Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Understanding our rating system:


Before posting prints on, our curators examine each item (front, back, image and margins) and assign a rating. (And I have to tell you, our eagle-eyed curators are the strictest in the business.)

Prints are sorted into FOUR categories: MINT, NEARLY MINT, AS IS and UNSALEABLE.

MINT ITEMS ARE PERFECT. No blemishes. No discolorations. These prints and posters look as though they are being offered for sale for the first time...despite their ages. (Some are 35 years old!)

NEARLY MINT ITEMS WILL LOOK MINT WHEN FRAMED. For example, a poster might have some slight handling marks (usually from the artist signing process)...but those will vanish when the poster (as is traditional) is dry-mounted during the framing process. A print might have a slightly bent corner, but when matted, it will look mint. The image of a NEARLY MINT item will look brand new after appropriate framing. And, in fact, many conservators would have categorized these items as mint!

AS IS ITEMS SHOW WEAR AND TEAR. These blemishes may not be visible after appropriate framing. Some of the wear and tear is directly related to the age of the item. Other wear and tear may have occurred during transit or storage. Examples:

Acid burns from storage in or with acidic materials including envelopes, printed information (like COAs)
(if burns are confined to back of print or to margin areas, such may not be visible after framing)
Evidence of handling in the form of impressions in the paper
(most such impressions can be minimized by our staff...and may not be visible when print is framed.
Evidence of hinging with water soluble paste.

NOTE: We see the “as is” category most often when examining prints that were purchased and stored improperly by a collector. Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s when collecting limited editions first became popular, you could purchase prints by emerging artists (like Bateman and Doolittle) for $100 to $250. If your print was framed with acid-free materials by a knowledgeable framer...and hung appropriately...chances are good that your print is still in excellent condition.

If you stowed your print its acidic envelope...or left your acidic sales receipt against the print...or stored your print where it was subject to temperature extremes and/or to uncontrolled humidity...or if you handled your print probably have an “as is” print today. Many of those early prints are now sought after by collectors who will pay thousands of dollars for a mint print. ...and less for one in poor condition!

UNSALEABLE ITEMS ARE RETURNED TO THE OWNER OR DISCARDED. Owner should consult a restorations expert. Examples:

Severe acid burns that intrude into the image.
Suspected mold or mildew.
Noticeable printer flaws in the image.
Noticeable creases in the image.
Soiled items.
Image is faded or discolored.
Item previously framed — not in accordance with Gallery One’s conservation standards.
Noticeable damage from moisture.
Image is torn or punctured.
Item has been permanently affixed to a backing (i.e. glued or dry-mounted).
Margin has been trimmed or torn.

We suggest that long-term storage be handled by placing each print separately between two full sheets of 100% white rag board. Envelopes and other paperwork should be stored outside such packaging. Each “board” package should have title, artist and date of purchase written on the outside of the rag board in pencil. You can pay your art gallery to prepare your items thusly for storage.

These “packages” should be stored flat in an area that has controlled heat/air conditioning and humidity until you are ready to frame the items. Or ask your art gallery to store the items for you until you are ready to frame them.

A good resource is

Let’s say you are interested in a Robert Bateman ground hog. And let’s it was released in an edition of 950...each identical looking and each signed and numbered. And let’s say you have the choice of getting a mint condition Bateman ground hog...or a Bateman ground hog print with a damaged margin. And let’s say you can purchase either one for $200.

Which one would you want?

Now let’s change the situation. Let’s pretend that the mint condition print is $200 and the one with the damaged margin is $100. Which one would you want?

Let’s change the situation again. There are NO ground hog prints for sale in mint condition.

What are you going to do now?????? VS

Unless otherwise noted, and Gallery One, Mentor OH sell only mint condition prints. That’s been the Gallery One tradition since 1974!

Our auction site, sells MINT, NEARLY MINT and AS IS items — all at auction prices. Condition is clearly indicated.

Our auction reserves have taken condition into account.

Visit and look at each auction item. Click the image for more information. And click again to expand the image. Take a look at the notes about condition. We have calculated our reserve prices to take rarity, availability and condition into account. And you should take these same factors into account when raising your bid.

And if you want to bid, click the BID2BUY button and fill out your bid form...taking condition into account when raising your bid.

That's all for now!
Norah Lynne Brown