Child's roll-top desk best passed down to family
Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
Q: I have a child's roll-up desk. The desk was given to me on my 6th birthday, 72 years ago. I am attaching three pictures from which I hope you will be able to give me an estimate dollar value and a place where I could sell the desk, if I wish to do so.
— H.P.S., Ocala
A: What a nice “Remember When” for future generations. You must have been a very careful youngster the way you used your roll-top desk. It appears to be in unused condition, or has it been refinished? If you were to sell it, it would be a lucky day if you got $100 for the desk and chair. Consider passing it on in the family with a nice note written in pencil and tucked away in the drawer for the next generation.
Q: Attached are photos of a drawing created for my father in 1968 by Edgar Miller. The drawing is 21 inches by 27 inches. Miller was living in Clearwater at the time, and became friends with my dad. My dad had the drawing framed, and it became mine upon my dad's death 10 years ago.
Also attached are some papers that my dad saved about Miller. Can you please advise me of the drawing's value, and who and where I can sell it?
— L.C., Internet
A: Edgar Miller was born in 1899 in Chicago. There is no information about his death. He was a painter, wood sculptor, stained-glass craftsman and muralist. Currently, there is little to no interest in his work in the art market. Now is not the time to sell your drawing by Miller.
Q: I have a print of a “B Beanie” Backus painting called “Flamboyant.” I would like to sell this as I have no room for it now. I purchased it about the same year the Highwaymen started selling their paintings out of the trunk of their cars with the paint still wet! I lived in Stuart, a town just 20 miles south of Fort Pierce, for 25 years. This print is framed, however, the glass has cracked and I need to replace it. Otherwise, it is in perfect condition. Can I take it to an art studio in Gainesville to sell for me on commission, or do I have to carry it down to the Backus Gallery in Fort Pierce? Do you have any idea what it is worth?
— M.C., Internet
A: Albert Ernest Bean Backus, 1906-1991, was considered by many as the dean of Florida landscape artists. Backus tutored Alfred Hair, a young African-American artist introduced to Backus by his schoolteacher, Zenobia Williams. Hair went on to form a group of friends that produced similar paintings of Florida landscapes in the Backus style in a production manner, and then sold them up and down the southeast coast of Florida. It is said that they produced more than 100,000 paintings. They were tagged the Highwaymen by the director of the Museum of Florida Art and Culture.
Backus produced beautiful fine art oil-on-canvas paintings that sell for considerable prices. To my knowledge, he did not produce original prints. The print you have might have some value if it is signed by Backus, but I will assume it is not, since you have not mentioned it. This leaves potential dollar value as catch-as-catch-can.
John Sikorski is an Ocala antiques dealer. He hosts a call-in radio show, "Sikorski's Attic,'' on WUFT-FM (89.1 FM). It can be heard each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. Send your questions to Sikorski's Attic, c/o The Gainesville Sun, 2700 SW 13th St., Gainesville, FL 32608-2015; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.