Appraisal Video: (3:03)
Prints & Posters
The Philadelphia Print Shop West
GUEST: My sister and I, a month ago, were cleaning out our attic. And when my parents bought the house in 1949, the people that owned it before left everything in the attic that they didn't want, and my parents left it there, so we cleaned it out-- we opened a trunk.
APPRAISER: So you didn't know this was there?
APPRAISER: Well, this is a portfolio of prints by A.B. Frost, and A.B. Frost is one of the great American sporting artists of the end of the 19th century. At that time, there were a number of sporting artists, and they were having trouble making money as artists, and they got the idea that if they sold portfolios of their prints, they could make some more money. So they got into cahoots with some of the publishers-- in this case, Scribner's-- and in 1896, they started issuing this portfolio. And this is the cover of the portfolio we'll bring up here, and what they did was they issued these things in parts, and this is part one. Each part had a cover like this, and if we fold this down here, we can see it had text and a print. There were actually two prints and text in each part.
APPRAISER: And this had six parts, so there were 12 prints altogether. Now you brought in... there are only six of the 12 here, and you can see that we have the other prints here. Now, these are done by chromolithography, which was a process where each color was printed from a separate stone. Chromolithography was developed so that it reproduced the feeling of their watercolors. If you had a hand-colored lithograph, it wouldn't have the same feeling as a watercolor, and Frost was very concerned. He wanted to make money, surely, but he wanted his art to get out to the people. The people were very interested in this, and people would buy these portfolios. They would buy them to frame the prints, and that's probably why you only have six of the 12. It's because somebody who had them took them out to frame them, and you can see you have the copyright date down here, 1896, and you can see there's a signature, but when you'd frame them, you'd frame them so you only showed the print, and it would look like a watercolor. People are often fooled by them because they're really very, very good quality. They were fairly pricey even when they were issued. These were actually intended to be in the wealthy homes, for people in their hunting lodges to put up in a nice frame. Now, you weren't that impressed by these when you came in.
GUEST: I'm not into hunting, but I thought that they were... nice. (laughs)
APPRAISER: Well, I think they're wonderful. A.B. Frost is such an important artist, and this is one of the only ways to get A.B. Frost's original artwork, that he was involved in that is an accurate facsimile of his watercolors. They're very, very collectible. As a complete portfolio, if it had all 12, it would be a little bit more valuable, but they sell very well as separate prints for people to do what they were intended to-- to frame them. We sell these in our shop for between $1,500 and $1,800 apiece.
GUEST: (no voice)
APPRAISER: Each one. Now... so you have six of them, so you can get a sense... Now, obviously, if you went to sell them, you may not get a retail value for them, but they're just wonderful. They are a way for you to have A.B. Frost's work in your home. That's a nice treasure in the attic, isn't it?
GUEST: Thank you, sir, very much.
APPRAISER: Well, thank you.