June 12, 2007. (Indianapolis, Indiana). Auction records were cast to the wind as lot after lot of fantastic finds surged beyond high estimate during the June 3 two-session auction at Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper. Telephone, absentee and eBay bidders actively raised the bar while floor bidders held their own at this stellar multi-estate sale.

The fine art and antiques offered in Session One of this all-day event included fine examples of Meissen, and the much-talked about monumental bronze bear by French Artist, Isidore Jules Bonheur (1827-1901). The bold bruin surpassed its high estimate of $30,000, bringing in a sweet $58,650, including buyer’s premium, from a happy American telephone bidder.

But it was Session Two of this exciting collector’s event that managed to raise the bar, time after time, on existing auction records. Headlining this collection was an assortment of more than 125 vintage travel posters, most coming from a single East Coast collection.. Among the sampling, bidders battled for the New York Central Building, The New Union Terminal in Cleveland, National Parks Winter Sports, Chicago World’s Fair: A Century of Progress and the iconic New 20th Century Limited.

Bidding was highly competitive, with several East Coast dealers having traveled to Indianapolis to participate in this event. Telephone bidders filled every available line and absentee bids were bountiful, while eBay bidders rounded out the active participants.

All posters were handled and extensively researched by Antique Helper staff. But, as all seasoned auction-goer know, every sale is full of surprises, and this was no exception. Lot after lot managed to breeze past high estimate. This phenomenon is easily explained. According to Antique Helper staff member Andrea Hastings, ephemera in general, and travel posters in particular, represent an up and coming collecting niche. This strong and very stable market is populated with enthusiastic bidders who are eager to build their collections.

And bid they did. The New York Central Building travel poster by Chesley K. Bonestell (American, 1888-1986), sold just over its high estimate of $7,000, for $9,800*, including buyer’s premium, to an eBay bidder.

But it was the handful of sleepers and super stars that truly rocked the boat during this auction adventure. A Leslie Ragan (American, 1897-1972) poster, depicting the iconic New 20th Century Limited, steamed beyond high estimate of $8,000, to end at an impressive $15,187.50*, from an East Coast floor bidder.

But an even bigger surprise was still to come. Demonstrating that railroad travel posters hold a distinct draw for collectors, a Northeastern Railway of Great Britain travel poster, by Henry George Wagthorn (British, 1879-1941) faired even better. Aggressive bidding drove the price for this piece to an astounding $17,150, from an eBay bidder.

Antique Helper’s next specialty auction will showcase the Walter Nelson Collection of Native American Artifacts. Updates and the catalog for this exciting sale will be posted on our website,

Several of the top selling items sold in Antique Helper’s June 3 Auction, Sessions I and II:

1. Isidore Jules Bonheur bronze bear: $51,000
2. Henry George Gawthorn, Londong & Northeastern Railway of Great Britain travel poster: $14,000
3. Leslie Ragan, 20th Century Limited travel poster: $13,500
4. Glen C. Scheffer, lot of 4 Chicago World’s Fair and Sky ride posters: $9,500
5. Chesley Bonestell, New York Central Building travel poster: $8,500
6. Chesley Bonestell, New York Central Building travel poster: $8,000
7. Plinio Colombi, St. Moritz: The World’s White City travel poster: $7,000
8. Leslie Ragan, King of Winter Sports travel poster: $4,750
9. Lot of two Western US posters: 1934 National Parks Year and California… This Summer: Travel by Train: $4,250; and, tied for ninth place: Eric de Coulon, Suisse Zermatt Gornergrat Travel Poster: $4,250
10. Leslie Ragan, New Union Terminal Cleveland travel poster: $3,250

* Buyers Premiums are as follows: 22.5% for eBay bidders, 17.5% for telephone and absentee bidders and 12.5% for floor bidders. A 2.5% discount is given to telephone, absentee and floor bidders paying by cash or check, but this discount is not reflected in these auction results.

Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper
2764 East 55th Place
Indianapolis, Indiana 46220