Winsor McCay Original Art, ca. 1908
My father was born in 1893 in New York City, and he developed some talent in sketching. He followed the funny papers that were available to him as a kid. And as he got a little older, he asked somebody, either at the newspaper or from the artist himself, for some examples of how the pen and ink was put together. And so he was given three of these-- I don't know what you call them-- and one of them is not here, but it's about the same size as this.
Well, what you have here are two examples of Winsor McCay's works of art. Winsor McCay was one of the foremost cartoonists and illustrators in the world, also one of the first people ever to do animation when he did a series called, Gertie the Dinosaur. Just a phenomenal, groundbreaking event. If you look at the bottom part on the Rarebit Fiend, it's signed "Silas." It's not signed "Winsor McCay."
McCay was contracted with the New York Herald to do Little Nemo in Slumberland. He then went to the Evening Telegram to do Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, and the editor of the Herald insisted that he not use his name on that piece, so he signed them all "Silas." They're framed beautifully, but more importantly, they're clean, there's no foxing, there's no damage. The condition is just incredible. The other thing that's absolutely amazing is that for all intents and purposes, these have been in your possession since... Since they were drawn. Since they were drawn, basically right after that. So these have never been seen on the market. In terms of value, that increases the value dramatically. Now, a really nice Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, which is that cartoon over there-- basically portrays a kid who has horrible nightmares-- on today's market, I would estimate it at auction at $5,000 to $8,000 on that one.
The Little Nemo in Slumberland is just spectacular. This is his premier cartoon. You have most of the main characters that he was very well known for. You have the Imp, you have Flip, and that's another big factor when people look at buying cartoon art, is that they want to see that the main characters are present. This has it all. At auction, I would put a fairly conservative estimate at $20,000 to $30,000. So the two pieces you have here combined are roughly $25,000 to $38,000 on a high estimate. And I wouldn't be surprised to see them bring every bit of that because the comic market and the comic art market is still an extremely hot market. When I saw it, I honestly... you know, I usually don't say this, but it really kind of knocked my socks off, because just when you think you're not going to see a new one come on the market... Something comes along.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love