Five Buffalo Bill Posters Sell for a Combined $59,398 at Philip Weiss Auctions

This 1907 Courier lithograph of Buffalo Bill Cody sold for a record price of $18,975 at an auction dedicated almost entirely to rare and vintage posters at Phillip Weiss Auctions on April 20.

LYNBROOK, N.Y. – 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 April 20 by Philip Weiss Auctions.

The sale—dedicated almost entirely to rare and vintage posters, many of which were in remarkable condition—was held at the firm’s new gallery in Lynbrook, N.Y., and deemed a huge success, which was a big boost for a company that was displaced last November by Hurricane Sandy.

A small but high-quality collection of Wild West and circus posters headlined the event and in some cases brought record prices. Posters from the First and Second World Wars were also featured. In all, 296 lots changed hands in an auction that grossed around $185,000.

The top-selling Buffalo Bill Cody (1946-1917) poster was an iconic image of the legendary soldier, bison hunter and showman himself. 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 animal’s side. Expected to fetch $4,000, the poster hit a record price of $18,975.

This 1899 French portrait poster of Buffalo Bill with President McKinley and others realized $17,825.

An original Pennsylvania Railroad poster promoting Atlantic City, N.J., circa 1930s, brought $5,463.

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 gaveled at $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.

An early Strobridge poster for P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth & London Circus gaveled for $9,775.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by Proxibid and Auctionzip (all prices quoted include a 15-percent buyer’s premium):

• A rare and early Stobridge poster for P.T. Barnum’s 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 – America’s 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. 

An early litho poster by Courier for Ringling Brothers and their menagerie, circa 1890s, sold for $4,255.

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.

Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, call 516.594.0731, e-mail to or visit the Philip Weiss Auctions website.

WorthPoint—Discover Your Hidden Wealth