News-Antique.com - Sep 27,2010 - Crowds in the 19th century rarely complained about spending a few pennies to see Barnum & Bailey’s “Greatest Show on Earth.” A man-eating chicken, an oversized African elephant, Chang and Eng Bunker, the original Siamese twins—fans couldn’t get enough.
Oddities of nature both amaze and repulse people. The circus plays on that duality and evolved as its own kind of moving art form. P.T. Barnum was so famous he was usually given the first offer of “so-called” freaks and oddities from all over the world. He also paid the most.
In 1871 Barnum was one of the best known showmen in America. Just the name Barnum was a huge drawing card. His big top circus performed under some of the largest tents ever erected and was the first circus to travel completely by train with its own cars
Before radio and TV advertising the circus wasn’t easy. Printers used the best artists to design circus posters and most artists worked in teams. That’s why posters are known by the companies producing them and not by the artists.
Never meant to last a lifetime, these colorful treasures of the past are compelling to look at and own. On May 2, Poster Auctions International, New York City, featured a selection of original Barnum & Bailey circus posters in its 50th poster auction.
A Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey poster; Berta Beeson, high wire act; 28 1/8 inches by 40 ¾ inches; sold in the auction for $1,035.
Read the full story at: http://www.LiveAuctionTalk.com