Saturday, April 30, 2011

"La Fecundidad" Sterling Silver Plaque by Salvador Dali.

"La Fecundidad"
sterling silver plaque
by Salvador Dali.

This limited edition plaque was mounted to smoked plexiglass on a chrome shadowbox frame.  The rear of the plexiglass had an attached label with facsimile signature and edition details identifying this piece as B/098.

This item became a small restoration project for me.

The plaque had a thumb-sized stain seen in the picture to the right.  The stain turned out to be tarnish.  When the tarinsh was removed, the shiny silver underneath was exposed, which was in contrast to the dull appearance of the rest of the piece.

It appeared that the rest of the piece was lacquered.  I decided to remove the lacquer so that the cleaned area would be less obvious.  I separately tried vinegar, then acetone, and finally mineral spirits; the combined effect was the eventual removal of the lacquer.

The original stained area shows some residual pitting which may be repaired by a professional.

The plaque was attached to the original plexiglass by rubber pads.  After removing and cleaning the plaque, I decided to replace the plexiglass with a brand new tinted piece of plexiglass.

I avoided removing the old label from the original plexiglass by cutting the plexiglass down around it and mounting it to the rear of the new plexiglass with velcro.

The cleaned plaque was securely attached to the new plexiglass with two strips of velcro.

The chrome frame shows significant pitting, but has been left as-is.

There is also a slight pinch in the raised border of the plaque just to the right of the stained area.  I think that a previous owner tried to pry the plaque from the plexiglass by digging fingers under the plaque and using the thumb on the front as leverage.  The thumb print eventually ate through the lacquer, creating the stained/pitted area.

The pictures below are of the item after restoration.  In its present condition, it is likely worth about $600.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Ten Commandments Medal / Medallion by Dali.

Ten Commandments Medal / Medallion

This particular Ten Commandments medal is an interesting enigma. 

It is the exact same size and design as its silver counterpart, but it appears to be struck in brass.  It even has the silver "9999" hallmark, indicating that it was struck from the same die as the official silver release.

I conjecture that this brass version is a proof of some kind.

  • mass is 40.5g;
  • diameter is 50mm;
  • thickest at 3mm;
  • thinnest at 1.5mm.
Calculation of its density based on assumed values of its silver counterpart (mass: 50.5g; density of silver: 10.4 g/cc) yields a value of 8.34 g/cc.  This value is consistent with common brass alloys.

While the silver version of this medal is common, I have never seen one of these struck in brass.  This is a rare piece.

There is clearly no reference point for an item like this, but I place its value at around $125.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Art of Dali - Habsburg, Feldman Auction, Tokyo, December 17, 1989.

The Art of Dali
Habsburg, Feldman Auction,
Tokyo, December 17, 1989.

This is an example of an item that keeps my Dali collecting bug alive. 

Just when I thought I had seen it all, this auction catalog landed into my hands and proved me wrong.

This book documents the 57 items of Dali art auctioned more than 20 years ago in Tokyo.  In it, you will find works of various media (gouache, watercolor, india ink, collage, oil, etc.) reproduced in full color and in fine detail.

Many of the images are of the original works upon which various print suites are based.  There are, however, a number of original drawings, sketches, and inscriptions that are not seen elsewhere.

Accompanying each item is a detailed description, provenance, and auction estimate.  Although a bit outdated, these estimates offer a starting point for assessing the value of similar items. 

For instance, one seeking to estimate the value of a book inscribed by Dali with sketches finds a couple of examples for comparison in this auction catalog.

Also noteworthy is a 1969 design for a record jacket, a surrealist object circa 1961, a 1966 costume for the year 2000, and a few sketches for the Disney animated film "Destino."

This catalog is a must-have for the avid Dali collector.  You should be able to find a copy for fewer than $30.