Australian and international travel posters about to take off in New York

12 classic Australian travel posters feature prominently in Swann Auction Galleries sale of rare and important travel posters on 11 November. The 186 lots inspire dreams of travelling in style to exotic places all over the world.

At a time when more and more art is being purchased online, the appeal of the strong graphic image is undeniable. Early posters in all their forms are being helped by the online buying craze, and rock’n’roll and movie poster are finding new audiences through burgeoning online sales. The ongoing strength of our dollar continues to assist the Australian buyer.

Auction prices for travel posters are often around the US$800 – 1,200 mark. However, for the best images, there is a lot of competition, and paying US $ 10,000 to $ 20,000 is not unusual for rare or iconic images in mint condition.

Posters promoting Australia include an Australian National Airlines poster from 1955 by Ronald Clayton Skate, estimated at US$800 – 1,200.

Our most well-known and prolific poster designer Percy Trompf is represented with lot 53, ‘Western Australia, 1936’, also estimated at US$800 – 1,200.


Four posters by Gert Sellheim, including perhaps the best offering, is lot 56, Australia / Surf Club, circa 1936. Sellheim famously designed the Qantas logo of the Flying Kangaroo.

Five delightful images by one of Australia and New Zealand’s finest printmakers Eileen Mayo are also on offer. The best of these are lots 59 and 60, The Koala, from 1957, at US$2,000 – 3,000, and The Kangaroo, from the same year and with the same estimate.

We also like lot 54, a most evocative image created by an unknown designer for the Australian National Travel Association and produced by McLarens & Co, Melbourne, with an estimate of US$1,500 – 2,000.

In the international offering, the standouts in the sale are lot 21, a beautiful and early French Air Show poster from 1909, Aerodrome de Vichy by Roger Jourdain, estimate US$8,000 – 10,000, and lot 88, Emil Cardinaux’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, printed by Wolfsberg, Zurich, 1921, and estimated at US$ 10,000 – 15,000.

One of the most sought after lots will be number 93, the very rare poster advertising sailings for the return trip to Europe from New York for as low as US$ 36.25. Swann Galleries suggest in their description that its scarcity would be due to the fact that White Star Line would have pulled down and destroyed as many of these posters as possible after the disaster that befell their flagship.

The auction takes place on 11th November, New York City, 1.30 pm local time.

Article originally published in the Australian Art Sales Digest

Written by

Brigitte Banziger

Hi, my name is Brigitte Banziger and I am an art consultant and manager at Banziger Hulme Fine Art Consultants, Australia's art valuation and art advice experts. We specialise in art valuations for insurance purposes, for family division, deceased estates, superannuation funds and market values, and advise clients regarding purchase and sales of art (art brokerage). Our services are sought by private clients, companies, public galleries and councils alike. Our aim is to provide professional service with friendly, approachable manner.

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