Antiques & The Arts

Web Appraisal: Kurz & Allison Civil War Prints

APPRAISER: We’ve got a group of six very colorful
battle scenes of the Civil War. Where did you get them? GUEST: I got them from my aunt. My uncle is the one who collected them. When she passed away, she allowed me to choose
a print. I thought it was one, there turned out to
be six all together. APPRAISER: They were all behind the … GUEST: They were all behind, right, so I got
a bonus. APPRAISER: Well, that worked out pretty well. That’s nice. GUEST: These originally were part of a set
of 32, I believe, prints … APPRAISER: Mm-hmm. GUEST: … of different battles, but there’s
been a lot of reprints, so I didn’t know if they were the originals, whether they were
real or what they’re worth. APPRAISER: Right. That is actually a very good question, because
you’re right. It’s one of the most famous series of Civil
War prints, and they’re done by a Chicago firm called Kurz & Allison, and their name
is right down here. You can see, Kurz & Allison are publishers. Kurz was actually a mural painter, he started. They have this very bold style that’s kind
of similar to what you would see in a mural. These were done in the late 1880’s and 1890’s. Right after the Civil War, people were kind
of just wanting to avoid it. By the late 19th century, they finally started
to say, “Well, yes, it was tragic, but we can maybe start to celebrate some of the heroism
in it.” They were somewhat made up, the images. We’re talking many years after the war ended. They show the essence of what they thought
was the important aspects of each particular battle. They’re very famous, they’re very colorful. People like them, so there have been, actually,
lots of reproductions of them. These are originals. GUEST: Okay. That’s good. APPRAISER: That was good, yes. That is good. The way you can tell is all the reproductions
that I’ve ever seen are actually slightly smaller than these. Also, the copies are all done photo-mechanically,
and if you look at them through a scope, you can see the dots and that kind of thing that
indicates they’re done photo-mechanically. These are done by chromolithography, which
is kind of an interesting process where each color in the image was printed from a separate
stone. They would have used a lot of stones to make
them. Looks very different when you look at it under
a scope or just if you’re used to it if you look at them. These are the originals. The condition on these is very good. What’s important with these is that you have
good color, which they do have, and the chromolithography tends to last well. Also, you want good margins, and these are
all the full margins on them. Now, they do have some nicks and a few chips,
but that’s fairly minor. You wouldn’t knock off, really, anything significant
for the condition issues. You can fix it. You do have a cardboard backing on the frame. The cardboard is not good. Anything with acid in it shouldn’t be touching
the prints. What you should do is put on a rag mat behind
it. The ideal thing would be for each one to be
put with acid free paper between it, just so that nothing it touches has acid. GUEST: Well, I would like to frame them, each
one. APPRAISER: That’s a great thing to do with
it. Now, the battle matters. Gettysburg is going to be more, because it’s
one of the most famous battles. GUEST: Mm-hmm. APPRAISER: Here’s the battle of Antietam. That’s a fairly well known battle. That’s going to be a little more than the
battle of Corinth. There’s going to be a range. In a retail environment, in a shop, these
generally sell for about $600 to $700 each. Since you have six of them, the total value
of your collection is between about $3,600 and $4,200 for all six of them. GUEST: Very good.

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