NEW YORK — On July 8-9 New York City-based auction house Guernsey’s is conducting an
unreserved auction of possibly the finest collection of patriotic posters relating to World War I. Roughly half of the approximately 2,000 posters are from the United States, with the balance reflecting the many different nations involved in the Great War. The auction will be held online via LiveAuctioneers.com.
Brooklyn-born Edward H. McCrahon was so passionate in his defense of the Allied nations that he joined the French Army two years prior to the United States entering the war. Once the U.S. became involved, McCrahon returned home, enlisted in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of Colonel. However, it was during his stint in France when he first became riveted by the compelling graphics of war poster art.
At the conclusion of the war, McCrahon devoted his energies toward assembling what is ultimately recognized as the most extensive collection of war posters known to exist. By the mid-1930s – after 16 years of collecting – the McCrahon Collection was widely exhibited and acknowledged in countless print articles, even in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the very finest collection of its type.
The Colonel McCrahon Collection reflects the international flavor of the war, as numerous countries and their respective languages were used to inform and motivate the civilian public during this time of great crisis. (Of note are the many foreign language posters printed here in the United States that functioned as outreach to the large clusters of immigrants in cities such as New York.) Although all are patriotic at their roots, this collection features posters that cover fundraising, food rationing, enlistment, women’s war efforts and animal aid. Many of the posters collected by Col. McCrahon are the only known copies to exist.
Never having left the McCrahon family, the collection has been consigned to Guernsey’s by the Colonel’s grandchildren. The sale is taking place over two days, with approximately 700 lots each day (some of the lots containing multiple posters). For additional information, visit www.guernseys.com or contact Guernsey’s at 212-794-2280.