Readers ask about numbers book, black doll & Massey prints
Fridays at Auction Finds is readers’ questions day. I try to guide readers to resources for them to determine the value of the items that they own. I’m not able to appraise their treasures, but I can do some preliminary research to get them started. So, these are market values based on prices I find on the web, not appraisal for insurance purposes that I suggest for items that have been determined to be of great value.
This week’s questions are about the “H.P. Dream Book” of numbers, a black Cherisse doll by Olmec and Cal Massey prints.
Hey, can’t anyone (at) least take pictures of (the) pages and post so we can save it digital. Just an idea.
The reader was referring to “The H.P. Dream Book” of numbers that I wrote about three years ago. The book was published in 1927 by Prof. Uriah Konje, an alias for Herbert Gladstone Parris, who published several numbers books in White Plains, NY.
Several readers have asked to buy my book or inquired about where they could find one. Mine isn’t for sale, but I directed them to websites that sell dream books for around $5 or less. A friend mentioned that you can find them in some corner stores. I suspect that it depends on where you live.
My book has 92 fragile pages that would only be damaged even more by scanning and digitizing them. Numbers books are so inexpensive that it would be easier to just buy a copy.
Besides, the dream book – like many others – is under copyright and can’t be reprinted without permission.
I just came into a doll collection of about 150 dolls after my aunt died, all still in purchased boxes. 1 says Dolls by Olmec 18″ Cherisse Toddler Doll, soft filled body, vinyl arms and legs, sleeping eyes, rooted hair. I can’t find information on it anywhere.
I could find little myself about Olmec’s Cherisse doll. I found several dolls from 1989 and 1991 for sale on the web, indicating to me that they were probably first made around that time. Olmec was an African American doll company formed in 1985 by Yla Eason. It is no longer in operation.
I have the whole collection of prints (Hell Fighters, Henson and Paul Cuffee, George Washington Carver, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Benjamin Banneker, Daniel Hale Williams, M.D., William C. Handy, Frederick Douglass, Matthew Alexander Henson, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All are signed by Paul Massey. I have had these prints for forty years, and I would like to know what they are worth.
The reader was referring to prints by artist Cal (not Paul) Massey. I bought 12 of them at auction two years ago, and some had official U.S. postage stamps of the person in the drawing. The prints were first sold as a set in 1972, and four years later during the Bicentennial, they were sold with stamps.
The prints along with silver medals were commissioned by the American Negro Commemorative Society, founded in 1968 by George A. Beach of Philadelphia to honor the accomplishments of famous African Americans.
Unfortunately, I have no quick answer to your question, but I can direct you to some resources for research. I recently wrote a blog post about how to determine the value of three Massey prints that were found in a storage locker. The owner listed the colored prints on eBay for $75 but they did not sell.
To find an answer, you’ll have to do some research:
Try Googling to see if you can find them sold on a retail site.
Try eBay to see if you can find them sold.
Try a gallery near you that sells Cal Massey’s prints or works by African Americans to see if someone there can give you a ball-park estimate.
I wrote a blog post offering tips for anyone trying to to determine the value of their items.
These prints were created to accompany commemorative stamps and may not be worth much. Lots of commemorative stamps are printed all the time, and most have little value.