American Art Deco Poster & Maquettes, ca. 1920

Value (2012) | $3,800 Auction$5,650 Auction
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GUEST:
About 1979 I was volunteering at Alamance County Historic Museum, and the director heard about this estate sale, so we went to the sale, and we saw these posters. And I'm an artist, so I just love seeing, you know, beautiful art. And we both purchased.

APPRAISER:
And how much did you pay for them?

GUEST:
They were about eight dollars apiece. I don't remember because it's so long ago.

APPRAISER:
Roughly eight dollars apiece.

GUEST:
Yeah, I don't think it was more than ten.

APPRAISER:
So we're looking here at about $32 worth of purchases. Probably—

GUEST:
Maybe $40 at the top.

APPRAISER:
They're beautiful, and I can see why you were attracted to them. Did you think that you were buying posters?

GUEST:
You know, I knew they weren't posters because they weren't on paper. I think I thought they were put in lobbies of theaters or something.

APPRAISER:
Yeah, these are in fact the maquettes for posters. These are the original artwork that was done from which posters would have been created. Two of these are maquettes for posters. One of them is an actual poster itself. Now, the two closest to me are gouache paint, and they've been done by paint. And you can see the brushstrokes throughout. The image closest to you, for RCA, that's actually a screen print signed by C.E. Millard, who was known for his great screen print work. Now, the piece in the middle, which is not signed, I'm almost certain is also his work, because it bears all the characteristics, all of the color, all of the stylization with the flowers, with the lips. But Millard did a lot of work for RCA, he did a lot of work for the record companies all in the 1920s and '30s. There is a gentleman now working on a book of his work. So within the next few years, as the first-ever book on his work comes out, we can only expect his value to rise. Now, the image next to me, I'm very intrigued by, and it's absolutely captivating with the circle, with the dancer, with the lines, great imagery. The artist, Aubrey Watson, completely unknown.

GUEST:
I couldn't find him.

APPRAISER:
Would you care to hazard a guess as to what these pieces might be worth today?

GUEST:
I have no idea.

APPRAISER:
My idea of value now, at auction, for this piece here which is by... signed, but by an unknown, I would say between $700 and $1,000 at auction.

GUEST:
You're kidding.

APPRAISER:
Just for this one. The piece in the middle, which is really bright and colorful, I did a little research. I can't find anything out about the event itself, about Sylvie Chester. But the piece is such a great decorative image, I would say at auction between $1,000 and $1,500. And the image closest to you, which is signed by Millard, but more importantly the subject matter... I mean this is sports, this is early American football. I showed it to my colleagues at the sports table. They had never seen it before. So this one, as a sporting image, I think a conservative auction estimate on that would be between $2,000 and $3,000.

GUEST:
That is amazing. Just...

APPRAISER:
So a grand total of between $3,700 and $5,500 for the pieces that are here.

GUEST:
That is amazing. Well, thank you so much.

APPRAISER:
And I should just add, the little piece on the bottom that was done by the man whose house it was-- very sweet, very nice-- that one might actually be worth $100, maybe $150.

GUEST:
Well, thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Swann Auction Galleries
New York, New York
Appraised value (2012)
$3,800 Auction$5,650 Auction
Event
Myrtle Beach, SC (June 23, 2012)
Period
20th Century
Material
Gouache, Paper

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