What are Aquatic Lithographs worth?

newdawn1895March 7, 2010

These are pictures I have on my computer, so they are not that good or clear. Do ya'll remember when fish prints and aquatic prints were everywhere? Well, I bought these probably almost twenty years ago. The frog lithographs I paid $200.00 each from Scotts Antique Mall in Atlanta and there quite old. The fish lithograph I bought in Nashville and they said it was done in 1836.

I know these type of prints are not all that expensive and are not rare. You see more of the ferns and botanical prints everywhere, which I like. But these are untique, I think.

Hope you can see them and please excuse the dust.


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The mid nineteenth century was the heyday of books cataloging things....frogs, fish, flowers ferns trees nuts you name it. It was the period when Audubon did his bird books.
The worth of things like that is in who the artist is.
There are lots of botanical and and sea life prints on eBay right now....with very little bid....like $5 to $10.
I think you got taken for $200....of course the framing is worth $50 or more....
What are they worth? What you can get someone to pay....unless someone "important" did the drawings.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 10:15AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I love the frogs! I would try asking at an old print shop. I wouldn't take them in, but I would ask if they had ever come across any and if so, how much could you expect to pay. There is a wonderul print shop in Philadelphia if you are ever up there. I am adding the link that will take you to their prints-check the prices-much more than you paid.

Here is a link that might be useful: prints

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 4:02PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Meant to say some are way more than you paid. A lot are about what you paid and some much less. Worth checking out anyway.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 4:07PM
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Jane, Look at the upper right hand corner of the 2 top prints. There is a name, I think it is of the person who did the originals. On my prints the name of print company is at bottom of prints under the frame.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 11:03PM
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Thanks CYN427, I thought maybe some of the larger prints were priced higher.

No, Sunny there is no signiture on the print, just roman numerals.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:48AM
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Prints like these were sometimes engravings and some times lithographs. Most of the ones you see came from a book with many different prints in them. Each print was hand pulled and colored and bound into the book. People cut the books apart and framed the pictures because they were so lovely.
And another aspect of the value is the size of the paper and therefor the book it came from. Sizes have names like "Folio, Elephant Folio, quarto and sexto".
Something else that contributes to the value is what book the print came from and who the artist was who drew the pictures.
You will notice that the prints with the high prices have listed what book they came from, who did the drawing/engraving and the size of the book.
The pictures Newdawn showed have no artist's name nor anything showing what book they came from. So unless there is something famous or recogizable about them which would attribute them to a particular artist...they are not worth a lot. Their value is more in their decorative aspect than the antique value.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:09PM
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But Linda these do not look like they were taken out of a book and almost look hand done. Although, I know that they are not. He had a name for this type of work, but for the life of me I can't remember what he said. It was twenty years ago for goodness sakes.

Thanks a bunch Linda!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:29PM
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I believe they were....the edge is under the mat...the roman numeral in the upper right is the print number. However sometimes prints like these were sold in boxed sets and not bound into a book. So it's certainly possible that yours were individual prints and not in a book.
Could the dealer have called them an aquatint?....which is a form of engraving?
They are hand done....sort of. In a lithograph, the artist draws the picture on a stone with a wax sort of a crayon. Then the stone is wet and an oily ink applied which doesn't stick to the wet stone, only to the waxy drawing, and the stone pressed to paper.
Sometimes another stone is made to apply a different color to the same drawing, and sometime the lithograph is colored by hand. They are what is called "original prints", not the same at all as a giclee or any other photographic reproduction, they are original art.
Some prints are engravings, where the picture is etched into a copper plate using a sharp tool, the plate inked and pressed onto wet paper. But with an engraving you see a "plate line"...an indented area around the picture itself.

They are lovely....but I think that $200 20 years ago for a litho by a unnamed artist is steep.....a premium price from an upscale antiques shop in Atlanta.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:34PM
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I see you live in Alabama!!Used to go to Auburn football games with roommate on the Silver Bullet train which was taken out to service while back. You probably have an "Old book Store" there somewhere. You should go in & ask to see an old book with hand colored prints, each page that is tinted has a thin tissue over it, vellum maybe or maybe that is what they are colored on, anyway they are truly beautiful & while you are there ask if they have any prints in books or out of the type things you have as you would love to see if they would go with your decor. Probably get more info than any place else.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:10PM
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Gosh Linda you are a walking road show. No wonder everyone asks you all they're antique questions.

Yes, sunny I live here in Alabama. My goodness college football is a second religion down here and I hate football. (lol)

However, I don't think the silver bullet train is in business any longer. I have been here twenty years and have never heard of it.

Yes, we have several old books stores on the south side of B'ham. But actually those prints do not go with my decor and I would like to sell them but will probably give them away, rather than sell them at such a give away price.

Thanks Again!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 12:21PM
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Give them to a charity auction and claim a $200 deduction as that's what you paid....in the right venue you might be surprised what they might bring.
If you are going to give them away, at least give them to some place that will give you a tax deduction.
Linda c

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 4:42PM
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