Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ft Pierce news

Sometimes I'm a little slow to find things, so here we go five days late, I guess.

Talk about the theatre of the absurd. Be sure to read the comments after the story, several countries heard from.......


Sunday, December 21, 2008

In response to the comment by anonymous.

The very fact that you don't know "what makes it a fake" by visual inspection proves that there is a need for experts who have invested time, money, and energy to gain that knowledge.

And with a so-called value of $ 10,000.00 involved (in this specific instance), I think it would be fair to say that this specialized knowledge has some value. And that, my dear anonymous friend, is why such things as appraisals and consultations often have fees attached.

My point in posting that fake Backus was not meant to denigrate all you gentle readers for not being expert in the Backus market.

It was meant to absolutely slam any Bobo the fool who would send serious money overseas in an eBay transaction to a complete stranger who may or may not be reputable. EBay doesn't care if their sellers are reputable or not, they just want the fees they get from them for listings.

This example was an EXTREMELY easy scam to spot, for me, (applause, please,) due to my extensive experience in buying, selling, and studying A E Backus' work in the last decade and a half. (Thank you, thank you very much).

This year is fast coming to a close, time really flew. Did you notice how quickly those monthly bills followed each other this past year ?

The sun is about to set, so happy Hanukkah to the Yiddish, and for the Goyim, merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The dog days of.................November ?

I don't even know what to think anymore.

We got ourselves a new president, an African American for the first time. That's gotta be good for the African American art market doesn't it ?

This from "Entrepreneurs Journal"

"What is your business worth after the financial panic?
Posted Nov 16th 2008 6:30PM by Tom TaulliFiled under: Small business
It's been "shock and awe" for the financial system over the past few months. Even seemingly invincible companies like GE (NYSE: GE) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) have not been immune. As a result, there has been a tremendous deflation of equity values across the globe.
Unfortunately, the game has also changed for your business. It's much more difficult to get debt or equity financing, and it may even be impossible, at least for now. Customers are having difficulties paying invoices. And, as for finding new customers, this is particularly tough.
So, in light of everything, what is the value of your business? Well, keep in mind that, for the most part, the value of a business is dependent on its cash flow. "


I am giving you this stuff to read that I came across as I was trying to learn how to survive without sales. I have much to learn. It seems that if I had paintings worth in the tens of millions of dollars, they would be salable worldwide. Maybe even only single digit million dollar paintings would be salable. Wouldn't have to worry then, would I ?


What about the more affordable multi-hundred and multi-thousand dollar paintings ? Like highwaymen paintings. And the other Florida and American paintings that I am in business to buy and sell.

Sure, they are desirable as ever for their beauty and investment potential, we get more than our share of compliments on our show displays, but these less expensive works of art just won't sell as quickly as we would like in this current cycle of .......................very little disposable income.

A lot has to do with the perception by the public of consumer confidence, which is not simply reported , but negatively spun and driven seemingly with glee by the national media. Remember that line in "Dirty Laundry" by the Eagles ? "Reporting on a plane crash with a gleam in her eye" ? You can't open a newspaper or open AOL without finding out that the economy is "rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell" (thank you, Merle Haggard). The first morning headline I saw with my coffee a month or two back, announced that times are so bad that people were jumping off buildings. I bet that headline alone contributed to a few more jumpers, considering how many lunatics and morons we have out here in the general population.

Especially here in Florida. Have you tried to just drive down the road lately ? Guaranteed there will be someone in the left lane, crawling 10 miles under the posted limit, on the cell phone, and fifty percent of the time putting on make up.......not like you, gentle reader.

Ah, but I digress.

And, I might be whining (after I promised not to).

I sure hope this new administration can somehow get the news media to take a new approach to sharing (selling) their information by scaring us almost senseless with their presumptions of doom and gloom. The use of fear in selling is every bit as successful as the use of sex in selling. Stop dragging this economic tale of woe through our subconscious and spin us some hope for the coming months and next year.

Alas, I'm afraid we may have a few more months to wait before we begin to sense any change, if it's even coming. The Republicans and their buddies must now be in a feeding frenzy across the board, not much time left. It ain't just AIG, people.


In my six decades, I have never witnessed such overwhelming greed at the top. I'm sure all the sacrificial multi-millionaires (who sort of got caught at the trough) are lining up for their pardons from good ol' Dubya, too. Their "get out of jail free" cards.

Saw this today, this is kind of what I'm whining about.
11-17-2008 @ 12:14PM
BHarrison said...
Capitalistic competition will be the vehicle of economic recovery. This will be the basis of a reorganization of our economic infrastructure . . . the non-competitive businesses will give way to new competitive businesses. Unfortunately we do not have the capital to finance the scale of businesses that will be needed for a quick recovery.It only took eight years for Bush's Administration, and Congress (both Republican and Democratic) to allow the undermining of the Global economy . . . and most of those who orchestrated and perpetuated the economic FRAUDS and debacles are still in their positions, and still collecting unwarranted salaries, bonuses, and "other exorbitant compensations" . . . not much will change under those conditions; they are still "gaming" the recovery efforts.

The point of all this rambling is what ?

I'm not sure, like I said, I don't even know what to think any more.

I guess these thoughts have to do with my personal playing field, antique shows around the state of Florida. People used to go to them, but they have just about stopped. Attendance had been slowing down steadily since we got hit with the series of four quick hurricanes that year (was it 2004 ?) The aftermath began to affect the people of the state. Had to spend what was formerly disposable income on repairs, not antiques or art. Then Katrina and its aftermath began to affect the country. Insurance companies tripled their rates and we had no choice but to pay.

And pay, and keep paying.

I sure am glad that the insurance companies are making money while the rest of us take it up the...............well, you know. Ouch. Can't you feel it ? (again, he whines, sarcastically this time)

Expensive art is selling, the wealthy collectors are buying. THEY haven't slowed down. They have even stepped it up a notch or two.

Maybe they feel the "financial panic" in their own way, but they sure are taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them with the increased lack of demand.

The highwaymen art market needs you back, "middle class" people. If you can find a few bucks somewhere, gentle readers, pick up a Harold Newton at these revised lower price levels. Take some money out of the stock market even if you think it's too late.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm getting real tired of this eBay nonsense.

Once, again, I have to warn you naive folks, you new-comers out there, you just can't believe the listings. Those of you who have a little experience with highwaymen art may have laughed out loud when you read this description, but it has included a somewhat disturbing phrase, "guaranteed to be a genuine highwaymen".

here it is: http://cgi.ebay.com/HIGHWAYMEN-PAINTING-SUNSET-UPSON-BOARD-no-res_W0QQitemZ190262167789QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item190262167789&_trkparms=39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A13%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14

A guarantee from a seller experienced in selling listed artists looks pretty good.

But as we all know, looks can be deceiving. With thousands of positive feedbacks to reinforce the sellers trustworthiness, the buyer may believe he or she has bought a genuine highwaymen painting.

Oh, and just in case the buyer consults with a knowledgeable highwaymen collector or dealer, after his or her purchase, and feels a little bit misled by the guarantee, the seller added this wrinkle. "These old eyes" couldn't quite read the signature. That is a built-in excuse for the misrepresentation, which I believe was intentional. "By gosh, it sure LOOKED like one of the names on the list of 26 artists in the group."

This kind of stuff just muddies the waters of a wonderful collectibles market, causes confusion in many cases, and may have cost someone a little extra money in the end.

So there you have it, another warning for you, and a new enemy for me.

I will probably leave eBay alone for a while. As I said, I'm getting real tired of this nonsense.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sometimes I ruffle a few feathers.............

..........and it pisses someone off.

That was the case when I wrote about an eBay scam on the main website about a year ago. I titled it "Be careful out there" and reported on the electronic theft (by copy and paste, I guess) of three images of a Harold Newton River road painting that was, and still is, posted as "SOLD" on our website's Harold Newton page. The scam artist listed these images on eBay as though he had possession of the actual physical painting and offered it for sale at a fraction of it's true value for a buy-it-now. Naturally, someone hit that buy button to get an unbelievable bargain only to find out later that he'd been had. That someone was embarrassed and transferred his anger toward me, the messenger, whose sole motivation for writing the story was to alert my readers, whoever they may be, to the dangers of buying from unknown sellers on eBay. Didn't matter to him that I immediately contacted him and advised him of the situation and told him not to pay. File it under "C'est la vie".

I feel like doing some more feather ruffling now. Make some more enemies.

EBay has pushed me over the edge, again.

It's not unusual to see forgeries or counterfeit highwayman (especially H Newton) paintings on eBay on a regular basis. Sometimes it's through lack of knowledge, an innocent mistake, and sometimes the seller is just an agent for the owner, one of whom has been misinformed either intentionally or unintentionally. Innocent until proven guilty, right ? We never really know.

Often, however, the seller knows exactly what he or she is doing, and fully expects to get away with outright fraud. Why ? EBay doesn't care, number one. Number two, how could eBay possibly employ or even afford experts to monitor the eleventy billion paintings they have up for auction on any given day ? It's a good excuse, makes perfect sense.

Now, I'm not talking about the "great controversy" as to who is and who isn't a highwayman. Horace Foster can call himself a highwayman for all I care, just as Sam Newton can deny the designation. Same with the Stovalls, Myk Stalter and the like. Even the moron Billy Yeager (go ahead, someone tell me he's not a moron) can call himself a highwayman if he wants to. After all, this is the United States of America and we enjoy freedom of expression.

There exists, however, a list of 26 highwaymen artists, generated by Monroe's research for his 2001 book and subsequently carved in stone by the state of Florida for their Artists Hall of Fame.

Sorry, it's so easy to get off track. I want to address 3 paintings on eBay, one which just sold, one which is currently listed, and one which just closed but did not sell. The first is a so-called Harold Newton, Item number: 180297557595, that I believe was painted and signed H Newton (scratched in) by someone else. The style and the signature are both a just little bit off. A real nice try, though. This is my opinion, remember, but I have seen and studied at least a thousand genuine Harold Newton paintings since 1995.

Some poor bastard out there bought a very pretty hundred dollar painting for
$ 1500.00. He's not the first and I doubt he'll be the last. Here it is while it lasts : http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=180297557595

Another painting is a so-called C Walker. Item number: 230301403122, currently available. If you want a "Walmart $ 19.95 special" oil painting for
$ 4600.00, you know where to find it.
Right here : http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=230301403122

A third one just closed, another Walker, Item number: 360097248587, a pastel. It can be found in completed listings, for now, anyway. Incredibly, the listing included a certificate by a supposedly legitimate N Y appraiser, who, although a member of various national appraisal societies, obviously has not the slightest clue what she is doing in the world of highwaymen art. Here's the painting : http://cgi.ebay.com/Florida-Highwaymen-CHARLES-WALKER-Pastel-Appraisal-Cert_W0QQitemZ360097248587QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item360097248587&_trkparms=39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A13%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
Here is the professional appraiser's link regarding this particular painting, which she appraised at $2,000.00
My favorite part is where she states, "I recognized your picture immediately." These words, apparently were meant to reinforce her standing as an experienced expert in the highwaymen art market, having seen lots of pastels by these guys, especially by Charles Walker. Maybe she meant something else. Should we give her the benefit of the doubt, gentle readers ?
In all fairness, she has a pretty face, I'll give her that.
Fortunately the painting did not reach the reserve and did not sell to a collector of highwaymen.
Watch out if it is relisted.

Be careful out there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New link to story.

AARF has posted "The Original Highwayman's Self Portrait" on their website under "editorials". If you click on this link, that is where you should go.


Now you don't have to go find the little magazine someplace. The feedback I've received on the story is very gratifying, thanks for the kind words. I did actually work my ass off on it, must have re-written and fiddled with it twenty five or thirty times. Thinking back on that, it intimidates me a little to start the next one. It seems to be hard enough just to keep up with this blog. It's easy to put off.

While we've been getting rain daily around here, and plenty of it, July can be a very dry month for sales. With no shows scheduled, we did manage to sell a sweet little Backus, an exotic one no less. Dated 1944, when he was in the Navy, he titled it "Bora Bora, near Tahiti." The Captain of his vessel, an amateur artist, encouraged his painting aboard ship during his service. Executed with his knife, 14 x 11 on a piece of canvasboard, without his hand written notation on the verso, you would think it's the Indian River in Fort Pierce, cocoas blowing in the wind. You can see it on "h-buy-sell-trade.com" click on Backus.

August can be dry for my cash flow, as well, although at least we had the opportunity to display at a show in Ft Lauderdale. The show rewarded us with some sales, including a full size Sam Newton seascape. I sell awfully cheap in the summer to keep that cash flowing in, don't know a better way to do it. You'd think I could figure out a better way after all these years, but at least I know it brings results.

We also certified and appraised a very nice collection of 21 highwaymen paintings last week in Port St Lucie. More and more folks feel a need for insuring them, so they must have an "official" third party opinion of value, on paper with the identifying photograph. We haven't had an insurance company question a certificate yet, so they should continue to work for everyone, the giant company (insurance), the client, and the tiny company (us).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

show schedule 2008-2009

Yup, Amy got 'er done, posted our scheduled antique shows thru most of 2009. Now, if I can just live that long..................

Rumor has it, we may see a re-emergence of the Tallahassee show that's been dormant for a few years now.

I've been missing my Tallahassee customers, there are some pretty smart folks up there.

As the blindman said, "We shall see."

Sunday, July 20, 2008


AARF comes out twice a year, so it's not exactly quarterly, is it ?..... Duh !

Finished the show schedule, finally. Had to call a few promoters and break their hearts.

We'll post it on the website when Amy gets a round tuit.

Friday, July 11, 2008


What up, dog ? AARF, of course, is not a barking dog, but the quarterly magazine Antiques and Art Around Florida.

The latest issue, Summer-Fall, features the story that I wrote about the market history and recent sale of an important Harold Newton painting. I'm very pleased that the editors found the story interesting enough to publish, and I'm especially pleased that they didn't edit out my favorite parts, as some of my advance readers thought they might, or even should.

So go find a copy and read it.

Eventually, I think, they'll post a link to it on their website, then we'll link to it from "buy-sell-trade", too.

This morning I started to work on getting our new winter-spring show schedule set and posted on the website. Quandaries abound. Shows that I've done in the past are now competing with each other for the same weekend slots more so than in the past, it seems. The idea occurred to me that maybe I should post the show we'll be attending on a certain date and also note the competing shows we have to miss right beneath with a big NOT ATTENDING . Why bother ?
Our local customer base, as tiny as it may be in some areas, might be expecting us in Venice, but we'll be in Sanibel that particular weekend.

Then there's the problem of disappointing the promoters of the shows that we can't attend because we're giving our money to their competitors that weekend. Who to leave in, who to leave out.

I say "started" working on it because I got tired of it real fast and decided to shelf the busy-work on the schedule for now.

That's the beauty of working for oneself, you can just say "screw it" and start the weekend early.

See ya.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

real quickly and appropos of nothing........

I just wanted to honor one of my all time heroes, George Carlin, may he rest in peace.
Funniest motherfucker ever, wasn't he ?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Gotta catch up

Been too busy to write this thing the last month.

Like anyone cares, right ?

Had three shows to attend since I last posted, and was finalizing the highwaymen article I wrote for Arts and Antiques around Florida, their Summer-Fall issue. The publisher says distribution of the magazine starts the end of June and it's the 28th now, so start looking for it. I imagine there will be delays, like there always are for books.

Publicized this blogspot for the first time in that issue, as well.

First report, as promised, the St Augustine show at the armory. We enjoyed better attendance by the public than we expected compared to the last few up there. What resulted was more individual sales transactions than usual, usual meaning during the past year at an average show anywhere in Florida, east coast or west. People were loosening up a little and buying things that they don't necessarily "need". Like Florida art.

So, this was encouraging, ........................but on the flip side, out of a couple of dozen sales, only one was for a highwayman painting, and it was a new Willie for only $ 575.00.

The next weekend, though, in the Melbourne Auditorium, highwaymen art sales kicked back into gear and we sold several vintage pieces, including a jumbo Sam Newton poinciana, and an important and rare Alfonso Moran 24 x 36 upson poinciana with Backus clouds. These were both multi-thousand dollar pictures, so that's really encouraging when the public loosens up that much. Contemporary Florida landscape artists like Mitch Kolbe and Ellie Blair sold, too. Donald Rust's Florida wildlife paintings have been hot, we've sold 6 0r 8 of them recently.

And then, the first weekend in June, we went to West Palm Beach for the last DMG monthly show there until November. Like so many times before, the market came to a screeching halt, and we only sold a couple of Rusts, maybe a book and a video. Geez. ........But, no whining. We've done something like 150 shows over the years at those same fairgrounds and some of them have been spectacular, even recently. The attendance was fine, just the wrong people, tire kickers and brain pickers. Not like you, gentle reader.

I got that "gentle reader" stuff from Stephen King.

So as not to leave on a negative note, although our next exposure at a show is not until Ft Lauderdale in August, I should be posting some thoughts here more often .

I've got some amusing stories to share, about people and artists and the highways and I unashamedly solicit yours.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


All right, I'm just feeling this out, this blogging thing. I can't wait to see what direction it goes in. I hope someone will find it and ask a sensible question.
I want to get some good discussions going, because there are a ton of highwayman stories out there, God knows, I've heard a thousand of them.

I'm not really sure how to do this yet, get questions etc from you out there, the public, but I think it starts with sending me an email to my regular email address hwymnbnb@aol.com.
At least say something interesting and let's get this thing going.

Amy has posted a link to this site on our main website www.highwaymen-buy-sell-trade.com.

Looking forward to a setting up a double booth at the antique show in St Augustine this coming weekend. Summer's coming and shows will be scarce. I'll post the results of that, good or bad, but I'm not gonna turn into a whiner, I promise you. Sometimes we meet the right people at these shows and sell a few highwaymen paintings. And sometimes we don't.

When we have a poor show, I just always blame the media for relentlessly harping on how bad we have it right now and how expensive it is to leave your front porch.. Hey, it's gotta be someone's fault, right ? Oh, and I blame the oil companies, too. I wish there was a realistic way to screw them back like they're screwing all of us.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Keeping up with the times

I'm trying to keep up with the amazing communication age that we have now become accustomed to. Seems I need a blog.
I'm old school, a child of the fifties and sixties. Yes, we had computers when I was in high school, but they were as big as a tractor trailer then. NASA and the Pentagon had the fast ones.
Now I have a fast one.
We're gonna talk about Florida highwaymen art, the artists, the dealers, the deals, the customers, the scam artists, the stories and whatever you readers write in about.
I don't like the idea of censorship, but I'm gonna be the final arbiter as to what gets posted.
And I'm gonna use gonna instead of going to. Some rules are made to be broken.
This is a start, May 10, 2008, and this is all for now.
Next step is to post a link from my website http://www.highwaymen-buy-sell-trade.com/.