New York—It was standing room only at Swann Galleries on March 4 for the two-part sale of The Christopher Bou Collection of Ocean Liner & Aviation Memorabilia; and the Chase Collection of Ocean Liner Posters. With active bidding in the saleroom, on the phone and on the Internet, 93% of the items offered found buyers, and the sale’s results surpassed its pre-sale estimate.
Swann President and Poster Specialist Nicholas Lowry, who catalogued the Chase Collection, said of the sale, “The results of this auction would have been noteworthy in the heady days of 2007. By present-day standards and expectations, the results are nothing short of amazing. When an auction achieves over a dozen world record prizes, it is not only indicative of a buoyant market, but also of an unbridled enthusiasm for rare and exceptional pieces.”
The record prices were primarily for posters offered as part of the Chase Collection. Montague Birrel Black’s [White Star Line / Olympic & Titanic], matched its previous auction record of $13,200*; and his image for White Star Line / Europe to America, also showing the Olympic, circa 1925, brought $6,480. Other record-setting images were C. Satzmann’s Red Star Line / Von Antwerpen Nach New York & Philadelphia, poster, 1893, $7,800; French Line C.G.T. / Southampton to New York, depicting the Normandie, by an unknown artist, circa 1936, $12,000; Willem Frederick Ten Broek’s Holland-Amerika Linie, poster, 1936, $9,000, and KNSM, 1937, $6,000; and Ellis Silas’s P&O Cruises, $6,960.
There were also fine posters by legendary Art Deco artist A.M. Cassandre, including the sale’s top lot, his image for New Statendam / Holland-America Line, 1928, $24,000; as well as his Normandie / Voyage Inaugural, poster, 1935, $5,280.
Christopher Bou also collected rare and beautiful posters, and two aviation images in that portion of the sale also set records: Di Lazzaro’s Italian Aerial Lines, circa 1930, $9,600, and Routes Operated by Imperial Airways & Companies in Association, by an anonymous artist, London, 1937, $7,200.
Another aviation poster of note was Rene Ravo’s Ligue Aeronatique de France, poster, circa 1935, $5,040. Also among aviation highlights was a large metal model of a Pan-American Airways B-314 flying boat from the late 20th century, $6,480. There were ships models in the sale as well, such as lovely refurbished model of the Italian Line’s “Rex,” $5,040.
The Bou Collection contained many beautiful works of art depicting ships at sea, such as Paolo Klodic’s Oceania, color pastel on board, 1930s, $7,800, and Victoria, oil on canvas 1930s, $6,960; and Stephen J. Card’s oils of the Empress of Britain, 2001, $11,400, and Victoria, 2004, $6,000.
The sale offered many elegant China, silver and glass service objects used aboard various liners. These included a divided serving dish from the White Star Line created for use on the Titanic, $1,800; a group of crystal stemware and a water carafe from the French Line’s “Ile de France,” 1930s, $1,800; and a small assortment of pieces from the 1930s used aboard the Graf Zeppelin, among them a set of three glasses with decorative etching, $3,120; and two silver cigarette cases, $3,360 and $4,320.
There was also a metal and crystal chandelier once installed on the White Star Line’s “Olympic,” circa 1911, $5,280, and a maple bookcase from the Dollar Lines’ “President Coolidge,” circa 1931, $9,600.
Albums of promotional photographs of glamorous ships performed well. An album of 61 photographs of the “S.S. Independence” and the “S.S. Constitution” of the American Export Lines, sold for $1,920; a circa 1926 album with 40 images of the Italian Line’s “Roma,” $2,160; 26 linen-backed images of The Counts ships from the Lloyd Saubado Line, 1927, $2,880; and a pair of late 20th century albums with a combined 32 copy photographs of the short-lived “L’Atlantique” from the Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique line, $2,640.
Ephemera highlights included groups of items from French Line’s “Ile de France,” $1,320; the Italian Line’s “Conte de Savoia,” 1930s, $1,800; several Lloyd Triestino ships, 1930s, $2,400; and a scarce publication issued by the French Line to celebrate the completion of the “Normandie,” known as the Silver Book due to its silver foil wrappers, 1935, $1,800;
Rounding out the sale were a charming wood counter display with the tag line “It’s a lucky dog whose master travels French Line,” $1,920; and several decorative verre eglomise barometers, among them a pre-WWI promotional item for the Hamburg-South American Line’s “Cap Arcona,” $3,120.
An illustrated catalogue with complete prices realized is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at www.swanngalleries.com.
Swann welcomes consignments of top quality ocean liner collections. For further information, please contact Gary Garland at (212) 254-4710 ext. 17, or via e-mail at email@example.com.