Mid-20th Century Santa Fe Railroad Posters
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $7,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:09)
Prints & Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: When I was, I guess, younger than ten, we took the El Capitan to California, which was a Santa Fe trip, and I just fell in love with the whole concept of train travel and the railroad and everything that went with it. And posters similar to these were in all the stations, and I guess I had bugged the conductor and asked him, "How do I get a poster?" And one of them told me how to get to the Santa Fe headquarters, which is located here in Chicago. And I guess when I was about ten or 11, took the bus downtown and went to the Santa Fe offices.
APPRAISER: Do you remember what year that was that you took the train trip?
GUEST: We took the trip in '48 and also in '51.
APPRAISER: I'm going to guess that these came after the trip in 1948 and were from the 1951 trip, because on one of these posters we actually have the date of publication, which is 1949. Sometimes it's very difficult to date Santa Fe Railroad posters. And there's really two ways: One way is if there's a printed date you can pretty much take it for granted. The other way is what a train lover would tell you, which is about the Santa Fe logo. Back in the 1930s, the logo would have been more of an octagon with square sides. So you can date it that way. The Capitan and the Chief were the Santa Fe Railroad's most prominent liners, and in this picture, called "The Meeting of the Chiefs," we actually have a Native American chief and we have the Santa Fe Railroad Chief meeting on the plains. And so these posters are showing sights between Chicago and Los Angeles because the Chief ran from Chicago to Los Angeles in about 39 hours. All the wonderful,
colorful sights that you'd see on the trip are pictured here. And I should say you have a total of 12 posters and we're only looking at six of them now. These posters I've seen before. They come up for auction every now and again and some of them are rather common. For example, the "Land of Pueblos," the "Hopiland" and even the very colorful "Grand Canyon" are images that I've seen before. However, the "Yosemite" image and the "Red Cliffs" image I have not seen before. If you had to guess their value,what would you imagine that to be?
GUEST: I don't know. $50, $100 apiece. I don't know.
APPRAISER: Well, that would be a very conservative estimate. Judging by my experience,I would estimate each poster at between $400 and $600, making the entire collection worth somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000. And some of them, like the "Yosemite," and like the "Red Cliffs," even though they're late 1940s printing, I would still say would command that kind of a price.
APPRAISER: Take a train trip right to the bank with that one.
GUEST: That's... I think I'm going to frame them and hang them up in the house now.
APPRAISER: Excellent-- well, thank you very much for bringing them in.
GUEST: Thank you, thank you very much.
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