The Wild West came charging into Long Island when a group of five Buffalo Bill posters fetched a combined $59,398 at an auction held Apr. 20 by Philip Weiss Auctions, in the firms new gallery located at 74 Merrick Road in Lynbrook. The sale was a huge success, and a big boost for a company that was displaced in November by Hurricane Sandy.
The auction was dedicated almost entirely to rare and vintage posters, many of which were in remarkable condition. A small but high-quality collection of Wild West and circus posters headlined the event and in some cases brought record prices. World Wars I and II posters were also featured. In all, 296 lots changed hands in an auction that grossed around $185,000.
The top-selling Buffalo Bill poster was an iconic image of the legendary soldier, bison hunter and showman himself (real name: William F. Cody, 1946-1917). The 1907 Courier litho, measuring 28 inches by 42 inches, showed an image of a running buffalo with a portrait bust of Col. Cody inset into the animals side. Expected to fetch $4,000, the poster hit a record $18,975.
Following close behind was an exceedingly rare French poster showing Buffalo Bill, President William McKinley (elected in 1896) and two small vignettes (one for Cody Day at the Omaha Exposition of 1898 and one of an image of his first cabin). The 1899 litho, by Enquirer, had dates at the bottom (Sept. 18-20) for an appearance in Antwerp, Belgium. It rose to $17,825.
Placing third was a classic, and perhaps the most formidable of all the Buffalo Bill posters. It was a rare three-sheet version by Strobridge, printed in 1908 and showing a full-length rendering of Buffalo Bill on a horse. It was large, measuring 80 inches by 30 inches, and was in apparent (not examined out of the frame) A condition. The impressive poster sold for $13,800.
Rounding out the group was a very early image of the Buffalo Bill Wild West cowboys on the prairie, by Forbes Company (Boston), executed circa 1880s ($5,463); and a poster titled Highly Trained Texas Range & Ranch Horses (Strobridge, 1907), advertising the Buffalo Bill Wild West Shows. Restored along the center fold and in apparent B condition, it made $3,335.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by Proxibid.com and Auctionzip.com. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyers premium.
A rare and early Stobridge poster for P.T. Barnums The Greatest Show on Earth and London Circus (featuring Louisa Boshell, Queen of the Floating Wire), 31 inches by 21 inches and in apparent A condition, fetched $9,775; and a Barnum & Bailey poster showing a German artistic collage, by Courier Litho (Buffalo, N.Y., circa 1890s), condition B, coasted to $4,255.
An original circa 1930s poster for the Pennsylvania Railroad, promoting Atlantic City Americas All-Year Resort (by Edward M. Eggleston, 1833-1941), showing a beautiful woman holding a green towel with the beach, boardwalk and buildings as a backdrop, changed hands for $5,463; and a rarely seen, all-original early circa 1890s Ringling Brothers lithograph by Courier, depicting a wonderfully designed menagerie and oval portraits of the Ringlings, brought $4,255.
Philip Weiss Auctions next big sale will be held on Sunday, May 19, and feature over 500 lots of fresh-to-the-market toys, trains, soldiers, dolls and more. Dolls will be highlighted by a collection of French dolls, to include a Daniel French Bebe, a rare Roulet et Descamps key-wind character doll, a Tete Jumeau Bebe and Brown Jumeau Bebe and a Simon & Halbig #1339.
Other dolls will include a pair of Goebel character dolls marked B, a 14-inch JDK Hilda Baby, a 27-inch closed-mouth Jumeau and more. Trains will feature examples from the Finger Lakes Collection (Lionel, Flyer, etc.). Around 100 lots of toy soldiers will include Britains, Dime Store and other makers. The 19th /20th century toys will include pressed steel trucks and vehicles.
Also offered will be a large collection of automobile promotional model cars and kits from the 1950s and 60s, plus some modern pieces. It is important to note that for those attending this auction in person, it is estimated that over 50 lots will be sold on the floor only. Interested parties are encouraged to check the website for info and details, at www.weissauctions.com
Another auction is planned for Thursday, June 6, at 3 p.m. It will feature nautical items, rock n roll and Hollywood memorabilia, occupational shaving mugs, Oziana books and more. Headlining the auction will be the sale of the L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz) and Oziana collections. Sold will be an original painting of George Clench, a seaman on the Titanic.
Internet bidding will be provided by Proxibid.com and Auctionzip.com, and phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales.