London Underground poster for the 1922 Wimbledon Championships by Aldo Cosomati, $4200 (£3350) at Swann.

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Swann’s (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) May 9 poster sale offered what it called “the world’s most preeminent private tennis poster collection”.

With more than 100 tennis posters spanning the 1890s through the 1950s coming to auction in New York, it was the largest collection of its type to hit the market.

They came for sale from the Schwartz family who used posters to decorate their Midtown Athletic Clubs, the well-known luxury sports clubs with a history of excellence in tennis.

Many rarities were on offer, not least a series of half-a-dozen Wimbledon posters designed for the London Underground in the 1930s.

Most of these stylised Art Deco designs are now familiar from reproductions but seldom do originals appear for sale. Each was estimated at $1500-2000 but did rather better.

Spartan scene

An image dated in the collecting literature to 1922, but here correctly nudged to 1923, was the austere scene of two men in full whites created by Aldo Cosomati (1895-1977).

Titled The Wimbledon Tournament June 25th (the day the 43rd staging of the Wimbledon Championships began), this was only the second year that ‘Wimbledon’ was held at its current venue on Church Road, near Southfields station.

Measuring 17 x 12½in (43 x 31cm), the poster was graded B-plus and sold at $4200 (£3350).


London Underground poster for the 1930 Wimbledon Championships by Charles Burton, $7000 (£5600) at Swann.

Working in a similar geometric graphic style to Cosomati was the Derbyshire commercial artist Charles Burton (1882-?).

He designed 23 posters for London Underground in the inter-war period including those for the Epsom Derby, the Trooping of the Colour and the British Industries Fair.

Burton’s simple design for the 1930 All-England Club poster titled Wimbledon From June 23 depicts a women in an above-the-knee dress preparing to volley. A panel poster size at 10 x 13in (25 x 32cm) - it would probably have been displayed in a train carriage - it was in good condition and graded A-A-minus.

The hammer price of $7000 (£5600) was above the guide, and many times the £881 bid for another version of this poster at Christie’s South Kensington in 2001.


London Underground poster for the 1930 Wimbledon Championships by Phyllis Bray, $5200 (£4150) at Swann.

The Slade School-trained artist Phyllis Bray (1911-91) was chosen to create the panel poster promoting the Wimbledon Championships for 1938.

A core member of The East London Group of artists who worked and showed together from 1928-36, this colourful tennis racket image may have been the only design she produced for London Transport.

Back in 2012 when Christie’s conducted a sale of posters from the archives of the London Transport Museum, an example of this image took £1800. The Schwartz collection poster sold at $5200 (£4150).

Broders brings glamour


Poster for the Monte-Carlo Country Club by Roger Broders, $10,000 (£8000) at Swann.

Leading the sale was a 1930 poster created for the Monte-Carlo Country Club by the celebrated ski poster artist Roger Broders (1883-1953).

The club, which boasted 21 tennis courts overlooking the Mediterranean, had been inaugurated two years earlier with great fanfare.

Broders depicted two glamorous members in his signature manner with the beaches in the distance. Graded B-plus with some small replaced losses in the corners, the 3ft 3in x 2ft 1in (99 x 63cm) image sold as expected for $10,000 (£8000).