What Are Some Factors That Affect the Value of a Currier Ives Print?


Quick Answer

Currier & Ives prints are sought after by many collectors, but the value of these lithographs depends upon factors such as authenticity, age, condition, subject matter and the rarity of the piece. The most sought after prints feature winter scenes or images of recognizable sporting events and historical figures.

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Full Answer

To appraise a Currier & Ives print, the most important factor is to determine if it is a hand-painted lithograph, a reissue using the original lithographic plates (known as a “re-strike”) or a reproduction. Original lithographs have two main identifying features: they are hand-tinted with watercolors, and they include a title and the publisher's name on them. Original prints can also have a catalog number printed at the bottom, as well as list a New York street address, an old-fashioned copyright notice or the original artist’s name. Original Currier & Ives prints are printed on heavy rag paper. Re-strikes made in the 1900s are printed on lighter-weight paper.

Reproductions of Currier & Ives prints sometimes have watermarks and are typically printed on different sizes of paper than the originals. Modern reproductions have a printed symmetrical dot pattern that is visible with a magnifying glass. The condition and rarity of the print are also factors in its value. Stains, foxing, small tears and trimmed margins all reduce the value of a print. The websites PhilaPrintShop.com and Kovels.com both have Currier & Ives pricing and identification guides.

Some Currier & Ives prints are very valuable and have sold for as much as $100,000.

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