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Aviation Art - Sample Valuations

More than any other aviation artist, Robert Taylor consistently produces images that sell out and appreciate in value.  This is a testament to two things, the quality of his paintings and the professionalism with which his publisher, Military Gallery, present and market his work. The recent trend towards lower standard edition sizes but with small value added sub-editions with extra signatures has helped maintain exclusivity and keep secondary values up. Other artists that have a good record on the secondary market are Nicolas Trudgian and in the USA, William Phillips. In addition there are certain prints by Frank Wootton and Michael Turner that will command good prices, usually those with good pilot signatures. There are many other examples, but the purpose of this section is an introduction to the subject for those new to collecting aviation art.

Below are some examples of sought after prints and the sort of price increases they have realised as a result of secondary market demand. Please bear in mind that these are just ball-park figures and that a lot of factors can affect the actual sale price of any specific print.

At the bottom of the page is a little bit of information about the early Robert Taylor Prints  – Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dual of Eagles which we get asked about quite a lot.

JG52 by Robert Taylor
Issue: 125
Current: 1950
Change: 1560%
Sigs: Hartmann, Hrabak, Galland, Kruprinski, Obleser, Rall, Steinhoff.

 

JG52 by Robert Taylor

Channel Dash by Robert Taylor
Issue: 330
Current: 1950
Change: 590%
Sigs: Glunz, Paul, Galland, Schopfel, Schneider.

 

Channel Dash by Robert Taylor

In Defense of the Reich by Nicolas Trudgian
Issue: 75
Current: 475
Change: 633%
Sigs: Buchner, Galland, Kruprinski.

 

In Defense of the Reich by Nicolas Trudgian

Thunder In The Canyon by William Phillips
Issue: $165
Current: $1600
Change: 969%
Sigs: artist only.

 

Thunder in the Canyon by William Phillips

Dauntless Against a Rising Sun by William Phillips
Issue: $195
Current: $2600
Change: 1333%
Sigs: artist only.

 

Dauntless Against A Rising Sun by William Phillips

Knights of the Eastern Front by Robert Taylor
Issue: 180
Current: 1150
Change: 610%
Sigs: Hartmann, Hrabak, Ihlefeld, Krupinski, Rall, Steinhoff.

 

Knights of the Eastern Front by Robert Taylor

Green Heart Warriors by Nicolas Trudgian
Issue: 75
Current: 450
Change: 600%
Sigs: Bob, Eisenach, Hrabak, Trautloft.

 

Green Heart Warriors by Nicolas Trudgian

Low Pass For The Home Folks by William Phillips
Issue: $165
Current: $1500
Change: 909%
Sigs: artist only.

 

Low Pass for the Home Folks by William Phillips

Eagles out of the Sun by Robert Taylor
Issue: 255
Current: 1050
Change: 382%
Sigs: Galland, Griswalski, Hrabak, Krupinski, Neumann, Obleser, Rall, Rudorffer, Schuck, Steinhoff, Trautloft, Wolfrum.

 

Eagles out of the Sun by Robert Taylor

Dawn Chorus by Nicolas Trudgian
Issue: 75
Current: 400
Change: 533%
Sigs: Ilfrey, Jeffrey, Olds, Zemke.

 

Dawn Chorus by Nicolas Trudgian

The Straggler Returns by Robert Taylor
Issue: 75
Current: 500
Change: 666%
Sigs: Cheshire, Martin, Tait, Shannon

 

The Straggler Returns by Robert Taylor

Phantoms and the Wizard by William Phillips
Issue: $145
Current: $1700
Change: 1172%
Sigs: artist only.

 

Phantoms and the Wizard by William Philips

The Giant Begins to Stir by William Phillips
Issue: $185
Current: $1800
Change: 972%
Sigs: artist only.

 

The Giant Begins to Stir by William Phillips

Ace of Aces by Robert Taylor
Issue: 125
Current: 1100
Change: 800%
Sigs: Hartmann.

 

Ace of Aces by Robert Taylor

Winter Patrol by Nicolas Trudgian
Issue: 75
Current: 425
Change: 566%
Sigs: Hrabak, Rall, Wolfrum.

 

Winter Patrol by Nicolas Trudgian

The Last Combat by Frank Wootton
Issue: 95
Current: 600
Change: 632%
Sigs: Galland.

 

The Last Combat by Frank Wootton

Home Run by Robert Taylor
Issue: 175
Current: 600
Change: 343%
Sigs: Blakeslee, Carson, Goodson, Olds.

 

Home Run by Robert Taylor

Winter Wolves by Nicolas Trudgian
Issue: 110
Current: 375
Change: 341%
Sigs: Krupinski, Schopfel, Stephan.

 

Winter Wolves by Nicolas Trudgian

JV44 by Robert Taylor
Issue: 115
Current: 650
Change: 591%
Sigs: Galland, Kaiser, Krupinski, Steinhoff.

 

JV44 by Robert Taylor

Mission Completed by Robert Taylor
Issue: 120
Current: 800
Change: 666%
Sigs: Lawley, Morgan, Michael,Vosler, Zeamer.

 

Mission Completed by Robert Taylor

About Early Robert Taylor Prints  – Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dual of Eagles

We are finding that we are being offered these prints on a regular basis for potential resale. Often the seller has inherited them and is not knowledgeable about them or aviation art in general, so we thought some information about them would be helpful.

These were Robert Taylor’s first aviation print releases and were issued in 1979 as open editions (1980 for Dual of Eagles). In 1985 Robert Taylor’s publisher, Military Gallery, decided to move exclusively into limited edition prints which were becoming increasingly popular at the time. These early titles, amongst others, were removed from sale as open editions and reissued as Restricted Editions of 1500 prints. They were artist and pilot signed, but were not individually numbered in the way they would be today. The term Restricted Edition was used as Limited Edition would have been inappropriate for prints that had also been available as an open edition.

Spitfire was signed by Douglas Bader and Johnnie Johnson, Hurricane by Bob Stanford Tuck, Lancaster by either Leonard Cheshire or Norman Jackson and Dual of Eagles by Douglas Bader and Adolf Galland.

Dual of Eagles by Robert Taylor

Dual of Eagles

Spitfire by Robert Taylor

Spitfire

As for values, these are very much dependent on condition and there are a number of factors that have conspired to ensure there are very few mint condition examples around today:

Framing - this is often a problem. These early prints were actually relatively inexpensive at the time of issue and were usually framed accordingly without the conservation methods we would use today. Our experience is that when removed from the frame typical problems include fading, cropping, mould, and damage caused through the use of non acid free tape. Serious collectors are often reluctant to pay significant money for early framed prints for this reason.

Fading – the quality of paper and inks used at the time were not nearly as good as those used today and the prints were much more susceptible to fading. This is probably the biggest single problem. The concept of collecting prints was in its infancy so most prints would have been bought with the intention of framing and displaying them, so most will have been exposed to fading and framing issues. It is sometimes difficult for the untrained eye to judge the extent of fading, particularly without an unfaded example for comparison, the usual give away is a noticeable blue tint to the print.

Signatures – in the early days some signatures were still done in ink, e.g. Douglas Bader on Dual of Eagles, whereas pencil does not fade with time ink does, we have seen some examples were the ink signatures have virtually disappeared.

Stored in original tube – these sometimes turn up and the owner will assume they are mint condition. Unfortunately cardboard tubes are not a good environment for prints, the tubes are usually made from a cheap cardboard material and chemicals are likely to leech out over time and damage the print – this often manifests itself in a light grey mottling known as ‘foxing’. Plus every time the print is taken out to show someone it receives unnecessary handling.

A mint condition print will never have been framed and will have been stored flat between acid free materials. If we had mint examples in our possession we would probably advertise Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster at around 500 each and Dual of Eagles around 700. For poor condition examples we have seen them change hands for as little as 50.

NOTE: As always if you are looking for values for insurance purposes please get a second opinion as the values we quote are based on our own experience and another dealer may have a different view.

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