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Great House Antiques
Great House Antiques, Appraiser/ Researcher/ Entrepreneur
Category: Antiques
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Experience:  30+ years in all aspects of the Antiques and Decorative Arts Industry
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I have 3 original Gould bird lithographs from s personal

Customer Question

I have 3 original Gould bird lithographs from his personal collection, with authentication certificates, purchased at auction from Sotheby's in August, 1987. They were numbers 164, 165 and 167 in that catalogue. I am looking for an estimate of value for insurance purposes. Many thanks, anne
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I only want to add that when I tried to authorise the $5 deposit, i had problems with your website, which was requiring full payment. Please confirm where I stand re payment.
regards anne
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anne,

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help with your Goulds.

Could you very kindly let me know which prints they are. Or attach photos. Do you also have the text pages for them?

Are they from the Birds of Australia monograph?

Many thanks,

PS. You won't be charged anything unless or until you are happy with my answer. You may also ask for a refund of your good faith $5 deposit if you wish.

Please contact Customer Support, phone number 1.***-***-**** to find out the status of your payment. I work "on" rather than "for" JustAnswer as an independent appraiser so have no idea what information you may be seeing your end. Hope this makes sense.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Robert,
I do have certificates of provenance and will try to scan one to send you. What email address do I use for you if not Just Answer? This is the first time I've tried anything like this.
The numbers I quoted are from the Sotheby's catalogue for auction on 8/9 august, 1987. I hoped you might be able to access that. regards anne
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anne,

Unfortunately the Sotheby's on-line archive doesn't go back that far, so I can't look these up.

If you could attach a photo of each of them I can give you a value right here.

Once the photos are in your computer (if you are using a smart phone camera, just email them to yourself) it's then a simple matter to attach them. Just click on the paperclip icon, located above the text box where you are typing to me. If there's no paperclip, click on the "Add files" tab.

If you get stuck go here for help.

or collar a passing teenager with an iPhone and they'd have this done in about two minutes.

Many thanks and wait to hear.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Robert, well I managed to scan the provenance certificate, but couldn't get any of the emails with photos of the lithographs to transfer to your email response. don't know what's happened now. Thanks for the link to instructions on what to do, but that didn't seem to relate to emails, just documents, so I'm still stuck. I'll try one more time, but this is wasting too much time. You've been enormously helpful. Still no luck,so let's just say this didn't work for me and finish now. many thanks anne
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Anne,

I'm so sorry you're having difficulty attaching the photos.

The trick is to be logged in to, go to "My Questions" and to correspond with me from the website rather from your email. That way you should be able to click on the paperclip icon to attach any photos that are in your computer.

However, to save you all that trouble, just let me know the title to each of the prints you have -read off the names of the bird(s) in the legend at the bottom- and I'll be able to give you a value (assuming average condition, no foxing, fading, staining or damage etc).

Now that I've read the "Certificate of Provenance" document you sent -thanks so much for doing that- I've been able to track down general details of this sale in 1987 (and the catalogue that was published about it) but no specifics about individual lots.

There was a lot of hype over the sale at the time, I've been reading, with all the wealthy elite of the day such as Paul Keating, Robert Holmes a Court, John Elliott, Laurie Connell, Warren Anderson and so on, in something of a feeding frenzy to get their hands on these prints, and prices were pushed way higher than they had ever been for Goulds, and they were already expensive. It's not clear how the Dutch born Mr Hank Ebes, the flamboyant former crop duster pilot, owner of Douwma Gallery, Melbourne, got to be the agent for this sale, but he made a fortune selling them.

Gould prints, especially the Australian ones, have held their value nicely through the years, but may not be much higher than those 1987 values.

I have always been a huge fan of Gould. My grandfather had a complete set of both A Monograph of the Trochilidae (Humming-Birds), all six volumes of it, and also The Birds of Great Britain. As children, under his eagle-eyed supervision, we were allowed carefully to turn the tissue paper covering each brilliant illustration -he explained that his fingers were too old and scratchy to do it himself- while he turned the main pages. I am also extremely grateful to Gould, and of course my grandfather, as the sale of these after he died helped pay for my education.

Since then I've managed to collect back a few prints I've found here and there, including one from the The Birds of Australia, a Rhipidura rufifrons (the rufous fantail) which I bought at an estate sale here in the US for a 'steal' of US$25 because nobody knew what it was.

Best wishes,