French Tire Poster, ca. 1905

Value (2012) | $1,500 Auction$2,000 Auction

It's approximately a 1905 printing by the Bergougnan Tire Company in France. Bergougnan was later acquired by Michelin Tire, so it's pretty much disappeared, at least in the United States on advertising. "Neus le Gaulois" is the name of it, meaning "Tires of the Gauls." And it's a Gallic warrior, which is a corporate thing. The tire company that I worked for was cleaning out the warehouse, and this was basically leaned up against the Dumpster and was on its way out to be thrown out. I asked if I could have it, and they gave it to me.

So you basically picked it up out of the garbage.

That's correct.

The poster was posted on the street, and it was meant to catch a pedestrian's eye, and basically impress upon them in the moment it took to walk by, the product and the message that the company was trying to impart. And this image, with its bright yellow background, with its powerful image I think you can imagine walking down the street if you saw this, you might actually stop and stare at it. And really sort of soak up the image. Do you know anything about the artist of the poster?

None whatsoever other than his name down at the bottom.

He has a very curious signature. His name is Marcellin Auzolle. Auzolle designed at least 50 posters. So he was a very prolific artist, and he worked for all different products. He worked for toothache pills, razorblades, liqueur, exhibitions... went on and on. And yet for all of his great artistry, very little is known about his biography. Any idea as to what it's worth?

I really have no idea. It's large, it's in relatively good condition. I figured several hundred dollars.

You know, there are some schools of thought that say size really matters. That's not necessarily the case in posters. His work never commands very high prices. But for the research I was able to do today, I was unable to find a record of this image ever coming up for sale in the United States. There are some areas where somebody has painted over some losses. And there also are some very sharp creases and bubbles, which generally would detract from the value. But because of its rarity, I think in this instance it won't make a difference at all. At auction, I would estimate this piece between $1,500 and $2,000.


Appraisal Details

Swann Auction Galleries
New York, NY
Appraised value (2012)
$1,500 Auction$2,000 Auction
Cincinnati, OH (July 21, 2012)

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