June 22, 2018
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Copies of photos just can’t beat originals on price

Courtesy of www.doylenewyork.com | Tribune Media Services
Courtesy of www.doylenewyork.com | Tribune Media Services
Artist Shepard Fairey created the decoupaged Vespa scooter that sold for $12,500 in a recent auction of street art at Doyle New York.
By Danielle Arnet, Tribune Media ServicesAimee Thibodeau:9602107

Q: I bought this framed photo of John Lennon long ago at a yard sale. The man who sold it told me said it was a lithograph. The photo is marked, “1940-1980 Richard Avedon.” Is it worth more than the $5 I paid for it?

A: Richard Avedon was a famous fashion and art photographer whose originals now bring serious money at auction. From the mark, it’s clear that he took the original photo of Lennon, but this is a copy. The date range indicates copyright.

Value is whatever a buyer is willing to pay. Depending on condition and type of frame, you might get more than you paid for the large photo. It is not a litho.

Q: I’ve decided to give some ceramics, if they have value, to my grandchildren. Are these two pieces worth anything?

A: Forgive my frank advice, but I think you’re going about giving in the wrong way.

If the ceramic pieces come from you and the grandkids associate them with you, they have sentimental value. That’s precious and something the grands cannot buy.

I can’t tell you how many readers write about objects they hold dear because they were given by a family member. Perhaps they saw their object in Aunt Blanche’s or Grandma’s house, or it’s something that triggers good memories.

Don’t worry about intrinsic value. Give when and what it pleases you to give.

As for photos sent, one ceramic is a decorative European-made liquor decanter. A ewer with an interesting handle and applied gold may have moderate value. The bottom mark (not provided) will tell the tale.

Q: Any info on my small Eddy Arnold plastic guitar? It was bought as a souvenir around the early 1950s.

A: Country music singer Richard Edward “Eddy” Arnold performed for six decades before his death in 2008. Wildly popular, he inspired hundreds (if not more) of toys and concert souvenirs during that span.

I suspect that the reader’s mini guitar bearing Arnold’s photo and signature is one of those concert mementoes.

The guitar was not a distributed toy, as there are no make or sales records for the model. I’m thinking that value would be whatever an Arnold fan will pay. I’d post it on eBay at a price you can live with and see what happens.

Shortly after Arnold’s death, a single plastic Eddy Arnold guitar pick sold for $20.60.

Q: What can you tell me about my mid-19th century family heirloom vase and silver spoons?

A: From images sent, I suspect that the pottery vase is a hand painted souvenir from abroad. The bottom signature indicates that it was painted by Melecio. Looking at the decoration style, perhaps the vase was made in Mexico or another Latin country.

The engraved spoons need to be seen by someone to determine if they are coin silver. Some collectors prefer old coin silver to sterling. Ask a local antiques seller you trust who knows early flatware.


Sally Schwartz and Danny Alias of the vintage lifestyle blog whendannymetsally.com have compiled a list of trend predictions for 2013. Here’s what they see: Start watching for cowboy Gangnam style, anything cat-themed, and specific vintage vinyl records and record players. Collectors will also want vintage optics, such as telescopes, kaleidoscopes and the like. Add certain 1960s-’80s men’s fashions (Pendleton) and industrial eyewear, such as goggles. To see the entire list and details, check the site.

Auction Action:

Move over, taggers and graffiti artists: There’s a new category in collecting. Called street art, the genre celebrates works by young artists using found objects.

Starting last year, auction houses held sales dedicated to the growing genre. When Doyle New York held its inaugural street art auction, “Untitled 2004,” a decoupage Vespa ET2 scooter by Shepard Fairey, sold for $12,500. Famous for his “Hope” poster made for Obama’s 2008 campaign and his “Andre the Giant has a Posse” stickers, Fairey was born in 1970.

Today, his original of “Hope” hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Fairey and his works have moved from street art to fine art.

Collector Quiz

Q: The Airstream trailer is an iconic piece of travel history. Once seen, the streamline Deco travel trailer of shiny silver aluminum is never forgotten. Who founded Airstream, and when?

A: Wally Byam created Airstream in the early 1930s. Source: “Airstream Memories” by John Brunkowski and Michael Closen (Schiffer, $24.99). All about collectibles and memorabilia related to the trailers. Includes postcards, ads, graphics, travel patches and the like.

Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send email to smartcollector@comcast.net or write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.


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