2017-10-12 / Arts & Entertainment News


Folk art pieces can bring big bucks for collectors

PHOTO Is this chair art? This folk-art chair of no special design period sold for $968. 
COURTESY PHOTO Is this chair art? This folk-art chair of no special design period sold for $968. COURTESY It is sometimes the unique collectible at a show or sale that is a “must have” for an unsuspecting collector. Folk-art collectors often see “one-offs” that are too expensive, too large or too outrageous to fit into the house.

Recently, James Julia auctions had a “Late 19th-century American ... unique spool art chair.” It was too big, too unfamiliar, too gawdy and too uncomfortable-looking for most collectors.

It was made of padded upholstered panels joined to make arms, a seat and a back. The frame was made with spool-turned legs, and other parts of the frame looked like real spools. It sold for $968. Folk-art collecting started in the 20th century, and there are few rules about what is considered “good” or “bad.”

Collectors are writing these rules with their purchases.

Q: When were typewriters invented? I know mine is very old. It is an AA Royal Quiet Deluxe, and it was bought by a relative in the 1940s to use at college.

A: Your typewriter is not very old to a collector. The first commercial typewriter in the United States was the Sholes & Glidden typewriter, which was made by E. Remington & Sons in 1874.

It typed only uppercase letters. Hundreds of different types of typewriters were made, and there were many that were very different in appearance and how they worked. Your typewriter was popular in the 1940s and would sell today for about $25. Unusual-looking, older typewriters can sell for thousands of dollars if they’re in good condition with the original decoration. About 10 years ago, a new group of typewriter collectors started buying working machines. They wanted to use them instead of a computer or electric typewriter. ¦

— Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to the column. Write to Kovels, Florida Weekly, King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

Return to top