Question - Value of Hunting Dog Ambrotype

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by susanb, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. susanb

    susanb Member

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    I found an unusual ambrotype in my family's old summer house. I put it on eBay and immediately got a message from a collector offering me $800. I want to be sure I get fair value for it, as proceeds go toward stabilizing the house. Do any of you have a sense of its value? And please tell me these dogs are only sleeping!

    Case is in good shape overall, but there's a bit of plastic missing at one of the clasps. From what I can tell, it's the subject matter that makes this piece unusual.
    All information greatly appreciated. IMG_0196.jpg IMG_0212.jpg IMG_0206.jpg
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    800 clams,800 simolions, 800 bucks. Yessireebob, out the door. That's a good tank and a half of gas.
     
  3. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    If someone immediately offered you $800, I think it would be in your best interest to have it professionally appraised.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    What size is the image? Subjects that are not portraits are unusual and I'd probably entertain the offer if I were in your shoes.

    And I think those puppies are sleeping.
     
  5. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I also wonder if the purchaser might be just as interested in the frame/box as he is in the photograph. Yes, I'd get it appraised.

    The seller wasn't asking for some strange pay arrangement, was he? Like he'd send you a check for more than the amount and you could send him back the extra in cash, etc. -- i.e., a scammer, offering you an amount you'd jump to get so you'd be willing to overlook odd pay arrangements?
     
  6. susanb

    susanb Member

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    Many thanks

    Thanks, everyone. I guess a professional appraiser is the way to go. No, the $800 offer didn't sound like a scam - it came from someone who clearly collects such things (judging by their eBay store). And thanks for the assurance that the dogs are sleeping. I sure hope so. But knowing the Victorians....
     
  7. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Well, if this potential buyer is also a seller, think about it this way:
    He's running a business, and would not offer something unless he thinks he can make a profit on it, so maybe it's worth more than the $800. So it's up to you to decide to either:
    - Take the guaranteed $800.
    - List it yourself at $1 no reserve auction, take the gamble that there's at least two people who might want it to outbid each other past $800, or that if noone else notices the auction you might get less.
    - Stick it up for a 'buy it now' of something like $1500. It might take a while to sell at such a high price, could take a year, but eventually someone will see it who's willing and able to pay that much.

    If you really need the money and need it quick, take the $800 (you can do legal/safe things like end the auction early and send him a second-chance offer at $800, you'll still pay ebay/paypal fees but you're paying for their protection), if you want to gamble just list it no-reserve, or if you'd rather hold out for more money then post it with a higher buy-it-now price.


    But yeah, a professional appraisal sounds like a good idea first, maybe the frame is real gold?

    ps, those dogs are just pooped after a long day, they're the type of dogs you hunt with, not the type you hunt.
     
  8. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Susan the subject matter is not as common as say portraits and gets you a higher price, maybe the buyer recognized the photographer, the case is another thing that can bring money. Since you've said plastic the case would be what people call union cases and they were made from Shellac saw dust and other stuff. Those early thermoplastic cases are often worth more than their content. Good literature would be: Union Cases: A Collector's Guide to the Art of America's First Plastics by Krainik and Walvoord
     
  9. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    They are certainly resting. My working cocker spaniel does exactly that after a day out on a shoot. They look like springer spaniels with very close cropped coats, a most sensible arrangement for dogs that work as hard and is as tough an environment as they are often expected to do. The advice to have it appraised is surely good advice.


    RR
     
  10. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Hmm, what exactly do you do you drive? :blink:
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Perhaps a Cessna... or a small yacht?
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i would call the northeast document conservation center and ask them
    who would appraise it for you. i have seen many ambrotypes over the years
    and i think 800 seems a bit excessive, unless the person who took it is well known ...
    but what do i know ...

    they say that something is worth what someone will pay you for it so even if the
    person who appraises it says it is worth 100$, you can easily put it on the auction site
    with a hefty reserve and se
     
  13. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Actually, they look more like English pointers.
     
  14. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Fashions change and they certainly look more like spaniels to my eyes, especially the one on the right.


    RR
     
  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The length and shape of noses and ears, the legs and coats all say to me that these dogs aren't spaniels. Not that this is relevant to the subject of what the picture is worth.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    They look pretty typical of working spaniels wearing short haircuts. They look nothing like a modern show dog. These are the real deal. My working cocker, who wears the same haircut, looks just like them only he is smaller and black all over. One thing puzzles me though and that is why are they wearing collars? Working dogs, hunter retrievers that is, shouldn't work in collars in case they get hung up.


    RR
     
  17. goamules

    goamules Member

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    Ambrotypes don't sell nearly as high as daguerreotypes. If it's a normal size (about 2x3 inch or 3x4 inch even) I think the offerer just likes it and wants it. I'd sell it for that and not waste time appraising it. You can do your own appraisal by seeing what similar items (animal shots on ambro or tintypes) have sold for. I bet it's less than $400. If it happens to be large, about 4x5 or larger, it's worth more. I'd sell now.
     
  18. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    ... if the seller is still interested, and still interested at that price. Offers like that are interesting in that they often have a short duration of interest.