1971 Salvador Dali Etching
We had purchased this in 1980 from a friend of ours who had a gallery in Palm Beach, Florida, actually. And I had it and went through a divorce in 1985, and this is what I was given as part of my settlement.
Do you know who it's by?
I sure do.
Tell me that.
Okay, and do you remember how much you bought it for?
I think we paid maybe $250 at that time.
Okay. You have a color etching by Dalí from the "Song of Songs of Solomon" series. And it's one of 12 different etchings he made to illustrate that portfolio, which appeared in 1971. The portfolio has 12 different images illustrating the text in it, and Dalí would have signed and numbered the portfolio on the last page, also known as the justification page. Typically, the individual prints were not signed by Dalí. And as you see down here, this has a sort of suspicious pencil signature. And I say sort of suspicious because they weren't supposed to be pencil signed. These were interleaved with text in the portfolio. You also have an even more suspicious "E.A." down here in the lower left in pencil, and that is a French abbreviation for approved artiste. Just another way of saying artist proof. And that's also a huge red flag when it comes to the world of Dalí prints. The later in his career, being from the mid-'70s onward, it's assumed that virtually no prints that are "by Dalí " are actually signed by him. Now, that being said, yours is an earlier print. It's from 1971. It's more or less before the problematic era in Dalí’s career when a lot of copies were coming out. So that's a good thing. And I want to put you at ease right here and now...
...and tell you that there's nothing wrong at all with this print. And I would say it's 100% authentic, okay? It's an etching, just as it should be. The coloring is stenciled on, as it should be. And you even have the addition of this sort of gold dust, and that's just not the sort of thing you would see on a forged print in the Dalí universe, if you will. So I like the fact that the print, to me, is 100% original. Now, what I don't like: I'm fairly convinced, because this appeared originally unsigned in a portfolio, that that signature got added later by somebody who was trying to increase its value when they were selling it. What they didn't know is by putting that signature on there, is that they're actually decreasing its value because it opens up this specter of doubt. So anybody who's cognizant with Dalí prints would see this and say, "Oh, but it's not supposed to be signed, so what's going on here? It must be fake." So if I put this up at auction, with that signature on it, it could fall flat and maybe make $100, maybe make $200, whereas it really does have much more value than that. So I'm going to suggest something revolutionary that you normally do not hear specialists say. I would go out on a limb and say what you should do is have a conservator restore this and very carefully remove that signature, and clean the sheet up a little bit. And you would have what is a 100% authentic etching from the "Song of Solomon" suite. And that way, at auction, I would estimate this at around $1,000 to $1,500.
Oh, wow. Okay.
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.