David Roberts Sphinx Lithograph, ca. 1849
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (3:08)
Folk Art, Prints & Posters
The Philadelphia Print Shop
GUEST: I picked it up in a going-out-of-business sale for a frame shop. And I didn't really think much about it. I liked the scene. I had been to Egypt and seen the Sphinx, but I noticed, well, it's not excavated, and I just picked it up, I liked it, for 50 bucks.
GUEST: When I brought it home and started to look more closely into the artist and started to see that, wow, he was one of the first artists that... first lithographs, is what I was finding. I said, "Maybe I better not do anything until I find out more about the piece." So that's why I'm here with you today.
APPRAISER: Well, David Roberts was a British landscape artist, traveled all over the world, but is most famous for what he did in Egypt and in the Middle East. He did Syria, he did the Holy Land, as well as Egypt. He did a lot of work with architecture, and architects love his works. He did pictures of streets in downtown Cairo, for instance. And this is from the folio edition of David Roberts' book on Egypt. And the prints...
GUEST: Folio edition meaning...
APPRAISER: Folio is the size.
APPRAISER: It's a full-size picture. This is a standard sheet for a large print in England at the time. The only thing bigger would have been something like elephant folio, which is huge, and there were prints made, but this is lovely. And you've got David Roberts' name right here, along with the lithographer, Day and Haghe. Here's the copyright notice and so on. Notice they're talking about Giza. They don't even use the term "sphinx" here. It's a wonderful piece. Now, these were printed by lithography.
APPRAISER: And they were printed in black and white. And many of them were marketed in black and white, but others were hand-colored with watercolors. And this is one that was hand-colored in watercolor.
GUEST: It was hand-colored, oh!
APPRAISER: Now, these prints were meant to be put into a book and put into a series. And if you go up here and you look along the top, you can see that there's sort of a hinge on here. That hinge is part of what was once a book. It was once framed before, because you can see right along here there's sort of a stain. This is the most famous David Roberts print that was ever done.
GUEST: Oh, it is?
APPRAISER: It's probably the most in demand.
GUEST: I'm very glad to hear that. (laughs)
APPRAISER: Any idea of the value?
GUEST: I just saw that it was, hopefully, going to be more than $50. (both laughing)
APPRAISER: Good guess. Okay. Some of the smaller David Roberts prints sell for $150, $250, but if this is in a retail gallery, this is going to bring between $4,000 and $5,000.
GUEST: Wow, wow.
APPRAISER: It's that much difference.
GUEST: Nice. That is quite a bit more than 50.
APPRAISER: It could go, at an auction, for even more. I mean, it might go less, of course, you know. There's a range. But it's an absolutely fine print.
GUEST: That was a good little find, then.
APPRAISER: You did very well.
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