Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to spot a fake Salvador Dali fine art print on eBay.

The following are my top three guidelines for spotting a fake Salvador Dali fine art print on eBay, or elsewhere. 
  • Paper type and/or dimensions are either unstated, or are speculative in nature.  Any person familiar with authentic Dali artwork would know that paper type and paper size are important indicators of authentic Dali prints.  These details can be found in The Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali by Albert Field.  If print details don't line up with the catalog, it's a fake.
  • The print is represented as having been printed after 1980 and it is supposedly hand-signed by Dali.  Since it is known that Dali did not sign prints from 1980 onwards (Field), a signature after 1980 is not authentic, and the work is a forgery.
  • The print is a reproduction of a Salvador Dali oil painting. With rare exception, there are no authentic fine art prints of Salvador Dali paintings. Those are just cheap, or expensive, poster reproductions, and are not considered authentic, original works by the hand of Dali   
Have your own solid tip for those interested in buying Dali prints?  Leave a comment below and it may be included here.  Happy hunting!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Franklin Mint "Sombra Sobre la Playa" (Shadow on the Beach, 1977) by Salvador Dali.

Franklin Mint "Sombra Sobre la Playa"
(Shadow on the Beach, 1977)

by Salvador Dali

It seems that the few extant authentic plaque-style Dali art collectibles are all pretty rare.  Such is the case with this great piece.

Published by the Franklin Mint in 1977, it features an original work by Salvador Dali, etched in solid sterling silver, and issued in a single limited edition.  It comes packaged in an attractive black and silver frame, double-matted with beige over black.  The mat has a blind stamp in the lower right corner.

The brushed silver surface catches the light and reflects it back, changing appearance depending on the angle.  A pretty neat effect that makes it look like its glowing in any kind of light.

This work is sealed in the frame, so I have not inspected the entire plaque.  Therefore, its weight and overall dimensions are unknown.  The visible area of the plaque is about 23.7 cm x 34.1 cm.

It is not known how many of these were published, but it is extremely rare.  It typically sells for fewer than $300, and  I was lucky enough get mine for fewer than half that.  My advise is to patiently wait, and you should be able to get one of these for your collection at a bargain price.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Le mythe tragique de l'Angelus de Millet" (Dali/Pauvert, 1963).

Le mythe tragique de l'Angelus de Millet
(Dali/Pauvert, 1963)

Here is an original Dali publication that I had heard about, but never thought that I would lay hands upon in my lifetime.  I don't know how many of these were actually published, but in the U.S., this book is scarce.

I picked this copy up in a lot with a few other Dali books which came from a public library collection.  This book is in decent, almost unread, condition, but is marred by some ink stains on the bottom of the front cover.  Still, the ink stains help complement the authentic schoolbook look Dali was going for with the buckle closure and typed label on the cover.

Inside, one finds the original text (in French!) and layout, with tipped-in plates on just about every other page.  I can't read French, so look elsewhere on this blog for my commentary on the English translation of this book.

For me, the "wow factor" in this book is its rarity combined with the handful of dollars I paid for it.  My copy has a number of flaws, but I value it at about $125 to the average collector.  A book in better condition is likely worth about double that, and maybe much more to a French-speaking collector (to whom the book can be more thoroughly enjoyed).

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali "Deluxe Limited Edition."

The Official Catalog of the Graphic Works of Salvador Dali
Deluxe Limited Edition of 300

This is the rarely seen Deluxe Edition of the Field catalog.  It differs from the Standard Edition in several ways:

  • The dust jacket carries the same ISBN as the Standard Edition, but a small sticker on the rear inside flap distinguishes the Deluxe Edition ($360 price tag vs. $285 for the Standard Edition);
  • The Deluxe Edition cover is brown (leather?);
  • Most notably, the Deluxe Edition is signed by author Albert Field on the front title page.
My copy was purchased from a seller in Hawaii and has a personal inscription to two people.  

The first is Joseph Kealapua Melillo.  I found a July 26, 2006 obituary of a Joseph A.V. Kealapua Melillo of Honolulu in the Honolulu Star Bulletin:
Joseph A.V. Kealapua Melillo, 58, of Honolulu, a chef and entrepreneur, will be remembered in services 11 a.m. Saturday at Borthwick Mortuary. He died in Kaiser Medical Center. He was born in Summit, N.J. He is survived by companion Patrick Kelly Lagon, brother Fred and sister Barbara.
 The second is Patrick Kelly Lagon, presumably the same man mentioned in the obituary above.

It is not clear whether all Deluxe Editions have a personal inscription, but it is likely that they are all signed by Albert Field.

The Deluxe Edition is the rarest version of this already rare book and is likely worth a bit more than the Standard Edition.  I have never seen another available, and I would estimate the value at more than $400.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lincoln Mint "Easter Christ" (1972) Variants.

Presented here are a few variants to this common collectible which have recently joined my collection.

The first is this beautiful Easter Christ in 24K gold on sterling silver (vermeil).  It comes in the same box as the sterling version except that the cover logo is in gold, and the interior is done in white satin. 

This version tends to be far more scarce than the sterling version, but auction results suggest that its value is about the same as the sterling version.

This one is serial number 2153 of a limited edition.

The next variant comes in the form of a sterling version box that is missing the cover logo.  In all other respects, the box is identical to the regular sterling version box.
This plate is still sealed in its original packaging, so I am not sure what serial number it has.  On information and belief, the serial number is likely either 5326 or 5393.

The final variant is a bit of an enigma, and might be in a class of its own.

It comes packaged in a box that, on the outside, looks like a regular sterling version.  However, the logo on the inside of the lid is very different.  It appears to be a sticker stuck on top of the satin.

The plate itself is not stamped with a serial number on the underside.  It only has the number "27" stamped into it.

The metal of this plate feels flimsy.  It can be bent easily with the hands.  In fact, it came to me a bit warped around the rim.

It seems poorly made, and one artifact of its flawed production is the ghost imprint under the nail on one arm of the cross.  This imprint does not exist on authentic versions of this plate.

The plate weighs 321.5 grams within its plastic shrink wrap, which is close enough to the mass of the known sterling version (~ 315-323 g) to make this a decent counterfeit.

I hypothesize that this version is either a sales sample or a proof.  On the other hand, it could just be a counterfeit made of a base metal.

I have not seen another of these, so more information is needed about this item.

Finally, here is something you don't see every day: an original magazine advertisement for the Easter Christ plate.  The purchase price is listed as $150.  At that time, silver cost about $2 per ounce, so the plate had fewer than $20 worth of silver in it!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dali's Teatro Museo Figueras Inauguration 1974 Coin/Medal/Medallion.

Dali's Teatro Museo Figueras
Inauguration 1974

This coin was likely minted to commemorate the September 1974 inauguration of Dali's Teatro Museo in Figueras Spain. 

One side of the coin is dated "28 IX 74" which corresponds to the museum's opening.

It is a shiny silver color and has been represented to be sterling silver, however no silver hallmarks are visible on this tiny coin. 

It is about 17 mm in diameter (just a bit smaller than a US dime), and has about a 2.2 gram mass.

Nothing more is known about this coin, and it seems quite rare. If it is truly composed of sterling silver, then it is likely worth about $15.