Opening Bids: Exceptional Lots

<< Back to Collection, August 2014

    What a Racket

    Tennis advertising has its own brand of topspin, and an assortment of 70 posters promoting the sport traces it for more than a century. The vintage images, from a private Australian collection, are believed to form the largest such grouping ever to come to auction and they date to the late 1890s, when the game was still in its early days. “The styles really changed,” says Nicholas Lowry, Swann’s president. “In the earliest posters we see some improbable outfits, including large white dresses and straw hats. We even see an image of a man smoking a cigarette in an ad for a sporting-goods store.”

    A circa 1919 advertisement for a shop in Vienna corresponds to an era when the sport was becoming more mainstream, and the equipment and apparel more streamlined. The singular images also tout tournaments, equipment brands, and even hotels with tennis courts. Lowry says, “What makes collecting tennis posters difficult is that they’re so hard to find. If you love tennis, this is heart-palpitating stuff.” —Karen Cakebread
    Estimate: $400–$20,000/poster. Sale: Vintage Posters, August 6, Swann Auction Galleries; www.swanngalleries.com

    Continues on next page

     

    When the air had cleared after the frenzy of New York’s spring art auctions, players and spectators...
    This circa-1900 pink-swirl marble is in what Dan Morphy calls “wet mint condition,” or as pristine...
    Photo by Bob Tursack
    Maya Angelou’s art collection focused on works by African-American masters...
    The display is part of a hotel-wide renovation that will be completed by the end of the year...
    Heritage Auctions will also offer Mickey Mantle’s rookie card and Mike Ditka’s Super Bowl playbook…
    Photo by Cordero Studios⁄corderostudios.com
    Charles and Judy Tate assembled a world-class collection of Latin American art—and then gave it all...
    Photo by The Strong, Rochester, N.Y.
    The American game culture is almost as old as the country itself...
    Photo by Michael Richter
    Visitors trekked to Maastricht, the Netherlands, for the March opening day of the European Fine Art...
    Photograph by Ron Pierson, courtesy of Guernsey's
    The bounty from the sunken ship includes 40 tons of silver and gold valued at $450 million…
    The 13 new portraits include images of Douglas Cramer, Judy Garland, and Ernesto Esposito…