Treasure: Vintage travel posters enticing – and collectible

Khristi Zimmeth
Special to the Detroit News
Helen Huseltine with her Pan Am posters DuMochelles Art Galleries,

Recent frigid weather has snowbound Michiganders dreaming of warmer, sunnier climes. It’s no surprise, then, that travel posters promising getaways to sun-drenched beaches and tropical destinations are popular collectibles.  

Helen Huseltine brought in a 1960s example to a recent appraisal session held at DuMouchelles auction house and art gallery downtown. Two Pan American posters from the 1960s were found in a cardboard tube in her son’s Eastpointe attic as they were getting ready to move. “I offered to help my son see if these are worth anything and how he best might ‘move them on’ to a good home,” she wrote in her original email asking for an appraisal.  

Expert Mallory Jamett took a look at the posters and a few accompanying maps of Ontario that were rolled up in the cardboard tube. While she had bad news about the value of the road maps, which she said were the Canadian version of the maps put out by the road commission and were worth less than $100, she had better news about the travel posters.  

“I’m assuming they all belonged to the home’s prior owners,” Huseltine explained to Jamett at the appraisal, who said they were a nice cache to find in an attic.  

“These are pretty cool,” she said as she looked a little closer. “They are also pretty rare and the coloration is still very strong. They haven’t faded much, luckily. That’s the benefit of being rolled up and stored away from the sun.” 

She was able to find similar posters that had sold at auction, including one from Swann Galleries and Live Auctioneers that included the following description: “A lush and exotic image featuring some of the Caribbean’s most alluring charms. Pan-American was the first U.S. airline to fly jets when in 1958 it launched Boeing 707 service to Paris, France. The 70s also signaled a new phase of growth in tourism to the Caribbean,” a description it said was quoted from “Art of the Airways.” 

Some travel posters feature well-known artists, but this one is the work of an unknown designer, the appraiser said. Despite this, Jamett said that shouldn’t affect its collectability, or its bottom line. She estimated the value at about $300 to $500 each at auction, noting that the online auction versions had values starting at $800, but were framed.  “That’s not a bad return for something found rolled up in the attic,” she said.                                                        

Send Us Your Treasures! 

Missed the recent Antiques Roadshow stop in Detroit but still curious about your collectibles? We have an appraisal session coming up and are still accepting applications for spots. It will be held with appraisers from DuMouchelles Auction House and Art Gallery in downtown Detroit at 10 am. Feb. 28. There is no fee but you must be available to bring your item in and be willing to be featured with it in an upcoming column.  

To be considered, send a photo of your item along with how you acquired it, your date and location preference and your contact information to   


About this item

Item: 1960s travel posters 

Owned by: Helen Huseltine 

Appraised by: Mallory Jamett  

Estimated value: $300 to $500 each