Swann Auction Galleries

When Swann Galleries was founded 1941 they where specialized in Rare Books. Today Swann has separate departments devoted to Photographs, Posters and Prints & Drawings, in addition to Books, Maps & Atlases and Autographs. Each year they have approximately 40 sales in the categories mentioned above.

As a member of International Auctioneers, an alliance of prestigious auction houses, their sales are publicized to auction clients around the world.

Swann Galleries is a family business and is located on East 25th Street just one block east of Madison Square Park. 

  • USA
Objects "Swann Auction Galleries"


"WE WHIPED THE REBLES 3 TIMES AND WE WILL WHIP THEM TONIGHT AGAIN" (MILITARY--CIVIL WAR.) Edminson, Penrose. Letter from a soldier in the 25th U.S.C.T. to his mother. Autograph Letter Signed to mother Rachel Edmsiton of McVeytown, PA. 3 pages, 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 inches, on one folding sheet, with manuscript notes on final blank; minor foxing and wear including slight loss on center fold not affecting text. With original printed Treasury Department mailing envelope bearing a Washington, DC postmark. Camp near Fort Barrancas [Pensacola], FL, 8 July 1864 Estimate $4,000 - 6,000 This letter was written by Penrose Edminson (1844-1864), whose family name was also spelled Edmiston or Edmundson in some official records. He was born in Pennsylvania, as was his mother according to the 1860 census. He served in the 25th United States Colored Troops, which was recruited in Philadelphia. They had initially served on the defenses in New Orleans, and then went out to Fort Barrancas in July 1864. Soon after his arrival, he wrote this warm and witty letter to his mother, describing his regiment's skirmishes against the Confederates, getting prepared for dress parade, and joking that his travels have now finally surpassed his adventurous sister's: "Dear Mother, I take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well, and hope these few lines may find you the same. I reseved your kind letter that you wrote on the 14th day of June. I was very glad to here from you. We have been drawed up in a line of battle two nights hard running for fight. The Rebs shot some 12 or 13 shots at our pickets but did not hurt anyone. We was waiting for them, but they did not come and then we went to our quarters. They are afraid to come here. We have got too many forts here fore them. Company F takes the prais, for they are always first out. I am very sorry to hear that all of our boys are cut up so bad. How is Ant Mary getting along now? Has she been down since I left? I suppose you had a gratt time on the Forth of July. Sis plagued me. She said she had been furder than me, but I ges I am up to her now. I have seen the elephant since, more than ever she has seen or ever will see. If ever I get home, McVeytown won't hold me any more. Don't foreget to send me 3 dollars and some postage stamps. I must fetch my letter to a close and get ready fore dress perraid." He concludes with a postscript: "We whiped the rebles 3 times and we will whip them tonight again." Penrose never did make it home to tease his sister or celebrate another Fourth of July. He died at Fort Barrancas on 26 October, most likely of disease, as so many soldiers did.Read more

  • 6d 7h


(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--PRELUDE.) [Vardill, James.] To the Worthy Inhabitants of the City of New-York. Letterpress broadside, 17 x 10 1/2 inches, signed in type by "Poplicola"; minor wear and dampstaining, repairs along horizontal fold with minimal loss of text, spot-mounted to mat board along top edge. [New York: James Rivington, 1773] Estimate $2,000 - 3,000 One of a series of three broadsides under this title by "Poplicola," the pseudonym of loyalist James Vardill. They were all issued as supplements to Rivington's New-York Gazetteer. Poplicola argued that the British tax on tea was reasonable and lawful. This broadside begins with the patriotic-sounding "Every good citizen will be inclined from duty as well as interest, to love his country, and to be zealous in advancing its welfare." It concludes "While we are watchful against external attacks on our freedom, let us be on our guard, lest we become enslaved by dangerous tyrants within." "Poplicola's arguments touched a nerve. If Poplicola was truly a great friend to his country, one anonymous writer demanded, he would sign his own name"--Allison, The Boston Tea Party, page 31. Evans 12956. 3 copies in ESTC, and none traced at auction. Provenance: From the estate of Kenneth Silverman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. Mr. Silverman was a specialist in Colonial American literature and the co-director of the program in American civilization at New York University.Read more

  • 25d 8h


(DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE). Proposals by John Trumbull for Publishing by Subscription a Print . . . Representing the Declaration of Independence. 4 pages on a folded folio sheet, with 4 pages of accompanying manuscript notes. Quarto and folio sheets, old folds, minor wear. New York, [1818] Estimate $800 - 1,200 Scarce prospectus for the proposed engraving of John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence. The painting was commissioned in 1817 and purchased by the government in 1819. It was made more famous and accessible by the engraving, accomplished by Asher B. Durand in 1820. Only one example in OCLC (University of Virginia), and none traced at auction. Scarce in itself, the prospectus is made even more interesting by the notes which cover and accompany it: the original manuscript draft of an article published by "Detector" in the National Advocate of 20 October 1818, condemning the painting as historical farce. The author writes, "It may perhaps be a very pretty picture, but it is certainly no representation of the Declaration of Independence. The errors in point of fact with which it abounds, ought to exclude it from the walls of the Capitol, where its exhibition may give to the mistakes of the artist, the semblance and authority of historical truth." The article's author, "Detector," has also annotated the printed list of signers depicted in Trumbull's painting, noting some of them as absent on the 4th of July.Read more

  • 25d 8h

(MEXICAN IMPRINT--1619.) Edict by the Mexican Inquisition...

(MEXICAN IMPRINT--1619.) Edict by the Mexican Inquisition in opposition to Saint Teresa of Ávila. Letterpress broadside, 15 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches, signed by inquisitors Juan Gutiérrez Flores, Francisco Bazán de Albornoz, and Juan de la Paraya, with embossed paper seal, long manuscript note on verso; minor worming, two small holes from ink burn in a signature, slight loss at two corners. Mexico, 10 April 1619 Estimate $2,000 - 3,000 This edict relates to Saint Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582), a popular but controversial Spanish mystic. She was the granddaughter of a marrano (a Jewish man forcibly converted to Christianity). The reforms she introduced to the Carmelite order and her ecstatic visions were seen as a threat to the established Catholic order. In 1617, decades after her death, she was named as a patron saint of Spain by the Spanish legislature. This edict by the Inquisition not only disavows her status as patroness--it orders that any written reference to her appointment must be handed in to the Inquisition, under penalty of excommunication. The text begins "Nos los inquisidores contra la heretica pravedad y apostasia en la Ciudad de Mexico . . . a todos los vezinos, y moradores." It reads in part "Hazemos saber, que al servicio de Dios nuestro Señor convieve recoger los escritos, tratados, y papeles, que hasta aora se an escrito concernientes al nombramieto que hizo el Reyno de Castilla de Patrona a la Beata Madre Theresa de Jesus. . . . Prohibimos, que de aqui a delante ninguna persona de qualquier grado, o condicion que sea, escriva, ni publique papeles en esta materia; ni los Impressores se atrevan a imprimirlos." The note on verso confirms that this edict was received and read at the Convent of San Geronimo of Mexico. One copy in OCLC and not in Medina, Mexico; no other examples traced at auction.Read more

  • 25d 8h


"HE IS NOW UPON THE MARCH TO JOIN GENERAL WASHINGTON" (AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1777.) Papers of Captain John McIlvain of the Pennsylvania militia and his family. 12 items, various sizes; generally worn, taped on both sides of a 20 x 25-inch sheet of scrapbook paper along with early 20th-century labels, some items with cello tape stains. Vp, bulk 1777-82 Estimate $1,500 - 2,500 John McIlvain (1742-1833) of York County was made a captain in the Pennsylvania militia in 1778. 7 documents here relate to his militia service: Order signed by Hans Morrison reading "Captain John McIlvain with his company are to be supplyed with provisions and necessaries at the different Continental stores as he is now upon the march to join General Washington," York County, PA, 10 November 1777 * Partly-printed loyalty oath document issued to McIlvain and signed by David Watson, form printed in Lancaster, PA by Francis Bailey, completed 4 August 1777 * Pay roll of McIlvain's company listing all troops, enlistment dates, and pay rates, 1778 * 2 receipts for fines paid for missing militia drill, 1777 and 9 May 1778 * 2 letters from James Dickson to McIlvain requesting copies of his muster rolls, 30 December 1781 and 24 December 1782. Also included are 3 pieces of worn currency: Pennsylvania one-shilling note, 1770; Pennsylvania 18-pence note, 1777; and Eastern Bank of West Killingly, CT 5-dollar note, 1852. Finally, on verso are 2 applications for a widow's pension filed by Mary McIlvain, 1834.Read more

  • 25d 8h

FRANK BOWLING (1936 - ) In M

FRANK BOWLING (1936 - ) In M. of M.W. III. Acrylic on cotton canvas, 1980. 1820x464 mm; 72x18 1/4 inches. Signed, titled and dated in ink, upper left verso. Provenance: G.R. N'Namdi Gallery, Chicago; private collection, Chicago. This beautiful, long cascade of rich layers of paint by Frank Bowling is a wonderful example of his series of "poured paintings." Beginning in New York in 1973, the artist used a tilting board platform to control the flow and descent of the acrylic paint vertically down the canvas. With its dynamic, almost marbleized surface, this work displays the artist's continued exploration of paint application with a growing complexity of vivid and metallic colors by 1980. That year, Bowling had his second solo exhibition at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York where he exhibited through the 1980s. The painting's title is an abbreviation of In Memory of Michael Williams. Michael Williams, a playwright, was a close friend of Bowling's and the younger brother of fellow Guyanese painter Aubrey Williams. Another Bowling painting in this series, Homage to Mike Williams, 1980, is in the Joyner/Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art. Organized by Dr. Courtney J. Martin, the Tate Britain, London held an exhibition of the poured paintings with Frank Bowling's Poured Paintings 1973–8, April 30, 2012 - March 10, 2013. The artist will soon have his first major retrospective also at the Tate Britain from May 31 - August 26, 2019. Martin p. 133. Estimate $80,000 - 120,000Read more

  • 13d 8h

(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Group of 11 slavery-related letters and documents

(SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) Group of 11 slavery-related letters and documents. Various sizes, condition generally strong. Vp, 1829-60 Estimate $700 - 1,000 Letter from Obed Waite to Colonel Samuel Jones of Washington, DC announcing that "negro Sam Lee left this place some time before Christmas and has not returned. . . . I am not certainly advised who Sam does belong to." Winchester, VA, 6 January 1829 * Letter from Thomas Mead to Frederick Carper of Fairfax, VA. "Negro hands have been hireing high in this section. . . . Negroes has been selling finely." Regarding white canal laborers from Pennsylvania, "they are a motley crew, if we do not proclaim martial law, we will have to keep up lynch's law in the neighbourhood." Lynchburg, VA, 14 January 1836 * Letter from T.W. Dorman to Rev. Henry Furlong of Abingdon, MD, discussing his desire to locate further south despite it being "densely settled with black and Indian population." Middleburg, VA, 27 May 1836 * Deposition of Louisa Luckett concerning the ownership of "a girl about three or four years of age named Betsy Parker," signed by future Confederate general Asa Rogers as witness. Loudoun County, VA, 16 June 1838 * Minutes of the Clark County Democratic Meeting, including a resolution that "efforts of the abolitionist or others made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery . . . are calculated to lead to the most alarming & dangerous consequences." Waterloo, VA, 8 June 1840 * Letter, Charles C. Stuart of Chantilly Plantation to Dr. Bell. "I could have sold the negroes, but it could not be done for cash in this county. . . . Hired them to Mr. Hofman who will take good care of them, and pay you punctually. "Island" (VA?), 12 January 1855 * Letter from James Grantham to John W. Luke. "Asked the jailor what he would take and relieve me of Henry. He said he would do it for 250$. . . . Henry seems no better, he may live a good many years and it will cost me 200$ at least in his present situation pr year." Np, 9 April 1856 * Bond regarding a lawsuit between Fenton Jackson and William B. Walter over "a certain slave girl named Louisa." Frederick County, MD, 2 February 1859 * Arrest writ against Charles Spears for the crime of "Trading with slave," Lawrence County, AL, 7 June 1860 * Letter, John Fletcher to Hamilton Gibson of Newtown, VA. "I am not willing to pay $500 for Susan, although I would like very much on Bill's account to purchase her." Upperville, VA, 13 September 1860 * Letter, E.C. Fitzhugh to John W. Luke. Regarding slave Sandy, Dr. F. "does not consider him worth the clothing we have to give him & he is in constant danger of committing some blunder. . . . He put a running noose or slip knot on the neck of his favorite mare. . . . He is constantly breaking into different houses in the neighborhood." Evergreen, VA, 10 August, undated.Read more

  • 6d 7h

Realized prices "Swann Auction Galleries "

(SURREALISM.) TCHELITCHEW, PAVEL. <b>Three Inscribed works</b> for Monroe Wheeler, Director of Exhibitions and Publications at The Museum of Modern Art. Illustrations and color plate reproductions of Tchelitchew's works. 8vo, cloth; original dust jackets. Numerous related ephemera laid in, and with occasional marginalia and edits by Wheeler. Ex-collection Anatole Pohorilenko, ex-dono Monroe Wheeler and Glenway Wescott. New York, 1942; 1944; Swann Auction Galleries
BERN HILL (1911-1977) <b>VIRGINIA SEASHORE / CHESAPEAKE & OHIO RAILWAY. Circa 1950.</b> <br /> 37 1/2x27 1/2 inches, 95x70 cm. <br /> <i>Condition B+: loss in upper right corner; creases in margins and image; minor tears at edges. Paper.</i> <br /> Bern Hill was a graphic designer and a painter. He is best known for a series of paintings which were turned into posters for the General Motors Electro-Motive Division, all of which depicted trains coursing their way through the American countryside. In this separate series he depicts landmarks and well turned-out tourists up and down the Chesapeake & Ohio Line. The Cape Henry lighthouse was built in 1792, commissioned by the government to aid in the safe navigation of the Chesapeake Bay. It was designed and built by John McComb, Jr. and is the third oldest lighthouse in the United States. Swann Auction Galleries
<b>REGINALD MARSH</b></i> <br /> <i>Union Square</b></i>. <br /> <br /> Lithograph, 1933. 346x216 mm; 13 1/2x8 1/2 inches, full margins. Edition of 300. Signed in pencil, lower right. A very good impression of this early print. Sasowsky 27. Swann Auction Galleries
80x30 inches. Chaix, Paris.<br><i>Condition B: restoration and restored losses along vertical and horizontal folds; repaired tears in margins. Two sheets. Matted and Framed.</b></i><br>Bac was an extremely active illustrator working for magazines, publishing albums and designing books. Like so many other artists of his generation, he also designed posters, in which capacity he is mainly remembered as one of Yvette Guilbert's favorite artists. He designed three posters for the music hall star, promoting her appearances at <i>Horloge</b></i> (1892), <i>Scala</b></i> (1893) and <i>Ambassadeurs</b></i> (1895). Each poster is in an elongated format in which the chanteuse is boldly depicted in profile, wearing a long white dress and her signature black gloves. This is the most interesting of the three posters, in which Guilbert is shown holding the statue of a degenerate aristocrat on a pedestal reading "fin de siecle," with Paris in the background (where Sacre Coeur is still under construction). These images wonderfully sum up her repertoire of sexy, daring songs which evoke the demi-mondaine world. DFP-II 30, Maitres 19, Reims 213. Swann Auction Galleries
ERNST BÖHM (1890-1963)
ERNST BÖHM (1890-1963) \nHOTEL STADT WIEN. 1934. \n\n47 1/4x32 1/4 inches, 120x82 cm. Chromo Lithographische Kunstanstalt, Munich. \n\nCondition A: slight darkening at upper right edge; minor creases in image. \n\nMany of Böhm's posters depict couples dancing. Here, he has managed to infuse this image of a waitress with the same lithe and supple grace of his other images - she even has her eyes closed, as if lost in her art. Swann Auction Galleries

Find address and telephone number to Swann Auction Galleries

Swann Auction Galleries
104 East 25th Street
New York, New York 10010
Tel. 212-254-4710