Time Spent Researching Artist’s Signature Can Pay Off

Diego Rivera

If you came across a quality painting with only the initials “CC” signed, would it be worth your while to find out if this might be something of value? On the one hand, the time researching might pay off handsomely, but on the other hand, the time spent researching might add nothing more than another layer of knowledge, possibly to be used next time around.

This is the way it is in the Fine Arts business. You’ll often find signed paintings, but can’t decipher the signature. It may take you a lot of time researching and there’s a chance you’ll come up empty handed. But, the rewards of finding something valuable are fantastic. I found a painting one time that I knew had to be painted by a talented artist, but I couldn’t read the signature. My only solution was to go through the entire set of signature books I had, so I decided to do this. About halfway through the first book, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I found a direct match. At this point, I still didn’t know the value of my piece, but once I saw this artist’s signature in the book, I knew he was a listed artist and I could track this down.

I grabbed my Davenport’s Art Price Guide and quickly look him up. I discovered that the $150 I paid for this painting had been well spent. The least expensive of this artist’s work brought $5,000 while his top sale was over $82,000. I soon sold this painting for just over $12,500. If I had paid myself $200 for the time I spent researching, my profit still would have been over $11,500. Not bad for a little work.

Remember, we are looking for things others miss, and often the point where they walk away is when there’s a signature that isn’t clear. How many people do you suppose looked at that painting and thought that it just wouldn’t be worth the effort to research it.

There are other things people walk away from in the art world. For example, many famous artists used only initials to sign their work. If you don’t have a book on these monograms, then they’ll mean nothing to you. I use the American and European set of books called “Signatures and Monograms” by John Castagno. If you can find these used on the Internet or through Abesbooks or Amazon, they could be like gold to you.

In these books, you’ll also learn that artists often painted under more than one name. A woman may have painted under her maiden name, as well as her married name. These books also contain sections on indecipherable signatures and the symbols some artists used on their paintings.

You will also find where artist often painted under more than one name. A lady for instance my have painted under her maiden name and also her married name. They also have a sections in these books on indecipherable signatures and symbols that some artist used on their paintings.

Back to my original question – if you found a painting marked “CC”, would you take the time to research it? If you did, you’d discover it was painted by the famous artist Jean Baptiste Camilla Corot, and it would be very valuable. If a painting is signed, “Picasso” most people would pay attention, but if it had the initial D with the number 32 after it and you researched it, you’d know it was by Diego Rivera and it was time to snatch that up. And what if you could buy one of these for just a few hundred dollars, because somebody didn’t know what it was. The record for one of Rivera’s works is over $1,500,000. Like I said in my book, let’s spend our time where the money is.

One of our members just emailed me about a painting she purchased for $1200. If it’s genuine, it’s worth over $28,000. I have my fingers crossed for her. And presently, I’m researching a painting that could very easily be worth $65,000 or more. I’ll share the results with you when I get them, and it wouldn’t hurt to have your fingers crossed for me, too.

There are other sources of looking up artists, such as AskArt.com, ArtNet.com and ArtPrice.com. These are subscription based services. If you’re a member of the 31 Club, rather than subscribing to these yourself, you can give us a call and we’ll check the name and prices for you. That’s just one more advantage of being a member.

Treasure Hunters:

You Find It.
We Buy & Sell It.
You Net 35%.

Partner Up with 31 Club on High Quality Treasures You Find. We Do the Rest!!

Sellers:

Sell Your High Quality Items for LOW FEES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.
Keep More of Your Money.

Buyers:

Buy High Quality Items for FAIR PRICES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.

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Antique Snuff Boxes: Small and Valuable Treasures Worth Sniffing Around For

Swiss Enamel & Gold Snuff Box, circa 1740. Photograph property of M.S. Rau Antiques

I often tell Members of the 31 Club that money in the antique and collectible world can be made with items smaller than a bread box. Besides not taking up too much space in your home until you get them sold, you won’t be faced with transporting these small treasures back and forth, which eats away at your time and erodes your profit. Snuff Boxes and Snuff Bottles certainly qualify as items smaller than a bread box, and they can be quite valuable. Today, I’ll focus mainly on snuff boxes.

Snuff, used for many centuries, is a tobacco that is ground into a very fine powder. It’s sniffed through the nose, tucked behind the lip, or tucked inside the cheek. It came in either a dry form or a moist form.

In Europe, in centuries gone by, the use of snuff was a very popular social ritual, mainly with the elite. Many a high society lady or gent would never leave home without their stylish snuff box and would often have several to choose from. They even had snuff boxes for every season. In China, snuff bottles were very popular, and the bottle stopper had a little pad on the inside of it. The process for use was the same.

In 19th Century America, some women might have smoked cigars in public for its shock value, however, there were far more ladies discreetly using snuff, which was perfectly acceptable. This was Women’s Lib 19th Century style, and it caught on.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and we find that anything to do with snuff has become highly collectible. If you find one for a collector, they’ll pay you handsomely, especially for the right one.

Snuff boxes can be made from almost any material. They were often made of antler, silver, wood, brass, gold, pewter and many others. They also can be a combination of several materials, artistically decorated. Most boxes were decorated with gold or silver, often with the owner’s initials engraved on them. Many were highly decorated, and of course, these are quite valuable. Let’s look at a few values in Kovel’s Price Guide to see if your eyebrows move a little north:

A 3” Gold Enamled Box of a Harbor Scene, c. 1830 valued at $17,250. If that’s too rich for your blood, how about a Metal, Gilt, Musical, engine-turned panels sized at four inches for $14,950. These must have been owned by a very special lady or gent.

$32,500. That’s the price of the snuff box shown in Today’s Photo. Offered at M.S. Rau Antiques, and this Swiss Enamel and Gold Snuff Box, circa 1740, looks like it contains a double ivory portrait,adding to its value. This is a real beauty. When you take a look at all their high end snuff boxes, you’ll have a better idea of the high quality, high end boxes out there.

Remember, we look for the higher end, rare items. As we work our way up the 31 Steps, our ever increasing knowledge of true quality and rarity will help us along the way. Please make every effort to attend antique shows in your area to see high quality items up close and face to face. The first goal is to be able to recognize quality when you see it.

Snuff was not reserved for the high society crowd. We regular folks used it, too. I can still remember the way my Grandmother would quickly sniff a little, sneeze, and then hold her dainty handkerchief to her nose. As a child, I often wondered why she would do this. Maybe to clear her nose, I thought.

Today, snuff is a dying industry. To the ladies and gents of days long gone, aside from being the socially chic thing to do then, that special little high from nicotines was what they were probably after. In those days, the use of snuff also made the dentists very happy, too. It caused many a mouth problem and surely increased the bottom line in the dentists’ books.

If you’re interested in “sniffing out” more information on snuff boxes, you might start by reading Christopher Proudlove’s Blog on Snuff Boxes at WriteAntiques.com and Tobacco.org has a very informative timeline of tobacco that’s quite interesting.

Treasure Hunters:

You Find It.
We Buy & Sell It.
You Net 35%.

Partner Up with 31 Club on High Quality Treasures You Find. We Do the Rest!!

Sellers:

Sell Your High Quality Items for LOW FEES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.
Keep More of Your Money.

Buyers:

Buy High Quality Items for FAIR PRICES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.

Our Members are Newbies to Seasoned Professionals
Making More Money than they Thought Possible.

Daryle’s 220 Page Book,
31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles , is FREE with your Membership.
Plus You Get FREE MENTORING with Daryle.
Join Today!

Or E-Mail us at info@31corp.com

It’s a What? A Whirligig?

If I told you a whirligig could bring in some big money, would you know what a whirligig is and how to spot one?

I always teach that the money in this business is made in the rare. The rare and desirable will keep your money turning, and a whirligig falls into this category.

So what is a whirligig? Think motion. Think action. Then, consider our past as a farming culture. When we were mainly farmers, birds in the fields, pecking away at crops was a real problem. Farmers needed something to scare off the birds without having to constantly have someone on the lookout who could to run out into the fields and wildly flap their arms to get rid them. Enter the whirligig. It’s a type of interesting and creative folk contraption made by a farmer on his time off from the fields, to solve the bird problem. Many will call it a toy, because it brought much delight to children, as well as to adults, but this contraption was designed with a purpose.

Most of these interesting contraptions are made of wood, but they can be made of almost any material. They have moving pieces, and when the wind blows on them, it creates an action. They might remind you of windmills — folksy windmills.

I have seen figural whirligigs whose arms spin and the head moves. These are rather simple, but there are others depicting a person sawing a log or a woman churning butter. With these, you are beginning to touch upon the higher dollar whirligigs. They weren’t actually meant to scare off the birds, but rather to enjoy. These are the ones whose dollar value has escalated so much. The number of these pieces that have survived till now is limited. To the avid collector of these artistic creations, the hunt for them is a labor of love.

Unlike items like duck decoys, whose value escalates when it is signed by a particular artist, whirligigs don’t have to be signed for them to be valuable; the value is in the design.

Here is an example of some whirligig values: Two men turning a fan, articulated limbs, 13X18 inches, valued at $690. 20th Century 12” man wearing black jacket and blue trousers,$1380. Policeman, one arm and band leader the other arm, 20 inches, wooden, $3300. And, a man wearing a pealed hat, blue jacket, and red vest, 21 inches, $6325.

While there are reproductions, a close look will tell you the differences. Look for signs of new paint, modern screws, no patina, poor workmanship and materials not of the time.

There are so many items that have the potential to bring big money, but first we have to know what to look for. If you come across one of these during your hunt, I hope this blog will come to mind. And, if you’re successful in buying it, you might just keep a whirligig for a while before selling it just to amuse yourself.

Today’s Photo comes from Marquisauctions.com.

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Treasure Hunters:

You Find It.
We Buy & Sell It.
You Net 35%.

Partner Up with 31 Club on High Quality Treasures You Find. We Do the Rest!!

Sellers:

Sell Your High Quality Items for LOW FEES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.
Keep More of Your Money.

Buyers:

Buy High Quality Items for FAIR PRICES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.

Our Members are Newbies to Seasoned Professionals
Making More Money than they Thought Possible.

Daryle’s 220 Page Book,
31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles is FREE with your Membership.
Plus You Get FREE MENTORING with Daryle.
Join Today!

Or E-Mail us at info@31corp.com

Pardon Our Dust But Expanding is Dusty

The 31 Club is on the march, and with our new listing arm on Askart.com, members who list art work in the 31 Gallery will have the backing of AskArt’s 70,000 daily viewers coming into play. If you’ve been wondering if anything is happening, our tentacle on Ask Art should assure you there’s much work going on behind the scenes.

Our Wish List and Inventory Pages will be tested on Friday, and provided there no bugs, you will soon be able to do your own advertising and bookkeeping right on the 31 Club Members Site. If you haven’t gone onto the Members Only site yet, you might do so now and take a look at the 31 Club Expert Resource. If you decide an auction is the best venue for your particular item(s), our Listing of Specialty Auction Houses is an invaluable resource. Here, we’ve identified the best auction houses to sell an item of a particular category.

Presently, it’s taking some time to get all your listings posted. You can speed up this process by sending us photos sized 640 x 480, including photos of the markings, if any. If you don’t know of a way to re-size your photos, try downloading GIMP. It’s free and you can do a lot of nifty things with this program.

Your listing should include as many details as possible, like they ask for on eBay. Specifically, we need size, artist’s name, the material it’s made of, date or time period if you can determine it, and any markings on the piece. It’s very important to be accurate about its condition, and any damage needs to be specifically identified.

If your items is a painting, please indicate whether or not it’s signed, as well as the location of the signature. (Lower right, lower left, etc.) Is it oil on canvas, oil on board, watercolor, or ink drawing? Make sure this is indicated. Also include the size – framed and unframed.

Include information about provenance, (origins) if there is any. This can increase the value of your item.

Website hits are growing steadily each month, and this will result in more sales and purchases. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we appreciate our charter members who’ve supported while we build an amazing site. Nothing could have been accomplished without those of you who climbed on board with us on this new adventure at a time when the media was writing the epitaph on this business. I know we are the industry leaders when I see others trying to duplicate our efforts. They”ll find that hard to do, considering they don’t have the fantastic and loyal members of the 31 Club behind them.

A 31 Club First – A painting assigned by a member to the Associates Program and purchased by 31 Club will be going to auction in at an internationally known auction house for modern design and art, Wright Auctions, here in Chicago. When it sells, this club member will make 35% of its net sales price without having to had invested a dime.

By month’s end, we should be hitting all cylinders so keep watching and participating with us in the best club in the antique business.

We warmly welcome all suggestions that you feel would benefit our members, so don’t be shy about dropping us a note during are growth and construction phase. We’d love to hear from you.

*******

Treasure Hunters:

You Find It.
We Buy & Sell It.
You Net 35%.

Partner Up with 31 Club on High Quality Treasures You Find. We Do the Rest!!

Sellers:

Sell Your High Quality Items for LOW FEES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.
Keep More of Your Money.

Buyers:

Buy High Quality Items for FAIR PRICES
at 31 Gallery & Marketplace.

Our Members are Newbies to Seasoned Professionals
Making More Money than they Thought Possible.

Daryle’s 220 Page Book,
31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles is FREE with your Membership.
Plus You Get FREE MENTORING with Daryle.
Join Today!

Or E-Mail us at info@31corp.com

Antique Business: Historic Events and Value

To be in the Antique and Fine Arts Business, history must hold some interest for you; enough interest to search out things from the past. Perhaps this business takes you back to those times or the events when the items you’ve discovered were produced, and this is an important connection in your life at some level. When I discover a great painting, I feel as if I knew the artist, because I am holding his work in my hands. Have you ever had that feeling?

 

The news coverage of this presidential election and the current news coverage of Hurricane Gustav has made me think about other events in our history. People’s memories are often short, but to the Collector of Historical Items, these events are forward in their mind and close to their heart. Those of us in this business have a deep appreciation for history, and this appreciation can help fatten our wallets and help to provide for our families by connecting those items we’ve found with a collector who is seeking them.

So what might be the historical events collectors seek items from?

On my local front, The Chicago Fire caused many stories to be created about its source. Did Mrs. O’Leary’s cow really kick over the lantern that set the whole city ablaze? If you come across items associated with this fire, there are many collectors who’d have great interest in this. How about events in your region of the country?

The Great San Francisco Earthquake is a great part of U.S. Western history. Even today, all the stories about future quakes are compared to that one. I am sure there are great pieces from this era that can only be found by looking in every old trunk you run across.

What could be more vividly etched in our minds than 9/11 or the assassination of President Kennedy? I can’t count the times I’ve heard people reciting exactly where they were when these events happened.

Remember the Martin Luther King letters I told you about? They were found by a friend of mine in a box lot at a local auction house who holds auctions twice a month. He bought them for next to nothing. It wouldn’t surprise me, if today, these letters could bring over $10,000.

How about the original copy of the Declaration of Independence that was found behind a two dollar print? At one time, an auction house estimated this to be worth over $3.5 million. Since that time, this document has been sold at auction, however, I don’t remember the exact hammer price. You can be certain is was quite substantial.

In our hunt for items from history, we should always remember that most of these items aren’t discovered out in the open. Rather, they’re hidden in trunks, basements, attics, behind cheap framed prints, or in scrapbooks or shoeboxes just waiting for us to uncover them. Even if they are out in the open, most eyes can’t recognize them, because many people who see them don’t have the knowledge of history necessary to know their value.

The story of a box of several dozen love letters written by a sailor during the Second World War brought great interest to me recently. The article seemed to infer that these letters would have significant historical value, and therefore, dollar value. Why did this interest me? Because the day I saw that story, we had just purchased 147 letters from a Confederate Soldier written to his wife. If the first letters, written sixty years ago, were considered valuable, how about letters written 160 years ago during the Civil War – one of the most significant events in this country’s history?

Only so many Tiffany Glass pieces or Rookwood Pottery items were produced, but the number of items that have historical content are unlimited. This gives us a great opportunity each day to find one of these treasures, if we’ll only look.

I am sure that you can think of many more events from the past as well as the people associated with them, either nationally or local to your area. If these events mean something to you, they might also have importance to others. And they might hold some surprise value when a Collector wants to buy it from you. Who knows? A Historical Society or Museum might even be interested.

If you have found anything of historical significance, please send me an email describing it and I will share it with the rest of our members.

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It Pays to Buy Collectibles in Quantity When You Can

Daryle Lambert’s 31 Club Blog

31 Club Member struck gold with this Minton Oyster Plate and learned the value of buying in quantity.

A few weeks back, I wrote about a 31 Club member, Marsha, who I helped make decisions on buying a large McCoy Pottery collection she located from a local newspaper ad. The collection had about 100 pieces plus a few throw in items consisting of several Shawnee pieces, and one oyster plate.

The owner had not asked us anything about his collection and had decided to offer it to anyone who was interested at a price we could both be satisfied with. His goal was to get it out of his house as soon as he could.

Although the asking price for the lot was extremely reasonable at $500, we still asked if there was any room for a better price. (We followed the rules, anyway.) Since there had been no other interest, (we were the only response he got to his ad) he was receptive to reducing the price to $400.

Once we left this man’s house, I had asked Marsha how she thought we did. She didn’t really know, but hoped we did okay. Once we got into the car and drove off, I told Marsha that I believed there was just one piece we purchased in the lot that would pay for all of the pieces, and might even give her a profit above and beyond what she paid out. At first she looked at me like I was a nut case, then she asked, “Which one?”

“It’s not any of the McCoy pieces or even the Shawnee. But, that one oyster plate will probably bring you over $500,” I told her. Now, I didn’t have my book with me, but since I was almost certain this oyster plate was a Minton, I took a guess at the price. I could tell by her eyes that she wasn’t quite sure she trusted me on that. She got rather quite and I suspected she might be wondering what she just got herself into.

Marsha struggled a bit beginning with this program. While she has a great eye for quality, cashing in on her great buys was another story. If you recall from my previous Blog about Marsha, she had some basic office set up tasks to take care of before she could sell her found treasures, and this was holding her up. She needed a digital camera and had to learn how to use it. She needed to buy a new computer in order to even have the capacity to use the camera. Her computer was from the stone age. She’d never used eBay before, but, being the excellent student she is, it didn’t take long for her to catch on and soon listed her Minton Oyster Plate.

A bid of $250 for the plate finally gave her some hope. Soon someone bid $350, but then the listing sat with no activity up until close to the end of the auction. The real action started in the last 30 seconds, when it was bid up to $572. (Most of the bids on eBay today come within the last minute of the offering.) When you figure her cost was under $4, this selling price made for a pretty fair return on investment, wouldn’t you say? I don’t know about you, but I’m sure going to keep my eyes open for oyster plates.

I believe if Marsha had previously used eBay and already had a good feedback history, this plate could’ve brought even more money. You see, people are fearful of new listers who haven’t done business on eBay before, and will often not bid as high as they might for a lister with an established eBay record. Trust needs to be earned.

She has already begun selling her McCoy items, and several of them have brought over $20. And it’s all profit from here on down the line. I suspect those 100 plus McCoy items will keep Marsha very busy.

If you haven’t already taken a look into the expanded 31 Gallery & Marketplace, please do so. It will serve you well as an educational tool and a guide.

Stay tuned for more 31 Club Member’s Great Finds, How they Bought Them, How and Where they Sold Them.

Join Daryle Lambert’s 31 Club, today. Put a Turbo Charge on your Antique & Collectible Treasure Hunting Skills. Get FREE MENTORING. Learn Inside the Industry Secrets that help you increase your profits. Continue to Grow Your Money Buying and Selling Antiques, Fine Art, and Collectibles with Daryle’s Strategic Business Plan. Our Members are Newbies to Seasoned Dealers who are making more money than they thought possible.My 220 page book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles is FREE with your membership.

 

Antiques & Collectibles: Calendars & Paper Advertising

Daryle Lambert’s 31 Club:  

Antique & Collectible Treasure Hunter’s

Example of Maxfield Parrish’s Work

Sometimes we try too hard searching for antique and collectible vintage treasures when they might actually be right under our noses. At sales I attend, I watch people running to and fro, their eyes focused only on the pieces prominently exhibited to draw attention. The truth is, the items displayed in the most prominent places are the ones most likely to be overpriced. I have found more treasures tucked away in closets or left in the basement than I can shake a stick at.

$25,000 Worth of Collectible Paper Items Found in Dumpster After the Sale.

At a house or estate sale, very few of the buyers go searching for paper items. Usually, paper items are found in boxes or spread on the floor of the basement or garage. Often, this is where I’ll spend most time at a sale. Remember the dumpster diving story where I found $25,000 worth of paper items in a dumpster after everything in the house had been picked over? Among the valuable items I pulled out of the dumpster, after having been given permission to do so, were Winchester Rifle and Ammunition Posters. Right there in the dumpster!

If you know what’s a valuable paper collectible, you can cash in while others are fighting for overpriced items.

I found a Maxfield Parrish Calendar priced at $350 at a house sale. The owners agreed to sell it to me for $250, and even back then, I was able to sell it for over $1,500. Maxfield Parrish was a popular illustrator from the early 1900’s, during the Golden Age of Illustration. This period of time is noted as having excellence in book and magazine illustration, and Parrish was tops. Parrish had been a student of Howard Pyle, along with other top illustrators of the day; N.C. Wyeth, Frank Schoonover and Edwin Austin Abbey.

Parrish was commissioned to do work for popular magazines in the 1910’s and 1920’s such as “Life” and Heart’s Collier’s. His illustrations were made into posters and calendars, so it’s wise to become familiar with his work. Do a little research and capture his style in your mind, so when you see something that looks like one of his works, you’ll know to check it out.

Many of Parrish’s original prints, calendars and posters can still be found for very little money, in mint condition, and in their original shipping tubes, if the seller hasn’t taken the time to look into the tubes. They often don’t. Kovel’s Price Guide lists several Maxfield Parrish Calendars, some approaching $5,000.

The Right Advertising Calendars Can Be Valuable. Know What to Look For

Other types of Calendars are also quite valuable, and they don’t have to be large for you to return a fantastic profit. Small calendars with the right advertising can fetch over $2,500, even if they are as small as 4×8 inches, as did the Coca Cola calendar I found many years ago.

As a general rule, the most valuable pieces are dated before 1950, but there are exceptions. A Dr. Pepper piece from 1953 is listed at $412, but in today’s market I truly believe it can command a higher price. Age alone shouldn’t be the basis for valuing these items. There are many other calendars out there from the 1800’s still selling for under $100.

Sporting Calendars and Hunting Calendars are advertising pieces also highly sought after. Examples of these are hunting equipment calendars with guns and dogs in the scene, fishing equipment calendars or prints of fishing scenes will help fatten your wallet. Calendars with pictures by well known artists, like Parrish, will command top prices. Many of these will be from the 1920’s – 1950’s.

Soft Drink or Soap Calendars with beautiful graphics are a cinch to bring big bucks. So can Calendars advertising Ice Cream Shops or Drug Stores, Men’s Clothing Stores or Women’s Dress Shops. When I’m looking through boxes or closets, I’m looking for big dollars, while to most others, it appears I’m wasting my time.

Our 31 Club Member, Cecil, taught me the value of paper collectibles when he showed me Travel Posters worth up to $5,000. These, along with a Maxfield Parrish Calendar, were practically given to him. Thank you Cecil. I have now passed your knowledge on to others so it will help them, as you helped me.

Join with like-minded 31 Club Members and put a turbo charge on your antique & collectible treasure hunting skills. Get FREE Mentoring. Learn Inside the Industry Secrets. Learn to make high profits and continue to grow your money buying and selling antiques, fine art, and collectibles. 

My 220 page book, 31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles is FREE with your membership.

31 Steps to Your Millions in Antiques & Collectibles