Thursday, January 3, 2008

Daryle Lambert: Surprise Value in Sleeper Paintings -- Harvey Joiner

Just because the art world is on fire doesn't mean that every artist will have his work available for sale in the market. Why is this important to know?

Let's take Kentucky artist, Harvey Joiner for example. Though he was exceptionally skilled in portraiture, having painted the first five Indiana Governors and portraits of prominent people of the time, he became best known for his paintings of Cherokee Park in Louisville, Kentucky. He was born in 1852 and died 1932. His work wasn't appreciated until the last few years, and not many of his paintings have changed hands throughout the art world . Most of his paintings have stayed within the families they were painted for. If they were purchased, they were handed down through the families.

Because his paintings very seldom come on the market, his sales prices in the art guides have stayed very low. In fact, over the last ten years, you can find very few listings and prices of his work sold. If you look him up in the ASK ART guide, you will find 15 listings, and only two of these listings are over ten years old, and most of them are within the last two years.

Because of this, the prices for his paintings are way behind the market. In ASK ART his highest listing is $4,000, but I personally know that some of his paintings have brought over $10,000 when sold through private transactions. Do you think this information gives you the advantage when you spot a Joiner, knowing that if a person researched it, they could only find a value of $4,000 or less?

When you are studying painters, check to see when their last painting came up for auction. This might just give you the clue that you're searching for. If it has been quite a while since something has sold, you can take an educated guess that the value might have appreciated several times from that sale but not be shown by the guides.

What I find is that there seems to be works from a small group of painters the market continually sells over and over. In fact, as I check ASK ART, I often find the same painting has sold four or five times in the last ten years. The term "new to the market," often tossed around by the auction houses, to me means that no one knows what the true value will be when the painting is sold.

Let's look and see what we can learn from this. If you're considering making an offer on a painting, and the artist hasn't had a piece come to market for a while, take that as a plus, because more than likely it will be undervalued. Second, if it has been several years since the artist has had one of his paintings sold, you might find that they are selling at a huge premium in the private market compared to the values that are in the guides. An example of this is a Pauline Palmer painting sold privately by one of our 31 Club members for $120,000, yet the auction guides list Palmer's highest price gained at an auction around $50,000. Third, your study and knowledge can come into play because most people simply look at the auction record guides, then offer half of what the guide states. You might offer more than the guide shows.

One of the greatest benefits to being a member of the 31 Club is that you'll have access to all the information necessary to evaluate a painting. When you call us and e-mail the specifics of the piece, such as size, type of painting, artist's name, photos of the front and back, perhaps some detail shots, and a shot of the signature, we can give you an estimated value. We can even purchase the painting with you if you choose.

The main reason I now spend 75% of my time in the art field is because that is were the big money can be found. Just check the auction records in the trade paper. You'll see what I mean.

Have you taken out your subscriptions to the Maine Antique Digest, AntiqueWeek, and The Antique Trader? What are you waiting for? These are your guides to wealth. One poor or mediocre painting bought because you read an article in one of these papers can pay for all of them for the rest of your life.

Today's Photo is a detail from a portrait by Harvey Joiner, currently up for auction at Sohn's Auction House in Evansville, Indiana at this weekend's auction, beginning Friday.

If you're looking for the pathway to reach your goals with antiques, collectibles and fine art, the 31 Club can be the venue that will give you the nuts and bolts for successfully buying, selling and profiting in the 21st Century Marketplace. Join us today and rub shoulders with like-minded people.

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