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Topic Rating: +2 Topic Rating: +2 (2 votes) 
What's My Print Worth!!!??? (an eBay case study)
aviation art print value and how it varies on eBay

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March 17, 2015 - 10:56 pm
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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 – often not an aviation art enthusiast – trying to sell their print and wanting to know 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:

2016-12-18    $316.00

2016-??-??     $477.77

2016-??-??     $300.00

????-??-??      $437.88

????-??-??      $456.00

????-??-??      $322.22

????-??-??      $276.76

????-??-??      $446.00

????-??-??      $255.00

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:     $413.84   (Standard Deviation $154.84 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.


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So, what is the point of this post?  The point is that there is no single price for a secondary market print.  The data clearly shows that the price can vary wildly.   If you’re going to try to estimate a price, it would be much more realistic to give a range, rather than a single value.  So, if someone asks what their print is worth, the real answer is, “It depends!”

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2017-01-12 update:  I recently stumbled across this seller again, and was able to track down several more sales of this same print.  Unfortunately, the dates of the sales are not available for most of the additional auctions I found.  The seller goes by the eBay username of “byf45” and the most recent print sale was item eBay item number 112234438377 if you care to take a look.

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March 18, 2015 - 4:35 am
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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.


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March 18, 2015 - 2:48 pm
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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….”.

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March 18, 2015 - 9:22 pm
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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).

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March 19, 2015 - 1:28 am
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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.


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April 23, 2015 - 10:26 pm
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I can put an auction on for a print with a start price of £1 GBP and only one person might bid on it that time. So they get a great deal, and I do not!  My next advert could have 5 people bidding on it, with two determined to win it thinking its the only one around, so it goes for £600.  It’s all down to who is around at the time so I’m not surprised to see big differences with individual auctions.



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January 12, 2017 - 9:22 pm
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Just updated this post.  I stumbled across this eBay seller again (byf45), and it turns out he has sold another 9 prints since 2012.  The numbers changed a little bit (see original post up top).  However, the conclusion remains the same:

The auction selling price of a secondary market print varies wildly, and does not appear to be predictable. 

So, if someone asks what their print is worth, you’d be better off suggesting a (wide) range of values, rather than a single price.  The honest answer is, “It depends!”  And if they ask, “Depends on what?”  The honest answer to that is, “I don’t know – it’s a bit of a crap shoot!”

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