1781 George Washington Lifetime Print
It's been in my grandma's house for a while. It was given to her by her grandaunt and uncle. It was given to them as a wedding gift from his father.
Well, it's something I'm very familiar with. Most of the ones I have are from the 19th century. Where this is different is this is a lifetime image of George Washington, and that's what makes it special. Lifetime images of George Washington are what the collector really wants. This is one of the most interesting one of them. The artist was a man named John Trumbull, and he was an American who was actually involved in the American Revolution and knew George Washington personally. And if you look down here, you can see his name, "Painted by J. Trumbull, Esquire, of Connecticut, 1780." He painted it in London. He wanted to publicize his art and George Washington, so he decided to have a print made of it, and he hired the best printmaker of the day, a guy named Valentine Green, and his name is down here, and it says "Engraved by V. Green, mezzotinter and engraver to His Majesty," and that's the King of England, so really top man. And it was published in London in 1781, and you can see that information down here. January 15, 1781. Now, that's before the treaty was signed that ended the American Revolution. So it's interesting: An American goes over, publishes a portrait of his hero and sells it in England to the English. The English, of course, were fascinated. Washington was becoming a legendary figure, even then. This portrait, which is a very famous portrait of him, was sold in London, also came over to the United States and sold throughout Europe, and people copied it all the time, so it's really quite an exciting and valuable portrait. You're interested in the history. I told you about the history. I'm also sure you would like to know its value.
We always play the game: Do you have any idea what it might be worth?
No idea whatsoever.
Well, most of the portraits we have, the 19th- century ones, sell for under $1,000. Lifetime portraits, and especially one of this quality, even though the condition isn't good-- and as we talked about the condition, we have a couple of tears up here and a spot... It's a little dark, and that kind of thing, but most of that can be fixed. Desirable... the history, all of that makes it... If I had it in my shop and I fixed it up, I'd probably put about $4,500 on it.
Which is because it's lifetime, because of the connection with John Trumbull, the great mezzotinter, and its whole history, it's really just a terrific image of George Washington.
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