Feb 26 2018

Mystery Foto #8 Partially Solved:A Humidor Vanderbilia from the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Dr. Fred Simeone was looking for your assistance in identifying this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Which Vanderbilt Cup Race was depicted on the cover?

1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race

  • Identify the location and the race car and driver?

The Long Island Rail Road crossing on Broadway in Hicksville. The #2 DeDietrich driven by Fernand Gabriel with D. Miollans as his trusty mechanician.

  • Which artist was originally responsible for the artwork

The original 1907 illustration was done for a lithograph by Ernest Montaut (1878-1909) and/or his wife Marguerite Montaut.

  • What was the possible purpose of this Vanderbilia?

Cigar humidor

  • Who manufactured this Vanderbilia and when? (Currently unknown)

Still Unknown

Comments (11)

Congrats Dick Gorman, Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner), Greg O., Steve Lucas and Brian McCarthy for idetitfying the Montaut illustration of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race on the box cover.

Kudos to the person who figures out who manufactured the box and when.



Cigar humid

On February 10, 2018, I had the honor of meeting up once again with Dr. Fred Simeone of the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Simeone asked John and me to come to his library to check out this weekend's Mystery Foto.


Ernest and Marguerite Montaut

Together Ernest and Marguerite Montaut created the Gamy Montaut prints documenting various historical events in the early history of motorized transportation, including power boat racing, motorcycle and motor car racing, motor car touring, zeppelins and airplanes.

Ernest Montaut (Submitted by Brian McCarthy)

Marquerite and Ernest Montaut (Submitted by Steve Lucas)

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)


Feb 22 2018 Ron Ridolph 11:46 PM

Hi Howard:
    I believe it to be a lithograph plate for a painting of a 1907 Renault 35/45 HP.
in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Races.
                      Best To You,  Ron

Feb 23 2018 Steve vilardi 12:34 PM

It looks like a problem that still exists to this day on Long Island. Railroad crossings and railroad crossing gates. The box could be an urn with ashes from the first Vanderbuilt racer to die at one of those crossings while making a daring attempt at beating the train. It all reminds me of a really well done BMW promotional video with Cive Owen and James Brown

Check out this video on YouTube:   Beat The Devil (BMW Short Film)


Feb 23 2018 Brian D McCarthy 4:33 PM

Hi Howard. Before I tackle this one, is it OK to know the following:

The drawing appears to be edged on a metal surface, encased in a metal frame with a clear glass covering?

Feb 25 2018 Dick Gorman 9:57 AM

Mystery Foto #8… This case depicts the 1904 Vanderbilt cup Race. The location appears to be the railroad crossing at Massapequa Road, Hicksville. The car was a Lorraine-Dietrich (or De Dietrich) driven by Fernand Gabriel (mecanician, D. Miollans). The original art was by E. Montaut. My guess as to the possible purpose of this box is it held prize money for the winner. Can’t find any info on who manufactured this Vanderbilia.

Feb 25 2018 Art Kleiner 12:39 PM

Which Vanderbilt Cup Race was depicted on the cover?  1904

Identify the location and the race car and driver? Hicksville, Fernand Gabriel in a DeDricht

Which artist was originally responsible for the artwork? Ernest Montaut

What was the possible purpose of this Vanderbilia?  To encase the prints contained in the series “10 Years of Race, the Winners 1897 - 1907”.

Who manufactured this Vanderbilia and when? (Currently unknown)
Not sure but photo sent to Howard is of a silvered metal inkstand depicting the work of Ernest Montaut for Michelin tires indicating 34 ceramic tiles.  A long snot, but what’s to lose.

Feb 25 2018 Greg O. 2:57 PM

Which Vanderbilt Cup Race was depicted on the cover?
1904 VCR

Identify the location and the race car and driver?
Hicksville; #2 De Dietrich driven by Fernand Gabriel

Which artist was originally responsible for the artwork?
Looks like the name is E Montaat

What was the possible purpose of this Vanderbilia?
Who manufactured this Vanderbilia and when? (Currently unknown)
Unknown, but looking forward to the answers!

Feb 25 2018 frank femenias 7:22 PM

Don’t know all the answers but this image could be depicting a close call during the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race in Hicksville, NY. If true, this location is where the RR tracks cross South Broadway/Rt. 107 today (Massapequa Road). The left curve in the road however contradicts my guess. It should be a right curve.

The first train/auto accident ever recorded in the U.S. occurred in Westbury, NY on Oct 1910, where the RR tracks cross Post Ave. French race car driver Henri Fournier and three passengers, collided with a train that ejected everyone out of the vehicle. All occupants survived the wreck.

Original image is not a Peter Helck illustration. The style is different

Possible 80hp De Dietrich with Fernand Gabriel behind the wheel, and mechanician D. Miollans



Looking forward to this week’s answers

Feb 25 2018 Steve vilardi 7:24 PM

Sorry, I stand to be corrected! The BMW promotional short is called “beat the devil” not race with Lucifer! Another short from that series with “Madonna” is called “the hire”

Feb 25 2018 Steve Lucas 9:14 PM

The image is an artistic representation of Fernand Gabriel driving the #2 DeDietrich racer in the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race as he crosses the LIRR tracks in Hicksville, just ahead of the speeding locomotive. The artist was Ernest Montaut (1878-1909), who mainly created French posters. Although no lithograph expert, I think the item In question may have been the engraving from which succeeding prints were made by pouring some molten material (wax, paraffin, rubber, lead?), onto it, allowing it to harden and then using that new impression to “stamp” out new prints.

Feb 25 2018 S. Berliner, III 10:00 PM

1904 VCR.  Gabriel.  The Master Nitpicker strikes again!  I can’t read most of the inscription (en français) but the loco is NOT an LIRR loco and the proper name of the LIRR is Long Island Rail Road (RR as two words).  Seems reasonable to assume the art work was based on a Peter Helck original.  Sam, III

Feb 26 2018 Brian D McCarthy 7:11 PM

*VCR inscribed on this Vanderbilia:  1904 race
*Location/Auto/Driver & Mechanician:  Looks to be quite a curve towards the LIRR. This curve matches the right turn crossing the LIRR, then proceeding east on Jericho Tpke. in Queens. But the DeDietrich #2, driven by Fernand Gabriel & D. Miollans; broke down in Hicksville; probably in vicinity of the LIRR ( broken pump & frozen carburetor in lap 7. They finished in 8th place ). The inscription on the Vanderbilia states Hicksville. So my answer is Hicksville.

*Artist: Ernest Montaut, Born 11/7/1878 - Died 8/9/1909. His wife Marguerite was also an artist. Mr. Montaut was known to use a lithograph stone process for his artwork.

*Possible purpose for this Vanderbilia:  This looks to be a metal novelty box. Metal is also used for lithography. The artwork is obviously “stenciled” on the top/lid of the box. Perhaps Marguerite had this novelty box made in memory of her late husband, who passed at such an early age.

*Manufacturer of this Vanderbilia and when:  Don’t know who and when this was made. Sometime after 1909?

Mar 04 2018 R Troy 9:55 PM

Quite neat!  Plus we’ve been to the Simeone Foundation - it is an amazing collection.  And as should be obvious, most of the cars there do run and come out to the ‘yard’ to play!

Nov 14 2019 Tom Brierley 4:23 PM


I just came upon your Vanderbilia photo, with the question about your silver box.

This was cigar box that was created in the 1990s by the London silversmith, Glynn Lambert.  It is silver plated box with a mahogany interior.  The image that Glynn etched into the top is his interpretation of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup pochoir art that Montaut displayed in his book, “10 Ans de Courses 1897-1907”.

As far as I know, only 2 of these boxes were created.  I own the second.

Nov 15 2019 Howard Kroplick 12:26 AM

Tom, thanks so much for providing this information!

Nov 15 2019 S. Berliner, III 6:30 PM

As long as this came alive again, I took more time with the second blow-up; the inscription reads:  “- COUPE VANDERBILT - 1904 - / Le Match - GABRIEL - LONG ISLAND RAILROAD {sic} - / au passage á Niveau d’Hicksville” [at (the) crossing in (the) neighborhood of Hicksville].  Sam, le Troisième

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