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Georges Hamel, 1935 Monaco Grand Prix poster, estimated at £15,000-£20,000 ($18,845-$25,125) at Lyon & Turnbull.

Original 1934 and 1935 Monaco Grand Prix posters could top $25K at Lyon & Turnbull April 24

LONDON – Original printings of two of the most reproduced of all automotive posters will appear at Lyon & Turnbull this month. The Wednesday, April 24 auction of Travel & Vintage Posters includes the posters designed by Georges Hamel for the Monaco Grand Prix in 1934 and 1935. They share the sale’s highest estimate at £15,000-£20,000 ($18,845-$25,125) apiece.

Posters for the oldest race on the Formula 1 racing calendar – ’34 and ’35 were the sixth and seventh stagings of the race – are among the most reproduced of all vintage poster artwork. Those designed by Georges Hamel (who signed his works Geo Ham) are particularly popular, combining bucket-loads of Art Deco styling with views of classic prewar vehicles racing on the Riviera.

Georges Hamel (1900-1972), the Prince of Speed, was at the top of his game when these two posters were produced. Having received the first of many commissions from French car magazine Omnia and the weekly L’Illustration in 1920, he was quickly engaged by race organizers and car marques to produce artwork for the Machine Age. He lived and breathed his subject matter: inspired to take up painting after watching a motor race in his hometown of Laval in 1913, he was himself an amateur racer and mechanic. He co-drove a 2-liter V8 Derby L8 at Le Mans in 1934 and owned a Bugatti Type 40.

Hamel’s pastel-hued design for the 1934 Monaco Grand Prix was commissioned by race organizers Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) and printed by Monegasque of Monte-Carlo. Although he chose as his subject gentleman racer Lord Howe (the 5th Earl Howe, Francis Richard Henry Penn Curzon) pulling ahead in his Maserati, the April 2 race was dominated by the successes of the Alfa Romeo team. The Algerian Guy Moll took the checkered flag at the age of 23 years and 10 months old, and remained the youngest driver to have won a Monaco Grand Prix until Lewis Hamilton (aged 23 years and 4 months) did so in 2008.

The 1935 poster, which depicts a shining aluminium Mercedes-Benz W25 out front, proved more prophetic. A tight race on April 22 was dominated by Mercedes and Alfa-Romeo, with Luigi Fagioli — the Abuzzi Robber — taking the flag in his W25B, slightly more than 31 seconds ahead of René Dreyfus in his Alfa-Romeo P3.

Several original copies of both posters have sold in recent years, with most passing the $20,000 mark.