Q: How should I sell two Icart prints in original frames that have been in the family for more than 60 years? Each is in excellent condition. I contacted several sources, but they were no help.
A: French artist Louis Icart lived 1888-1950. Stylewise, his works are on the soft side of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.
The reader adds that a local authenticator removed one print from the frame, spotted an original Icart signature and "was very impressed with the condition." They are, apparently, the real thing.
We got two images, but they are of the same print. A third image shows Icart's signature as he wrote it circa 1926 and later.
Showing two young females draped in gauzy flowing style and seated on a bearskin rug, the 16.5 inch-by-20-7/8 inch oval print is a drypoint etching and aquatint. One female holds a single puppy; two others bark at the bearskin's head.
Titled "Petits Chiens," or Little Dogs, the print dates from 1925-1929.
From the decade considered quintessential Icart, the print includes all the elements one associates with the artist, particularly seductive yet innocent young women and frothy elegance.
Playboy pinups of later decades owe a lot to Icart; the gauzy romantic themes are similar. Risque and arty, Icart's 1920s women lack the hard edge of women by Erte, a classic Deco artist. Earlier Icart works from 1910-1920 are more fashion illustration than art.
Our reader thinks her prints (remember, we only viewed one) are "of some value." Correct. They are. But check over the following sale results found in online databases for "Petits Chiens," similarly framed and in excellent condition.
In 2007, a signed version brought $1,200 at Leslie Hindman in Chicago. In the same year, another fetched $950 at Skinner, and one with tears and staining sold there for $475 in 2009.
Smart collectors will note that no recent results appear. The importance of condition is obvious.
Considering the paucity of recent sales, smart collectors may figure that owners are reluctant to sell because Icart's work is not at a high point, pricewise, these days.
On the upside, there is a companion Icart print with kittens, called "Les Chatons." If that one is the reader's second print and if the pair goes to auction together, that would be a happy scenario. Many auction prices soar when buyers go for pairs or sets.
Our reader needs to study online results, noting where and when prints sold. Then shop them to houses that achieved good results.
Q: I've inherited items my father bought from the Franklin Mint. How do I price and sell a Sir Francis Drake Falling Ball Clock that he bought for $1,250 in 1981? Also a Flags of Royalty collection in a wooden display box with two drawers?
A: My answer will give the lie to everything I've always said about collectibles. Remember my oft-repeated mantra, "Anything made in volume to be a collectible will never have significant value?" You've read it here forever.
But all rules have exceptions, and I was astounded at secondary market results for specific Franklin Mint items.
The rule stands, but sometimes there's a wild card.
The Mint still sells the 50-piece set of sterling silver ingot royal flags. Listed on www.franklin-mint.com it's $2,681 plus $50 shipping. Whether a buyer will spend that or more for a 1970s original is anybody's guess. We found a similar set of ingot state flags in their original, unopened box sold for $4,155 on eBay in 2011. Other sets sold there the same year brought $400 and $212.50.
Royal flags are not universally popular, but silver sells high today. I'd weigh the possibilities and list online at a price you can live with.
Results for the Drake clock have a narrower range. We saw four sold around 2009 on eBay for $230.19-$388.33. Considered rare, it has crossover appeal to clock, history and collectibles buffs and might bring more today. Selling method is the same.
Q: While he lived, what posed the greatest threat to Louis Icart's popularity?
B: The rise of feminism
C: His nationalism
D: World War II
A: WWII, with shortages of copper for plates and a ban on the export of art, forced Icart into oil paintings, which were not as successful. Source: "Louis Icart: The Complete Etchings" By Holland, Catania and Isen (Schiffer, $79.95).
Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send e-mail to email@example.com or write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.