Posts Tagged ‘poster’

French Spidora

La Femme Araignee. Cirque Daniellis. Paris: Aussel, ca. 1937. One-sheet. Potter and Potter Auctions

This rare and delightful 1937 French circus poster is on the auction block today at Potter and Potter’s sale. “La Femme Araignee” is an advertisement for Cirque Daniellis’ spider woman. Known as the Spidora sideshow illusion on American carnival midways, it features a young lady with the head of a beautiful girl and the body of a giant spider.

Missed it? Check out the video below of Walt Hudson’s Spidora pitch and see her for yourself. “She’s strange, she’s unusual, she’s a lovely little girl. I’m going to let you look at her. Shortly afterwards we’re going to take her off the web and feed her, and you’ll have an opportunity perhaps to see that…” Little Spidora was an attraction at Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, Hudson says. And why by the way do we not currently have a Spidora single-o in Coney Island?

Potter and Potter’s live auction is on February 6 in Chicago but the catalogue is online and you can bid on the poster now or in real time during the auction.

Update: The poster sold for $1,200 plus a 22% buyer’s premium.

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Billy Lynch shows

Bill Lynch Shows Carnival Poster. Photo via Halls Auction Services

This vintage advertisement for Bill Lynch Greater Exposition Shows recalls the days when some big carnivals had bill posters lining fences and filling windows with circus-style paper ahead of the show’s arrival. The artist’s fantastic aerial view of the midway features a beautiful girl whirling on a chair-o-plane high above the other amusement rides. Measuring 25 inches high by 38.5 inches wide, the one-sheet was printed by Erie Litho & Printing Company in Pennsylvania. It’s up for sale on March 17 at Hall’s Auction Services in Calgary with online bidding available. The pre-sale estimate is $1,000-$1,500.

According to an article in the Billboard, Lynch was a Nova Scotian who bought his first amusement ride–a steam-powered merry-go-round that operated on his native McNab Island– in 1920. He was just 18 years old. By 1928, Lynch had his own traveling carnival playing still-dates with a merry-go-round, Ferris Wheel, chair-o-plane, three shows and a string of concessions.

Bill Lynch’s big break came when he won the bid to bring his carnival to Nova Scotia’s Halifax Exhibition in 1929. The contract required seven rides and seven shows. Over the winter and spring, Lynch managed to double the size of his midway by borrowing or buying equipment and the show opened to great fanfare in Halifax. In 1935, it took 14 railroad cars to transport the carnival, which by then was also touring Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

The March 17th auction at Hall’s consists of items from the 40-year personal collection of “Canadian Picker” Scott Cozens. The auction will be filmed for a future broadcast of “Canadian Pickers” on the History Channel.


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January 13, 2013: Up for Auction: Antique Arcade Games and Gambling Wheels

September 4, 2012: Up for Auction: Ringling Bros Circus Side Show Poster

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Subway Sun

Vintage subway ad for One The Only Coney Island! Photo © Bruce Handy. All Rights Reserved

“FABULOUS! FAMOUS! THRILLING!…THE ONE THE ONLY Coney Island!” This vintage Subway Sun ad featuring a couple of happy Parachute Jump riders advised subway riders to take the BMT or IND “D” to Coney Island. The poster has made a comeback in one of the vintage buses that the MTA is running for the holidays. Coney Island photographer Bruce Handy spotted it and other retro ads in 1950s-and 1960s-era buses running the M42 crosstown route through today, December 23rd.

The Subway Sun series was the work of cartoonist Amelia Opdyke Jones aka “Oppy” and dates from the 1940s through the 1960s. Check out Bruce’s flickr slide show to see the vintage buses and ads for NATO, Clark Bars (“You’ll like it a whale of a lot!”), Maidenform Bras, Rockaways’ Playland and “Special Fireworks Shows” in Coney Island on September 9 and 16th! The mid-September dates coincided with the Mardi Gras parades produced by the Coney Island Chamber of Commerce from 1903 through 1954.


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