Searching for J.N. Wilson’s stereoview cards
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    Auction Finds

    Readers ask about selling Lois Jones painting & Wilson stereoview card

    Friday at Auction Finds is readers’ questions day. I try to guide readers to resources to help them determine the value of their items. 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.

    Today’s questions are about selling a Lois Mailou Jones painting and a J.N. Wilson stereoview card.

    Question:

    I have a 1965 watercolor original by Mrs. Lois Mailou Jones that I’d be very interested in getting priced or possibly selling. Please contact me for pictures and further information.

    Lois Mailou Jones painting

    This 1940 painting by Lois Mailou Jones, titled “Indian Shops, Gay Head, Massachusetts,” was in a Washington exhibit.

    Answer:

    The reader had come across a blog post I wrote several years ago about an exhibit of works by Lois Mailou Jones at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. The exhibit was a wonderful presentation of the many stages of her artistic life, and the blog post was one of several that I’ve written about her. She’s one of my favorite artists.

    I suggest that the reader contact Swann Auction Galleries in New York about selling it. This auction house has become the go-to place for the sale of African American art.  There are a number of other national auction houses that sell African American art, including Freeman’s in Philadelphia, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in New York, along with the traditional Sotheby’s.

    These are auction houses with national and international reputations, and each has a website and experts whom you can tap into. You can find other auction houses and galleries near you via auctionzip.com.

    I’d also suggest you do some preliminary work on sales of her paintings by Googling Jones’ name. Several  have been sold at auction, and prices vary depending on the artwork and who wants it at a given time. Those sale prices should give you some idea of the value of her works.

    J.N. Wilson's Bonaventure Cemetery stereoview card

    J.N. Wilson’s stereoview card of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, circa 1865. Photo from New York Public Library website.

    Question:

    I have a J.N. Wilson card of 21 Bull Street in Savannah. I was wondering its worth and who may purchase it.

    Answer:

    The reader was referring to J.N. (Jerome Nelson) Wilson, a 19th-century Savannah photographer who made stereoview cards of the city and other areas of the South. I had written several blog posts about Wilson, including one showing two African American boys that became controversial. I also interviewed one of his great-granddaughters and wrote about it.

    Stereoview cards were basically photographs glued to hard cardboard that were viewed through a stereoscope. They were very popular during the late 19th and early 20th century, and included photographs of all kinds of scenes and lands.

    The 21 Bull Street in Savannah on the reader’s card was Wilson’s studio, so I’m not sure what the image was on the card.

    I’d suggest that the reader use eBay as a resource to determine the card’s value and to sell it. Search eBay’s “Completed Listings” to get an idea of how much buyers are willing to pay for Wilson’s cards and sell yours for about the same price. You may or may not find a card with the same image as yours, so base your selling price on the popularity of particular images.

    Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote on how to determine the value of your items.

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