Four Wilmarth Sun Valley Ski Maquettes
Appraised Value: $10,000 - $15,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:23)
Prints & Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: Well, actually I put an ad in the newspaper to buy some airbrush equipment, and a lady called me and said she had some airbrush equipment because her husband used to be an artist. He had since passed away. And so I went over to look at the airbrush equipment and while I was there, she started showing me some of his work. I bought several pieces from her, including this stuff, but I was not sure that this was... he was the artist, or whether somebody else was the artist.
APPRAISER: And what this artist's name?
GUEST: His name was J.C. Hill.
APPRAISER: To the best of my knowledge, these works are not by J.C. Hill. They're by somebody else. They're by somebody whose name appears on the back of the posters-- a gentleman by the name of Wilmarth. And we actually don't know anything else about him except for his last name. But let me give you a little bit of background on these posters. I don't know if you know about Sun Valley. Sun Valley was a resort created by the Union Pacific Railroad specifically to create more rail traffic to the West Coast. The resort opened up in 1936, and it relied very heavily on advertising to bring people out there. Now, you told me that you've seen one of these posters before.
GUEST: Yeah, I've done some research on the Internet and actually saw a poster of this original piece here.
APPRAISER: I should make that clear. These are not, in fact, posters. They are what we call maquettes. They are the original artwork from which the posters were made. The actual posters would have been larger than this. So, these were photographed and enlarged into the posters. Now when you saw this poster online, how much was it selling for?
GUEST: I think the poster was around $800.
APPRAISER: It was around $800. So Brock, how much did you pay for these... these maquettes that are here?
GUEST: Uh, about $200.
APPRAISER: About $200 for these four, so about $50 apiece.
APPRAISER: Well, what I can tell you is that in the last four or five years, skiing posters have achieved an extraordinary amount of popularity at public auction, and have begun to reach prices that are truly breathtaking. And specifically, at auction in America, American ski resorts sell very well. People who live in the resorts want the work on their walls, Sun Valley being one of those resorts. I have sold this poster before at auction for as much as $2,600.
GUEST: You're kidding me. Oh, God.
APPRAISER: No, that's the price of the poster, but here's the catch. For some reason, the original art for posters tends to sell for less than the posters themselves. Now, what I can tell you is this image here and the image next to yourself and this image here, I have never actually seen as posters, so this is the first time I'm seeing these images. It is my belief that as posters, they would sell in the $4,000 to $6,000 range. Okay? But as the original artwork, I feel confident giving you what I think is a conservative estimate for the four, at $10,000 to $15,000.
GUEST: For the... for the four? The whole thing?
APPRAISER: For the four, for the group. And the beauty about auction is, with the popularity of ski posters, that price could go even higher.
GUEST: You know what I just did? I just put an ad in the newspaper, in Sun Valley-- classified ad-- to sell this stuff for $1,000.
APPRAISER: Pull that ad!
GUEST: Oh, man.
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