lippert for an auction preview. You’ll see iconic books, ephemera, type specimens, and other examples of typography, all of which you can add to your own collection while supporting Letterform Archive’s mission to preserve, share, and educate.

Lot 70: Paul Klee, Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept., Weimar, 1923. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.
Lot 60: Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, Het Overzicht Nos. 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.
Lot 43: Wolfrum & Co., Modern Graphik, Serie I…, complete portfolio, 1909. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.
Lot 12: Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album.
Paris, 1862. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

What You Need to Know on Auction Day

This auction will be held live and conducted remotely.

There will not be bidding in the room, though we accept order bids, and interested buyers will be able to participate live via the Swann Galleries App. The app is available in the App Store and on Google Play, which can also be accessed on a desktop at

Please note: 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. To make an appointment please contact the specialist.


Nicholas D. Lowry

Director, Vintage Posters

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