Re: Re: Re: Evaluating prints

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Posted by to Hess on November 24, 1999 at 00:49:33:

In Reply to: Re: Re: Evaluating prints posted by geo. on November 14, 1999 at 01:57:33:

No offense, but this is bananas!

My formula:
1) Look at the print
2) Is it beautiful?
3) Look in your wallet
4) Is it full?
5) Look at price on print
6) Does it fall with the ration of #2 to #4 times the power of the variable x squared?

Alright, I jest. Obviously we want the real thing (because that is most beautiful), and we want it in AS GOOD A CONDITION AS WE CAN GET IT. Here's the key point, the one and only key point. I would never buy a damaged Yoshitoshi 100 Moons, because there's a plethora of these things available, including perfect samples.

The point I want to make is simply this: If as a collector you worry about nothing but the market value, you will never enjoy your collection. Are you an investor, or an appreciator of some interesting cultural artifacts? If the former, play the stock market, you'll do better. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder--and remember that, live by that, value what you love. Life is too short to be adding and subtracting points to judge the value of your prints. The value is when they strike your eye, and the eye is pleased.

Just as an aside, this is the reason I collect Toyokuni III. There are some incredible prints among the schlock that came out under his name (most by his workshop!) and my pleasure is in picking out the best. I pay 10x less than those who go chasing after big names and dump $1000's for an Utamaro that's been trampled in a Tokyo subway station at rush hour, coming and going. Even if your wallet's small, you can build a valuable collection this way, if you find something that delights you, and stick with it.

Remember, the market's relative. But your loves are not.

ai shite!

: :What can I say but domo arigato gozaimasu! And if you do feel inspired to expound more on value variations between editions "ai shite masu" (spelling?).
: BTW How do you come to know so much about prints if I might pry a bit?
: Thanks again and regards,
: geo.

: : I know there are no "hard and fast" rules for placing values on woodlbock prints, but I wonder if someone has some "rules of thumb" or general guidelines. It's generally not too difficult to find a reference for a pristine or "very good" condition print, but how much should one deduct (percentage-wise) for worm holes, paper loss, thin areas, rubs, fading, and the like? I realize there no easy answers here, but a basic idea of what the thought process is like when evaluating a print is what I'm after.
: : : Thanks, geo.

: :

: :
: : 100 points is mint pristine to die for condition.
: : Deduct for condition problems from there.
: : Within a condition problem there is a range of points.
: : And condition problems that cannot technically be "repaired" without violating the technique and nature of the original woodblock creation carry the most weight or points.
: :
: : Condition problems that cannot be "repaired".
: : 1) Color loss from fading.
: : 2) Paper loss from rubbing.
: : 3) Trimmed margins removing identifying (authenticating) marks.
: : 4) Waterstains that result in running of pigments.
: : 5) Toning Within Image (two adjacent hues of the same color with the color difference visible in a straight line often refered to euphemistically as "mat burn").
: : 6) Folds.
: : 7) Paper loss.
: : 8) Wormage.
: : All of the above require "adding" to the original process. They cannot be "repaired" without violation of the paper's original fibers and dyes.
: : Thus, they mutate the print. The print is not conserved. The print is altered.
: : Deduct points as follows (numbers correlate to above) based upon the severity of the condition problem;
: : 1) 10 to 90 points.
: : 2) 10 to 50 points.
: : 3) 30 to 50 points.
: : 4) 50 to 95 points.
: : 5) 50 to 95 points
: : 6) 20 to 40 points.
: : 7) 25 to 75 points.
: : 8) 20 to 75 points.
: : AFTER the print has been "repaired", with luck you will be near the low end of the points deduction. But not below the lowest number. For example, if trimmed margins are replaced with margins from the identical same image of the identical same printing period and done so well that you need a magnifier to see the repair (and even then you are not sure); the print is still a minimum of 30 points below 100 perfection.
: : Often you will find that a "repair" often will not really increase a print's value to a serious disciplined educated collector. Top notch collectors can spot EVERY repair and will deduct accordingly.
: : Now some might argue that one should not be so harsh when "grading" prints because many prints are so rare and infrequently surface.
: : But the grading or point system holds true even for rare and treasured images and publishings.
: : Even though the auction results for a rare print with any or all of the above 8 condition problems might seem astronomical, the price paid still has factored in the comparison to a mint 100 point perfect print. So all those $250,000- Sharaku prints that seem to be decomposing before your eyes would be Million dollar plus prints if in mint pristine 100 point condition.
: :
: : Other condition problems warrant point deductions, but are problems that can be minimized or sometimes completely removed with "conservation" techniques. That is, the "restorer" does not have to add foreign paper to the original print or does not have to add foreign pigments dyes or watercolors to the original print.
: : 8) Foxing or Staining....10 to 50 points.
: : 9) Toning Overall to paper....10 to 50 points.
: : 10) Thinning....25 to 75 points.
: : 11) Backing....10 to 40 points.
: : 12) Bad prior restoration....15 to 75 points.
: : 13) Graffiti (dealer marks, "collector" insignia, framer's marks, etc.)....10 to 25 points.
: :
: : Those are the top condition problems.
: : Now your average Japanese print buyer who believe that they are a "collector" will find these point deduction guidlines surprising. Perhaps ridiculous. But hardcore collectors abide by these numbers and turn their backs on prints that appear reasonably priced to the unwashed but the point deductions do not justify the cost.
: : How does one figure how much to pay for a print with condition problems?
: : As an example;
: : A Eizan ukiyoe print in 100 point mint condition is worth $1000-.
: : The print is laid down but can be lifted from it's backing without losing any paper.
: : Deduct 10 points.
: : Colors are faded about 20 percent from mint colors and lifting it from it's backing results in another 10 percent loss of color.
: : Deduct 30 points.
: : Slight rubbing of paper. Not repaired.
: : Deduct 15 points.
: : Graffiti in margins that is not removable.
: : Deduct 10 points.
: : Total point deductions....55.
: : Cost of "restoration" to lift print from backing;
: : $150- maximum.
: : Formula to value print;
: : 100 points MINT condition.
: : minus 55 points for final condition problems.
: : equals 45 point value of "restored" print.
: : This point system is basically structured so that the end point value is a percentage of the MINT condition print.
: : In this example, the final print is worth 45 percent of MINT condition.
: : Thus $450-.
: : Factor in the maximum $150- cost of "restoration".
: : And the maximum one should pay for this print is $300-.
: : So it really is quite simple.

: : There are other factors to consider.
: : Specifically, the "edition" of the print even within the artist's lifetime by the original publisher,
: : registration of colors, thickness of keylines, etc..
: : All of these factors are inherent quality issues of the print.
: : Not external factors resulting from the treatment abuse or neglect of the print during it's life.
: : If you want guidelines for valuing these factors, I will need to receive a lot of "I LOVE YOU"
: : emails before going to the trouble.

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