Blast from the past

Swann Auction Galleries explores the days of early aviation at its Vintage Posters auction on Feb. 25.

Featuring seven unusual examples of flight from 1897 through 1912, these posters capture the spirit and excitement of this new technology in France, Germany and the United States, according to officials.

The earliest image is an 1897 advertisement for the New York Herald newspaper. Titled The May Century, this poster depicts a gentleman – Lieutenant Hugh Wise – being lifted into the air on a kite. Wise was the first American and third person in the world to be lifted airborne by kites when he launched from New York’s Governors Island on Jan. 22, 1897 (estimate: $2,000 – $3,000).

The majority of early aviation posters offered by Swann portray some of the very first flying competitions. For example, Long Island’s Belmont Park racetrack was host to one of the earliest competitions in the United States, as depicted in a rare poster advertising the 10-day long International Aviation Tournament, 1910 (estimate: $4,000 – $6,000). Additionally, the Aero Club of France held the Grand Prix D’Aviation in Angers in 1912, showcasing planes that could be used for military purposes (estimate: $5,000 – $7,500).

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