Every bargain hunter looks for that piece of art that will someday put them on The Antiques Roadshow, preferably getting an appraisal for a “find” that makes you jump up and down with joy, rather than the ones that unfortunately discovered as over-valued and over-paid. Art is especially tricky, unless you are an art expert and even then there are fields of expertise within the various forms of art and periods. However, this does not stop looking and going to those estate sales, thrift stores, flea markets, rummage sales, auctions and, online auctions.
Online auctions are especially risky since the other bargain hunting forms allow you to inspect the item in-person to see if it is an original, reproduction, or fake. Some easy ways of identifying an original from a fake among drawings or prints is to look for raised lines from ink such as in an ink and pen drawing, an etching, or a wood block print. Many famous prints can be reproduced by a computer and printer; however, you will be able to tell that with closer observation–you will see the pixels or dots, a clear indication that the print was reproduced on a computer. Again, online auctions prevent such verification unless the entity or person putting the piece of art up for bid describes it in detail, and then again, trust comes into play. Additionally, you can see if the print has an artist signature or any documentation or stamps, provenance, as to its’ authenticity. Given all that, sometimes it is worth the risk if the item is within your means, and you have done as much research as possible. The current bid will determine the extent of your research and whether or not you will want or need to seek the advice of an expert. There are blogs that can assist you in finding answers on value, one is Antiques and The Arts Online a forum for bloggers. However, if the item is not terribly expensive, you just may want to take a chance–sometimes hunches, preferably educated hunches pay off.
Recently, two drawings were put up for bid at an online auction site. They were listed as two antique etchings, one of Shakespeare’s house and one of Ann Hathaway’s Cottage signed by C. Dickens. The description was as follows:
1st etching is titled: Shakespeare House and 2nd etching is titled: Ann Hathaway’s Cottage. Both are titled and signed below the art piece above the matting. The sticker on the back indicated these are original etching by C. Dickens. There is no pixilation and when looking closely the lines appear to be raised. They were received in a wooden frame with glass over it. The frame measures: 9 ½” x 12 ½” and the art itself measures: 5 ¼” x 3 ½”. The matting has yellowed, the frames finish is worn, the paper backing on both frames are torn and appear to be delicate.
The starting bid was $5.99. Take a look at these etchings, what would you bid for two etchings possibly by Charles Dickens?
Check Back This Week at this post to see what The Final Bid was and whether it was a Deal Or No Deal.
Final Bid: The winning bid was $601.00 plus $40.44 sh, 41 online bids at shopgoodwill.com. It is difficult to determine whether or not this is a deal since an object such as this should be inspected in person; however, having said that with a cursory investigation online although Charles Dickens was not known as an artist, he did direct artists and had input into the drawings for his serial novels. It is up to the individual to determine if the amount risked here was justified .