Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vintage highwaymen art

Every once in a while an interesting highwaymen painting changes hands.

This happens to be one of them.

I won't comment on my perception of its value, but I will state that it was listed as sold, at an offer undoubtedly less than its asking price of $6500.00.

In my opinion, it was worth more than that, possibly five figures, a few short years ago.

Which of course, reminds me to remind YOU that a reasonably good buying opportunity exists in this little marketplace right now.

This particular piece is by Roy McLendon, who recently examined it and again signed and dated it on the verso as painted in 1965.

Like he remembers if it was 63, 64, or 65, but anyway.........
It's a standard size 24x36, upson board attached to its original crown molding frame. The ultimate highwayman classic presentation.

It's one of those "rare people pictures" that many of the artists, including Roy are currently reproducing on a regular basis. These new so-called rarities will be addressed in a different posting, as my purpose today is to present a vintage classic Washday painting.

These paintings not only portray the various types of Florida's foliage, but also record history and capture it like a photograph.

Wash day paintings with people are an interesting sub-market of vintage people pictures in general, and as such, they are a little bit more in demand than boathouses or beaches with people. The highest values in this group are enjoyed by Harold Newton and Alfred Hair. As prolific as they were, Old Roy outperformed them both in vintage people pictures.

So, given an equal demand factor for these things, the supply by Roy is much larger, therefore the value lower. That's just how it works.

I've had the pleasure of buying and selling probably a dozen vintage people pictures by Roy including a few wash day paintings. I've seen and examined maybe 50 others.

Roy painted all the different trees to go with the shack, the road, the cottage and the people. Perhaps the most popular, or in demand, wash day paintings include the Royal Poinciana, as that overlaps yet another highwayman art sub market.

Roy would sometimes add one of his classic pine trees or the standard cabbage palms to the left of the road. This one is unique to me with a young mossy oak to the left. Almost all of them have an old mossy oak on the right framing the images with what Fitch called "the reverse 'C'".

It's a neat one, and I wanted to share it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Highwayman Alfred Hair painting

I've written about this piece and similar eBay items before, and about the listing prices that people put up for the public to see. This one just won't go away.

People who are new to this highwaymen market usually go to Google, follow the links, see things like this, and have a tendency to believe them.

I understand this. It's the result of incorrect information combined with wishful thinking, further interwoven with (quite possibly newfound) pride of ownership.

Yet, when someone calls or emails me wondering if I'm interested in buying their Alfred Hair painting, and I tell them it's a $1500.00 painting, they tell me, "But I see on eBay these are going for $9,000.00."

I only WISH that they were going for $9,000.00.

This simply results in a total waste of time, mine as well as theirs.

I can't really understand what these jerks who list like this are trying to accomplish.


And what in the world is Webber trying to accomplish? He can walk twenty feet next door, to Artlink, and pay full choke retail, and buy a similar one for a third or less of his "professionally appraised" value.

Here's a copy/paste of the listing, as the links don't last forever, even though this has been re-listed several times.

Seller info
Member id 1beachfrontcondo ( Feedback Score Of 11)
100% Positive feedback

November 24 closing Item number 250918212430

Do your homework before buying. Item sold as is, where is. No returns will be accepted. This item has been authenticated and is as described. Bruce Webber art gallery in downtown Lake Worth estimated the value between $10,000.00 and $12,000.00 on 8/8/11. Serious buyers only, PLEASE!!!

Any questions? Feel free to call or email me.
cell 727 809 1691

Thursday, October 20, 2011

alfred hair's signature

As a specialist in Hair's work, I find the different signatures fascinating.

Because this particular piece was on eBay, and because the seller wasn't familiar with the differences, it was originally listed as painted on upson board. I contacted the seller and described the difference, and the seller adjusted the listing to be accurate. It was painted on vintage waffleboard masonite.

That happens to be a rare occurance. I can only remember having seen only one other by Hair painted on this kind of board. So that makes two out of the thousands I've studied in the last decade and a half. It happened to be "jumbo" sized, 30x48 and was a rather plain orange-red river scene, repeated by Hair many times, with one curving cabbage palm leaning out over the water. A formula he executed repeatedly.

What is fascinating to me, however, is that that "jumbo" had an identical signature to this ocean scene. Scratched in on dry paint with "pointy A's" as opposed to the square topped A's that we are used to seeing in his scratch-ins.

Makes me wonder who did it. There must be a story behind it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The highwaymen market appears to be in CHAOS.

Be careful out there, the waters are getting choppy.

This could be interpreted as me being negative, which I try to stay away from.

I see SHEER STUPIDITY ON EBAY in the last few days. I guess I should expect it.



Here are some examples such as I have written about in the past.


This morning a misty river scene by Harold Newton is offered on EBAY with a starting bid of $12,500.00.
It's 24x48, but it's a scene he painted in every size, repeatedly, probably a thousand times over his four decades of production, mid 1950's to mid 1990's.

Yesterday the same scene, 24x36 (slightly smaller but still couch size) closed after drawing NO BIDS starting at $1,500.00. Does anyone with eyes and a brain see an eleven thousand dollar difference?

Look at the images and compare the two, both masonite, both 80's or 90's, both nice, but unquestionably very common.


WHY DOESN'T HE SAY IT'S WORTH $30,000.00 TO $40,000.00?

Here's what the EBAY seller added:

This painting has only been listed for a few hours and already is generating significant interest. Please do not ask about lowering the price or payment arrangements. Thank You. The owners feel the value is more accurately about $18,500. This price is based on its extraordinary beauty and extra large size.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

That $18,500.00 paragraph was a copy/paste from this morning. As of 3:40 p.m., it appears to have been deleted. Go figure.


I was tempted to write about this last week, but I put it off.

It's pretty much the same situation as above.

These four paintings are identical in size, era, and scene. All are signed, all are genuine.

The colors differ, but all four are extremely similar, desirable, collectible river scenes by the highest profile deceased highwayman.

Two of them drew no interest, or any bids, starting at $1700.00 and $1800.00.

With those results on the public record, the third one was offered with a starting bid of $9,000.00 and backed up by a "Certificate of Appraisal" from a longstanding high profile fine art gallery on Lucerne Avenue in Lake Worth. They proclaimed it to be valued at $10,000.00 to $12,000.00.

The fourth one is starting at $5,000,00. The seller is in Lake Worth, as well.

In this example, I'm not even going to tell you which is which.

You can either guess or go find them on eBay for yourselves. They're right there for the world to see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Washington D.C. Highwaymen Art

Greetings to all!
As you may or may not have been aware Howard University has been hosting a Florida Highwaymen exhibit in Washington through the summer months beginning just after Independence Day. Historically this exhibit is an important step on the road of the Florida Highwaymen, and we'd like you to be a part of it!. 
The exhibit winds down October 3, but on Sunday October 2 there will be a reception to view the exhibit, meet 2 artists (Mary Ann Carroll and Dr. Carnell Smith) and to mingle with other interested parties, drinks and snacks and music of course.
Please do consider this your invitation to attend and please do bring friends, family, associates and interested parties.
Thanks and hope to see you there,
Please say Hi and take this opportunity to see some of their timeless art and to meet and greet with 2 of the artists while they are in D.C.

Not much time to prepare, but you are invited.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Highwaymen movie

Just jump over to my other site for the latest.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

eBay attention sought!

You be the judge. That's really all I can say about this.
Judge the quality and judge the value.

As for myself, I just try to ignore these things as they are unecessary minor distractions to the market. That said, good luck to the artist, and good luck to Al. Scratch em off, Al.

The ebay description, now gone, listed the artist as a student of Al Black.

Al likes scratch-off lottery tickets.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Alfred Hair on eBay

I had one of these several years ago, only it was a 36 incher, not 48.

It also happened to be unsigned. I sold it at a Stuart show to a highwaymen dealer from Fort Pierce who had the power to raise the dead. He apparently had Alfred Hair come out of his grave and sign it. I then saw it on eBay, signed A Hair, about a month later. That wasn't the first time, I also had a yellow one that I sold to a dealer from Arcadia at a St Pete show and the same thing happened.

Be careful out there.

That said, with all due respect to this particular listing, this one appears to be legitimate.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Highwaymen art at the Museum of History, Tallahassee

Today I'm just going to direct traffic.

If you get a chance, go to the capital and see this exhibit. I saw it when it premiered at Nova University. Simply stated, it has nice paintings.


And just for fun, I've ALWAYS had trouble with this:

The image at the top is one of Scott's Hairs. Sounds strange if you give it too much thought.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here's a little bit of insanity for you, people.

A portrait of someone's auntie back in the day.

I guess some people like portraits, who am I to judge?

The insane part is the price the website asks. $ 62,500.00.
I wish with all my heart that it was worth that kind of jack.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Highwaymen artist deal

Media Relations Contact
Sandra Wills Hannon

From Sharecropper’s Daughter to the White House:
Florida Highwaymen Artist to Gift Painting to First Lady

Washington, DC---May 18, 2011--- Mary Ann Carroll, the only woman in the famed group of African American artists known as the Florida Highwaymen, will proudly present one of her paintings to Michelle Obama at the First Lady’s Annual Luncheon at the Congressional Club in Washington on Wednesday, May 18. Born in Georgia in 1940 to sharecroppers, Ms. Carroll, who at 70, continues to paint, will meet the First Lady. It is a long way from the days when the mother of seven made a living loading her paintings in her 1964 Buick Electra and travelling throughout the state of Florida to sell her paintings.
The First Lady’s Luncheon is the most prestigious affair of the year by the Congressional Club. In 1912, the Club held a Breakfast, in honor of the wife of the President of the United States. The Breakfast has now become the First Lady's Luncheon and has been held almost every year since its inception.
In addition, Ms. Carroll will be a guest lecturer at Howard University this summer, when the university will host an exhibit of paintings by the Highwaymen.
The history of Florida’s Highwaymen is a story that now is told through a few of the surviving artists who pioneered an incredible and largely unknown National art movement.
The Highwaymen, a group of 26 African-Americans, broke convention to paint beautiful iconic landscapes. Originating in the mid-50s – an era marked by racism, poverty and brutality – the self-taught entrepreneurs mentored each other while they scavenged for basic materials like wallboard for canvasses, and crown molding for frames. Galleries shunned their work, so they peddled their art from car trunks along area roadways, hence their name. Their art freed them from work in citrus groves and created a body of work that has become not only a timeless collection of a natural environment, but a symbol of determination and belief in oneself.
From Sharecropper’s daughter to the White House, 1 of 2

From Sharecropper’s daughter to the White House, 2 of 2
In selling art on the road, Ms. Carroll braved the challenges that came with a Black woman travelling through a segregated south. “I went to Okeechobee,” she recalled of one instance. The guys didn’t go because there was a lot of what you call “redneck” thinking and this kind of stuff. But I was going where I was going and that was it. I traveled up and down the state of Florida by myself. I went over across ditches and canals. And I’m afraid of water.”
“It was segregation. Blacks had one water fountain, whites had another. At restaurants you had to go in the back door. Blacks were disrespected,” she said.
Though she supplemented her income as an artist with a variety of jobs including carpentry and music, the art was her main source of income. “I could not work as a maid and make enough for my family. This was the best life that any of us could live, painting and enjoying the labor. We were able to keep shelter over our heads and feed children and do some of the good things in life.”
The surviving Highwaymen, now in their 70s, are an important chapter in America’s culture and history. Their self-determination in the face of adversity remains a story of perseverance, inspiration and creativity.
Bob Beatty, in his book Florida’s Highwaymen: Legendary Landscapes, writes: “As African Americans in the Jim Crow South, [theirs] is a story of triumph in the face of opposition … [a story] of a loose collective of largely self-taught, self-supporting and self-motivated African American artists rising from obscurity to national renown [and creating] a piece of history…”
Today, Ms. Carroll is pastor of the Foundation Revival Center in Fort Pierce, Fla. She is also an accomplished musician. She still paints and exhibits her work widely.


Highwaymen Art Movement, Washington DC

May 18, 2011

Something very special for our market is going to happen today, God willing.

It will happen in our nation's capitol.

Mary Ann Carroll helps move the highwaymen art market forward.

Are you familiar with this old expression, "It's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know" ?

Stay tuned.

This is big.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mary Ann Carroll Florida Highwaymen

Mary Ann Carroll has painted some of the finest highwaymen art I have been lucky enough to handle since I began to deal in Florida landscape art in the last decade and a half.

Here are a couple of vintage pieces for you to enjoy.

Sorry to tease you. These are both sold.

There are a few more on

Saturday, April 30, 2011

harold newton signature

Here, boys and girls, is a perfect example of what I call a Harold Newton autograph.

Even this wily seller recognizes that and makes his main picture that of the signature rather than the view of the painting.

This could also be called "an entry level Harold".

Check it out while it lasts.

Update: sold on May 6 for $ 756.00.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

highwaymen on eBay

I was born a collector. You either are or you're not.

One of the things I collect personally is books.

Due to that interest, I carefully monitor that particular segment of the COLLECTOR'S MARKET utilizing the same mindset with which I monitored St. Gaudens twenties and Indian head cents for 25 years and now the HIGHWAYMEN ART MARKET for the last 16.

Since I read "The Stand" and "The Shining" back in the 70's, I have collected the works of Stephen King, like millions of other reader/collectors have. In addition to buying his new fresh books the day they are released, I have invested in several limited specialty issues, and due to their "additional value" as supply/demand collectibles, and I keep a close eye on that market.

Which led me to the following copy paste from The Stephen King Collector site.

I submit it to you, gentle reader (I stole that from King), due to the unmistakable similarities to our highwaymen market.

For this exercise, replace in your mind, if you will, book with art and bookseller with art dealer.
And keep eBay as eBay. Every word he wrote rings true.

As most of you long time collectors know, the SK market hit a peak (price wise) a few years ago. Recently the recession took its toll with more collectors selling off and buyers acquiring less, causing a glut in the market and prices to fall even further then they were. From what I've been seeing, more people have been buying in the last six months or so, which is good. But prices are still lower overall then (sic) back in '02-'03. At the end of the day, collecting anything is discretionary & very dependent on disposable income. Whether it's Art, Coins, or SK books - during an economic downturn collecting takes a hit and in better times surges again. I'm hopeful that we'll look back on this recession as a low point in SK valuations and as the economy picks up so will SK pricing.
The economy has been the most recent game changer, but over the last decade the internet has been the driving change behind the way people collect. And arguably the biggest internet related change has been the buying/selling of books on eBay. Ebay has narrowed the profit margins and forced brick and mortar used bookstores to adapt or close their doors. Betts Books is a perfect example. As a physical location the price difference between Betts and Ebay were too great and business declined to the point where it was not viable. Now as an internet only store the prices have come down substantially and I the business is doing well.
One key thing to point out here is that a bookstore's prices SHOULD be higher than eBay prices. Buying from a trusted bookstore vs. eBay are two very different things. When buying from eBay you have to take your own time out to dig thru listings waiting for the book you want to pop up, then keep on top of the auction status and end times. (I think most of us have played the game where we're up at 5:00am bleary eyed and waiting to put that last bid in to get our book...or we're cursing because we forgot an auction was closing at 2am and missed bidding :) You also have to check for yourself that the item is represented accurately, hope that the seller packages your items safely and in some cases hope that seller with a zero feedback rating or 92% positive feedback rating isn't intentionally trying to screw you over. Essentially you're getting a discounted price because you're taking some of the risk and taking some of your time for the item.

*nb( What he fails to mention is the forged signatures which compare to fake highwaymen)

When you buy from a trusted bookstore you can see if the book you want is in stock and get it right away, or even put a request in for the bookseller to keep an eye out for you on a hard to find book. You know the description will be accurate, the book shipped quickly and safely and if there is a problem during shipping or some other part of the transaction the bookstore will take care of you. Essentially the bookstore has done a good chunk of the work for you and reduced the risk of a bad transaction.
There are exceptions of course, but in general when you look at a books price range you can think of the sold eBay prices at the lower end of the range and bookstore prices at the higher end of the range. Sometimes the two prices are similar sometimes they're further apart, it all depends on the book in question, how often it's available for purchase, and a few other conditions.

True for both markets, many, many other conditions, moreso with art than with books..

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Buy highwaymen art, then buy more

I realize I've neglected this blog for almost a month.

Busy, you know ?
So, in an attempt to keep up with current trends, I offer you this:


Monday, February 21, 2011


Appraise Florida highwaymen art.

In my endless rehashing in this blog regarding appraisal and certificate policy, here's a fresh communication from this morning, posted as an example.

My in-laws are preparing to move to a smaller place and need to sell some items before doing so. Here is part of a email which they have sent me:

“We have a Harold Newton original which I purchased in the early 1990's from a shop in Indialantic. I bought the painting just moments after it had been put on display. Some of the colors were still damp! They had to delay framing until it had dried for a few days. Harold happened to be at the shop the afternoon that I picked it up.”

If they choose to sell the painting, is this something you would be interested in discussing with them? If so I could pass on your information to them.

Thank you for your time, XYZ

I need to see an image and find out the size.

I was able to travel to my in-laws home this weekend and take the following photos of the painting as listed below. Please let me know if you have any trouble receiving these attachments. I know the painting file is large, but I did not want to sacrifice quality by decreasing its size. I am cc’ing ABC and DEF on this email so that you can discuss the painting with them. Thank you very much for taking a look and offering any information you may have.


Hi, XYZ. Your images came thru perfectly.

You have many options. They all involve a measure of trust.

You can advertise it in the classifieds and draw vultures, collectors who are really dealers, who'll bring you low-ball offers.

You can find someone local to sell it on eBay for you.
There will be some kind of fee involved from both the seller and eBay.

You can find a Florida auction house that appeals to you. Generally they charge a buyer's fee as well as a seller's fee so you'll end up with a return of essentially 60-70 percent of its liquid market value. There also may be cataloguing or handling fees as well.

You can pick a specialist dealer or gallery that appeals to you via private meeting or internet and sell it outright for a check. This will return you 100% of its liquid market value immediately.

You can consign it to a specialist dealer of your choice to sell for you at retail and allow a 10 or 20% commission fee that service. This should return you 110-120% of its liquid value.

To make an intelligent decision on these options, you need an idea of its market value in more detail than Harold Newton's current liquid value range of $400.00 to $15,000.00.

I offer an appraisal service which has been useful to novices, collectors, dealers, eBay sellers and museums for the last 10 years. I have explained and re-explained how it works in my appraisal blog, and have had an article published by a leading Florida art and antiques periodical specifically detailing how I look at the Harold Newton market and place values on the paintings.

My interest has always been focused on the commerce that occurs due to his many paintings changing hands on a regular basis. Thus I am qualified to appraise these things with honest, real time information.

Since I believe this information has value, I charge a flat fee of $100.00 per painting. Some people think that's fair, others don't, and the sun will come up tomorrow either way.

If your painting had little or no value, I would not charge a fee, I'd just inform you, expecting only a simple word of thanks.

Your painting has value, and has a bonus of being very beautiful, thus more desirable than many.

I do not make offers, as that would constitute a free appraisal.

My appraisal includes a certificate of authenticity and I inform you of all of the different values as defined in your options.

Regardless of your decision, I appreciate the opportunity to appraise and possibly handle this piece.

regards, BOB

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Not a highwayman, but..........

I spent most of my creativity on my other blog,, and I feel like I've been neglecting this one, so I'm going to re-post something here.

It's a copy/paste from last year. Since that time, I've sold a bunch of them, but I have also bought quite a few new ones. You CANNOT buy the one hanging in my dining room. In fact, you can't even have a look at it.

Here you go. PAY ATTENTION. You'll be glad you did in a few years.

D L Rust, listed Florida artist
As many of you know, and as it has been reported in various antique / art publications, I buy, display and sell oil paintings of Florida wildlife by listed artist D L Rust.Of particular interest, both to me and the public, are his gator paintings.His paintings are so realistic that this actually happened to one of my customers.
I must have sold fifty of them over the years since my first trip to visit Rust in his studio.
I love his work and I am pleased to offer 6 or 7 pieces currently in stock.Some are posted on the main website, in my Other Florida Artists page.
These are offered with an asking price of $ 375.00, discounts available on multiple purchases.The current sizes I have are all oils on stretched canvas, 20 x 24, a nice manageable size.
I dislike writing negative things of any sort, but these are not giclee prints, as one ignorant spiteful Fort Pierce "highwaymen" seller claims they are. They are original oils on stretched canvas.
D L Rust has a painting in the National Gallery in the Smithsonian. If his work is good enough for them, gentle readers, perhaps it is good enough for you ?
Especially at these reduced prices.
Just for fun and comparison purposes, here's a link to an eBay offering of similar work by another listed artist C. Ford Riley. The fact that the opening bid is posted as $ 9,995.00 is irrelevant.

Update 02/24/11. Listing is now deleted. Link is dead. Sorry. It was a nice painting.

Riley's listed auction record in is $ 650.00.
Rust's auction record in is $ 4,183.00.
I rest my case.

Thursday, February 10, 2011