Janet & Sherry the auction hunters: Day 1
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    Auction Finds

    Janet & Sherry the auction hunters: Day 5

    My auction buddy Janet and I picked out five items at auction recently to see how well we’d do against some of the TV auction shows in choosing valuable items.

    Each day this week, I’m blogging about each set of items, four so far: a 19th-century gilt Eagle she selected and a Hartmann suitcase for me, a set of 1930s NJ license plates for her, an Edison Cylinder Phonograph for me, a Lionel hobo train set for both of us, and a box of ruby and Amberina glassware for Janet and a set of 11 Haviland Limoges Feu de Four soup plates for me.

    Here are our fifth and final set of choices:

    brass horse

    A lovely brass horse in perfect stride.

    Janet’s pick

    Brass horse statue

    “People like horses,” Janet said, explaining why she chose it. This one was “big and flashy.” The unmarked horse in stride was striking there on the top shelf of a table at the auction house. Janet may have been right; next to it were two mounted brass horse heads.

    While I could find nothing on collectors of brass horses, I did learn that some folks do collect horse brass. These are ornaments used to  decorate horse gear.

    Brass horses, though, were plentiful on the web and the prices were all over the place. On eBay, most ranged from $3 to $120, but I did find a few unique ones selling for close to $1,000. This apparently is the type of item that requires the right buyer, because the choice is purely subjective.

    Estimated value: $3 to more than $100

    charles bibb print

    "Enlightenment (1996)" by African American artist Charles Bibbs.

    Sherry’s pick

    Charles Bibbs’ “Enlightenment” limited-edition print

    I’ve known the works of African American artist Charles Bibbs for a number of years, and he’s a very popular artist. His images of African Americans are larger than life, showing their strength through the strong musculature lines of his drawings.

    Bibbs became a full-time artist in 1991 after spending about 25 years in management positions, according to his bio. He produces original artwork, which is collected by both entertainers and business people, and affordable open-edition, limited edition and giclee prints for the rest of us.

    “My most important goal is to make profound aesthetic statements that are ethnically rooted, and at the same time, arouse spiritual emotions within us,” he wrote on his website.

    The print at auction was practically hidden away down a dim aisle of furniture, propped against a dresser with other disparate prints. It could easily have been missed until it came up for auction.

    It was titled “Enlightenment” and the original was painted in 1994 as a poster to commemorate the UNCF (United Negro College Fund). It was apparently published as a limited-edition print in 1996.

    The artist’s website listed this version of Enlightenment as sold out of his inventory. It was published in an edition of 1,500 that originally sold for $150. The current price – if the print were available – was set at $455 on the price list. It can now only be bought on the secondary market at a gallery, auction house or from a private collector.

    A printers proof of the poster was selling on Bibbs’ website for $465, and a giclee of the piece for $880. Here’s a definition of giclee and limited edition prints, and an open edition.

    On eBay, a Bibbs “Power and Glory” poster from 1993 sold for $175, but most of the limited-edition prints did not sell. The poster was selling on the artist’s website for $1,295.

    Estimated Price: $455 and up.


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