Old circus posters, sideshow banners, animation cels in Mosby & Co. absentee auction closing Nov. 17 Mosby & Co. will conduct an absentee auction of rare circus and Wild West posters, sideshow banners, toys and animation cels, with bids opening Nov. 2 and closing Nov. 17.
News-Antique.com - Oct 07,2010 - FREDERICK, Md. – Mosby & Co.’s phone, Internet and absentee auction, which will be open for bidding from Nov. 2-17, is brimming with posters whose vivid colors and exciting images recall the era of traveling circuses under the big top.
“Days, even weeks in advance, the posters would start to appear around town, posted on store windows and walls, on light and telephone poles, or on the sides of buildings,” said Mosby & Co. owner Keith Spurgeon. “Everyone wanted to know when the circus was coming to town.”
Some posters depicted impossible feats, performed by acts from exotic lands. Others promised a real live parade of clowns, performers and wild animals right down the main street of small town USA. “But nowadays, most people under the age of 50 would not have a personal recollection of old-time circuses. It’s a bygone era, and that’s what makes period circus posters so collectible.”
In their fall sale, Mosby’s will present more than 200 circus, minstrel, vaudeville, Wild West and early theatrical posters, with a dateline ranging from the 19th century to 1998. The unquestioned king of this grouping is a circa-1900 original Buffalo Bill “Rough Riders of the World” poster featuring the U.S. Cavalry. This linen-mounted 28-sheet billboard shows an incredibly detailed and colorful glimpse into this iconic and completely American spectacle.
There are posters from the famous and also the obscure, like Col. Tim McCoy’s Wild West show, which lasted for less than one month during the Great Depression. Many of these posters came from two long-defunct Coney Island venues: ride inventor and manufacturer William F. Mangels’ Museum of American Entertainment and the old Henderson Music Hall and Tavern on Surf Avenue. These particular posters are display-mounted on Masonite, as was typical from the 1920s through the 1950s. Most of the remainder of this group came from the archives of other museums.
Once again, Mosby & Co. will offer original sideshow banners from artists such as Snap Wyatt, Fred G. Johnson, Johnny Meah, Mark Frierson, J. Sigler and others. A great Snap Wyatt Popeye banner and a Fred Johnson “Missing Link” lead this portion of the sale.
“They came from different museums and were held in collections for a long time. These banners have not been seen in the auction marketplace before,” Spurgeon said. “These items are true Americana. Some of the rarest items are the Buffalo Bill and early Barnum & Bailey posters by Strobridge (Cincinnati).”
Reflecting one of its specialties, Mosby & Co. will auction a fine selection of pre-World War II Japanese celluloid toys, along with a variety of American and European toys. There will be a wide array of boxed toys by Buddy ‘L,’ Marx and Nylint, including a sealed-box Nylint Missile Launcher and Street Sweeper.
A Toschi Ferrari with the motor still in its original box is part of the vehicle section of the sale. A recently discovered and fresh to the market find is a factory-sealed Marx Ben-Hur series 2000 playset.