The More You Pay, The More It’s Worth: Proceeds from Prints go to Charity

Kathleen Guzman kept the bidding lively

Just back from a print auction organized to benefit Housing Works, an organization that provides housing for AIDs patients. Up for grabs were 60 prints from 19th century America, including dozens by Currier & Ives. Housing Works volunteer and celebrity appraiser Kathleen Guzman kept the bidding lively (the headline was taken as a quote from Guzman) with many lots going well above estimates. The estimated range topped out at $1,500, but some lots exceeded $5,000.

There were basically two groups of prints, those New York-related and those President Washington-related. Those categories aren’t all-inclusive. The top lot was one of my two favorite picks—a Lithograph in color depicting the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad: 0020_1_lgThe Only Four Track Railroad in the World. Of course that railroads founder was the Commodore, and following it was a large and hansome print of the Steamship Cornelius Vanderbilt, which brought $3,500. A later lot, Map of Beekman New York to County Line Connecticut dated 1740 also brought $3,500.

As anticipated, the presidential prints didn’t consistently demand the same premiums as the New York scenes, but still exceeded estimates. America Guided by Wisdom: An Allegorical Representation of the United States denoting their Independence and Prosperity from 1820 brought $1,000. My favorite pick, George 0043_1_lgWashington, Portrait Standing Full Legnth in Uniform on the lawn of Mt. Vernon, circa 1870 brought $700.

All lots were donated by an anonymous, kind-hearted soul in Pennsylvania and had a Kennedy Galleries label on verso. A separate selection of prints will be auctioned off through a separate online silent auction on Housing Works Thrift Shops’ auction site Bidding ends at 7 p.m, Thursday, October 8.

About Eric Miller

Eric Miller is co-founder and contributor to Urban Art & Antiques. His website is


They would not photograph the prints outside the frames to reveal the true condition of the prints. Therefore, many of the prints did not even approach their fair market value, and this was not really fair to the donor or the institution.

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