- Forum: Collecting Aviation Art Simple:Press Version 5.5.4 fuzzy on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art I often wonder if the overwhelming aviation art popularity of Battle of Britain/Doolittle Raid/Dambuster Raid/Eastern Front Luftwaffe is truly based on collector interest, or if it was simply driven by what aviation art publishers chose to offer based on availability of signatures?

It certainly seems to be that way for aviation art, but other aspects of aviation interest don't really reflect the same intense focus on those few subjects.

Take books for example.  Check out the aviation/military section of a good bookstore or online store and you will find a very wide variety of subjects, and not just those select few.

Take models for example.  Check out a hobby shop or online store and you will find a stunning array of kits - almost anything you can imagine - not just Spitfires/Me-109s/Mustangs/B-17s/Lancasters.

Obviously, the main aviation art themes & aircraft are universally popular.  However, other areas of aviation interest offer a much more diverse array of subject matter.

I think the signatures have skewed this hobby into such a narrow focus on a handful of aviation topics.  I also think this repetitiveness has contributed to our current market malaise. 

You say there's another B-17 print coming out?  Meh...  (Indifference; to be used when one simply does not care.)

Mon, 23 Mar 2015 01:24:43 +0000
CBI on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art I don't buy on eBay but I do searches sometimes and I always wonder why so many print sellers stick to high asking prices for so long when a "completed listing" search shows so few sales????  Do a completed listing search of Robert Taylor prints and you will see.  At what point does the lack of movement of product result is lowering the prices?  

Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:09:35 +0000
eros on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art Dear collectors what you have written and ' true,but' i also think that the merchants of art that sell tons of prints to be made for around for many years,have ruined the world of aviationart,have created a monopoly and a shameful to sell. Just look at the numbers of runs of prints to understand. Then when the market began to slow down came up with reprints with a pencil drawing of the artist to try to make only one print. What collectors are asking to have something unique that others do not have.But i wonder and'better to have a printout with the signing of the pilot preferred edition of hundreds of pieces and expensive or even begin to buy paintings by artists who are not famous in prices of a print to hang on the wall,thinking that what i bought did not have anyone. Them out there are many artists who do some wonderful work but who are not considered because they do not have the signature of the pilot on their work, i believe that today in 2015 this has more sense.            Eros

Fri, 20 Mar 2015 15:36:43 +0000
Taylorprints on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market?

This is a very interesting subject, some great opinions and insight all of which are true. Yes, without a doubt it is dead already compared to the heydays. As already stated it is partly due to economics, the declining middle class, deposable income and some disillusionment amongst collectors on the sanctity of “limited editions” I think the most damaging influence is simply supply and demand, driven by demographics and subject interest. The generation who created the demand largely lived through WWII or were borne soon thereafter. This generation had an interest in WWII and its flying heroes particularly the ability to buy prints signed by them, creating an historic document.  Granted there are exceptions to this group who enjoy Aviation Art, people in the military, ex military, people with a keen interest in History and people who just like collecting. This interest group is far fewer than the generation who drove up the original demand.

Supply increased to meet demand with many Artists establishing themselves, RT came from a restoration and Naval Art background and NT from a Locomotive background, many other Artist jumped on the growing interest. As demand accelerated they were releasing multiple around 8, high print runs (1,000/1,250) a year. This worked well from the mid eighties to towards the end of the nineties, peak buying for this demographic group. Over this period literally hundreds of thousands of prints were released. Once they slowed buying as they moved into retirement the market gradually slide to its current moribund state. Will it ever recover, frankly no, unless something drives a lot of interest which is unlikely. As an example how many films have been released with WWII subjects compared to 20 to 30 years ago and what is the interest level.

So demand has declined significantly but on the other side of the equation supply is increasing on the secondary market again driven by demographics. The generation who created the original demand is now in late retirement wishing to sell their collections or their collections have moved to their estates. The problem is demand is now very much weaker. If you look at when Pat Barnard sold the Military Gallery his timing was great, he clearly anticipating the decline

This is all very sad, the damage can be seen on eBay and other sites were the same old prints come up week after week and month after month with not a hope of selling at the asking price. The vast majority of prints will never realize their original release price. There are hundreds of thousands of them out there with no real demand. It is not all bad news; some prints continue to do well and always will. In general they have in common, good artistry, good signatures and generally popular subjects, Dambusters, Doolittle Raiders and Luftwaffe Easter Front (high scores) subjects. Or they are very limited releases which will always be scarce with sufficient demand to keep prices up.

Why some specific older releases do well besides being popular subjects with good signatures leads to another aspect of supply. These are in more limited supply due to their release dates being before collecting had really taken off and collecting for investment (never a good idea) was not even thought about. Many were framed, a lot badly and other were damaged over time due to poor handling or stored incorrectly in tubes. There are a limited number of these prints in good condition and very few near mint condition. Again supply is limited and prices hold well. In addition, these releases were made when the Artists were in their prime and represent some of the best of their work.  It all comes back to demographics.

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 17:27:33 +0000
WWII_Interviews on Eve of Destiny - Richard Taylor D-Day C-47 Print Collecting Aviation Art Thank you for bringing this print to our attention.

I really like this print. Love the C-47, love the subject of D-Day June 5/6 1944, love the subject of the airborne. While I think the print is wonderful it just doesn't reach out and grab me. That doesn't mean I don't plan on getting it someday though.wink

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 01:40:37 +0000
WWII_Interviews on What's My Print Worth!!!??? (an eBay case study) Collecting Aviation Art I can't say I have ever bought a print for an investment, however that doesn't mean I haven't thought about how much it would be worth, depending on the edition, how many signatures, sold out, etc.. Most prints in my collection I really don't ever plan on letting go. Some are more personal than others having obtaining signatures from veterans I have interviewed or befriended at one time so they mean a lot to me, especially since most of them have passed away.

I know we always say '...a print is valued by what it is worth to someone.' Which I believe to be true of most things collected. I used to record the year, print, and price it would sell for on ebay years ago and I believe I still have that notebook somewhere. I believe Fuzzy is right about his analysis. I use to calculate that on holidays if a print was on auction you could get it for a good price because the way a couple of auctions turned out on a couple of holidays. Like Fuzzy stated I have seen a print go for $500 one day on auction and a year later $325, however a dealer will have the print listed at $700.

What is my print worth??........depends on me.

Just my two cents.

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 01:28:59 +0000
CBI on What's My Print Worth!!!??? (an eBay case study) Collecting Aviation Art Good post.  I never have bought aviation art as an investment.  This is a good example why.  Maybe the print will be worth more in 30 years (provided it is well maintained).

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 21:22:34 +0000
CBI on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art I agree with many points stated above. There is no question that economy and inflation are huge influences on the health/decline of the aviation art market. There is also no question that there are significantly fewer print releases these days which is an indicator of the state of the hobby. Signatures were a huge driver in the print market but seem to be a little less so even as some print houses have a stash of signature sheets. I was told that private commissions for original paintings (at least for the top artists) is still very strong (in some cases even more than in the past). High-dollar multi-sig prints also sell out quickly. Its the mid-range that seems to be hurting. This is completely true across the board in all business. Mid-range (middle-class) is a challenge. No attempt here to be political, just middle class disposable income is more limited than ever. Yep, a good time for deals on eBay and the like but I believe the investment aspect of the hobby is largely gone/done. Publishers re-releasing “sold-out editions” on canvas might look awesome but I know it has infuriated many collectors! More artists are opting/forced to set up their own websites/web-sales which has some good points. Quality print on demand/glicee is also having an influence on expectations, sizing, no need for stock quantities, etc. Hopefully some artists will chime in. I own WAAAAAY more prints than I will ever have wall space for so my print buying has reduced by 90% and I can tell it will stay that way for quite some time.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 21:17:36 +0000
Guss on What's My Print Worth!!!??? (an eBay case study) Collecting Aviation Art I agree Sunny, Kurt's post is excellent, and provides some real insights into the evolving state of the print market.  It reminds me of the old saying - "in God we trust, all others bring data....".

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:48:31 +0000
eHangar on What's My Print Worth!!!??? (an eBay case study) Collecting Aviation Art Excellent post, fuzzy! thumbsup

I'm pinning this post so its at the top of the list. This is definitely one of the most FAQs (frequently-asked question) and hopefully, your post will answer it for most people.

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 04:35:58 +0000
hellcat6 on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art Fuzzy, I certainly wouldn't argue any of your points.  Just my humble opinion and the view from my foxhole based on my own buying and selling in the last few months.  Even if the number of new releases has dropped off in recent years, there is still a vast array of quality products available, both old and new.  I guess my point of view is it's a great time to be a buyer and I certainly was not complaining about that! 

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 01:27:32 +0000
fuzzy on What's My Print Worth!!!??? (an eBay case study) Collecting Aviation Art We've all seen that question before.  I can't tell you how many of those questions have been fielded on eHangar over the years.  That question is usually posed by a newcomer - generally not an aviation art enthusiast - trying to figure out how much they should ask for their print.

I noticed a particular print that would show up for sale on eBay periodically.  It was a Doolittle Raid print called "0820 18 April 1942" by Robert Moak.  I believe 2000 of these were issued in 1979, and a batch of 200 were signed in 1992 at the Doolittle Raiders' 50th anniversary reunion by the crewmen in attendance.  Here's an example of the print:

After seeing a few of these listings, I noticed that most were from the same seller.  At one point, I took a look at the seller's feedback to see the sales history of this print.  I believe the seller's batch of prints were from the 200 signed at the 50th reunion, and had 20 plus signatures.  Here's the rundown of when they sold and how much they went for:

2012-10-04     $227.50

2012-07-27     $384.85

2011-12-01     $184.51

2011-05-02     $768.88

2010-06-30     $560.00

2009-12-21     $256.00

2009-10-10     $401.88

2009-05-01     $550.00

2009-04-29     $556.66

2008-01-28     $685.00

This is a pretty interesting data set.  It's almost like an economics major designed this as an experiment!  Here are the results:

Low Price:     $184.51

High Price:     $768.88

Average Price:     $483.09   (Standard Deviation $188.15 for the statisticians out there)

Range:     An astonishing $584.37 difference between the high and low prices!

One other thing I found noteworthy:  the all-time-low-price came right after the all-time-high-price.

So, if someone asks what their print is worth, the real answer is, "It depends!"

I wish I could remember the seller's eBay username.  I'd love to check and see if they've sold any more over the years.  If you happen to run across it, please let me know!

Tue, 17 Mar 2015 22:56:38 +0000
fuzzy on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art Yes - but did you also see what a copy of the print "The Regensburg Mission" by Gil Cohen sold for on eBay the very same day?


That's an extraordinary price. 

Be careful drawing any conclusions from individual auctions on eBay.  I look at eBay as a statistical process.  You can draw conclusions on price trends from a statistically significant sample size of auctions (i.e. a whole lot of them), but it's tricky to conclude anything definite from one or two auction results.  The result of a particular auction or two can really be skewed by various factors - was the print damaged?, do buyers have confidence in that particular seller?, was there something peculiar about the listing that prevented it from popping up in common searches?, etc.

Having bought & sold a few aviation collectables on eBay myself, I can say that with experience.  On occasion, I'm scratching my head asking, "How did that sell so low?"  Other occasions I'm wondering, "How did that go so high?"  Over the long term and over many auctions, though, eBay is a decent indicator of the market.

That being said, I will say prices are generally pretty good right now.  It's not a bad time to do a little bidding on things you like.

Nice acquisition on "God Shed His Grace On Thee".  That's one of John's early prints, but as far as I know it has not sold out.  You can't beat $218 for one with a P-38 Remarque!

Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:53:31 +0000
hellcat6 on Collecting Aviation Art: A dying market? Collecting Aviation Art My reply is based on my experience as a collector from the late 1980s who took some time off and is now getting back into the hobby.

Not really looking at the newer stuff so much and my focus is remarques.  But I buy what I like.  Signatures are great and a consideration but for me it is the image.  I have to want to look at it on my wall or I won't buy it.  Original paintings are not something that I will likely be able to afford but I certainly have grown to love original pencil drawings and at least those are within budget.

Just getting back in, I am amazed at the variety and quality that is available.  I think a lot of the folks that got started in the 80s and 90s are retiring and letting go of their collections.  Great older classics along with fantastic remarqued prints are in abundance.  The thing that shocks me are the prices.  I do love a bargain of course, but the prices that some of these works are going for indicate to me a lack of buyers.  That may be the economy or that may be the decline of the hobby but it is still a definite downward trend IMHO.  Last night, I watched a John Shaw print of Hornets Nest in good condition with many Doolittle raid signatures and a very large B25 remarque go for $350!  I purchased a copy of his God Shed His Grace on Thee print with the signatures of 27 American heroes AND a very nice P38 remarque for $218.  I know it is not sold out and maybe not that popular but the price seems crazy low when you think what Shaw gets for a remarque now.

I'm sticking around because I love this stuff regardless of how the hobby goes.  But I am beginning to think that the future looks pretty bleak in terms of value.  Just one man's opinion, hope I am wrong.  We all (including me) need to do a better job of supporting the young artists I think for the sake of the hobby.  Meanwhile, I am lovin the low prices!


Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:05:58 +0000
Guss on Low level run by Matt Hall (Operation Varsity) Collecting Aviation Art Excellent!  Some more great artwork on Matt's website - thanks for sharing!

Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:33:07 +0000