1899 William Strang Woodblock Print
About seven years ago I was at an auction in South Dakota. I eyed this thing all day and I was hoping I'd get it. The crowd kind of thinned out at the end of the day, and I ended up getting the item.
How much did you pay for it?
$15? Why did you want it?
Well, I always like agricultural related things. I think it's a woodblock print, I believe.
The date, 1899. What have you done with it since you got it?
I've kept it rolled up (chuckling).
It's a great image, and it's a shame to keep this rolled up. But obviously the reason you keep it rolled up is because it's starting to flake apart. You're actually missing a little bit here and you have other places of flaking, so that's really a concern.
It is in fact a woodblock, you're absolutely right. It's huge. This is a woodblock that was made in nine different blocks. I mean there's no way you could carve a thing this big. So it's nine sheets. Each sheet would be about this kind of size, and he carved it, and then they printed it on separate sheets of paper, and then the papers were mounted on this linen. You can see the linen here. And it was mounted to that and then hung on this. It's by W.-- and that's William-- Strang, and it was done in 1899. It was actually commissioned from Strang by the Art for Schools Association. And it was an association, a British association, that provided prints, some that went into schools, but they also sold prints that were then used to raise money for schools. It is done in the Arts and Crafts style. Now, condition is an issue, obviously. And the reason you got it for $15, I think, is because most people looked at it and said, "Great image, but what am I going to do with that?" You can fix it up, it would be expensive, and then you would have a very valuable print once you fix it up. So really to determine what a reasonable value is, you subtract your cost of restoration from what it'd be worth when it's fixed up. So I think a dealer could sell this in a retail environment for about $1,500. And I'm basing that on the fact that it would probably cost you about $1,500 to fix it up. And when you fix it up, you would have a print that would be worth at least $3,000, possibly as much as $4,000. I mean one of the concerns is can you fill this in so it looks good and how stable it'd be, but I think you could make it look really nice.
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