Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone

and a happy and prosperous New Year .

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Florida Highwaymen Art

Finally got around to joining "LinkedIn".

Figured I ought to share it with the three or four of you who actually read this blog. Might get some insight as to why I am the way I am.

"I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam".

If you're young, you probably never heard of Popeye the sailor man, toot, toot

Starts here.

My experience and knowledge are reflected in the loyalty of my retail customers. My integrity and ethics are reflected in my repeat business within the trade.My goal has always been to professionally provide a quality product or service at a fair price and to make a fair profit in the process.. This has been true since 1973

There exists no dealer or collector with more experience in researching and trading within Florida's highwaymen art market.

owner at
Fine Art industry
1995 – Present (15 years)

As a private dealer our works are shown by appointment and displayed at numerous antique and fine art shows throughout the state of Florida.
Sales and marketing is directed to both retail and trade audiences.
We offer fine art appraisal, certificates of authenticity, attribution and appraisal for Florida highwaymen and related art.
Consultation, brokerage, collection counsel and representation for private, corporate and institutional clientele.

owner at leblanc numismatics
Investment Management rare coin industry
1975 – 1995 (20 years)

Established and operated simultaneously two retail coin shop storefronts in downtown Boston located at 36 Province St. and 50 Bromfield St.Professional numismatist specializing in high grade United States gold, silver and copper coins pre-1965.
Wrote a study of Indian cents establishing rarity and market value for CDN (the Grey Sheet) Sept. 1980.
Traveled US attending numismatic conventions and auctions to buy, sell and trade on a full time basis.
Graded coins for both NGC and PCGS in their formative years on a part time basis.
With all my national numismatic contacts still in place, I can currently offer expert consultation on appraisal and liquidation of rare coins for Attorneys handling estates. Having operated a retail storefront in downtown Boston for over a decade, my range of knowledge includes coins, medals, paper money and exonumia of the world from any era. My specialty within US gold coins is focused on the St. Gaudens twenty dollar gold series, 1907 to 1933.

Vice President and Manager at John Dean Coin Co. 31 Bromfield St Boston
Luxury Goods (rare coins) & Jewelry industry
1973 – 1975 (2 years)

Opened and operated a storefront retail and wholesale rare coin shop in the financial district of downtown Boston. Oversaw satellite shops in Watertown, MA and Providence, RI.


Boston University - School of Management
BS, Behavioral Science
1967 – 1971

Cornell University
Hotel Administration
1966 – 1967
Loved the experience of Ithaca but found that HA was the wrong field for me.
Plus it was wicked hard. Wicked hard.
Activities and Societies: Student Agencies, Chi Psi fraternity, Alpha Psi.

Additional Information

My Website
My Blog

Groups and Associations:
Life member # 2418 American Numismatic Association.
Founder : Mass Association of Coin Dealers

Personal Information
727 809 1691 (Mobile)

Interested In:

consulting offers
expertise requests
business deals


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Make up your own highwaymen list, Part 2.

As I surf around, seeing what Highwaymen news might be out there.......
........this from a little old, but it's out here for the world to see.

Make up your own list, part 2. ...or.............
Muddy the waters of the market and cause confusion for the sake of self-promotion.

New additions to the list by a few of the self-proclaimed highwaymen, including the first time I've heard of AJ Brown.

Here it is:

"The original paintings are on display at the Official and Legendary Highwaymen Art Galleries in the Arcade Building in Fort Pierce.
Paintings by Florida Highwaymen AJ Brown, Mary Ann Carroll, Isaac Knight, RA McLendon Sr., RA McLendon Jr., Willie Reagan, Jimmy Stovall, Johnny Stovall and Norman Wright will be available at the live auction. Highwaymen paintings are prized by collectors and art aficionados. The works generate both excitement and high prices at auctions and the artists have a loyal following as their popularity continues to rise. Excitement continues to build as the new collection specifically created for the 2009 event, "Opening our Doors to your Loved Ones," is now featured on-line."

Now..........why would anyone not believe the word "OFFICIAL" ?

It's a good, solid, trust inducing word, "official".

I mean, Billy Yeager claims to be the "official highwaymen curator".

Google him for an exercise in mindless rambling rhetoric and blatant self promotion via riding the highwaymen art bandwagon. (In addition to this blatant self promotion and mindless rambling, of course).
He claims to be the ONLY PERSON IN THE WORLD who knows a genuine highwayman painting from a copy. Everyone else who deals in these things, everyone else, is screwing the public. Better check with him.

" Jesus of Malibu", no arrogance emerges there, right ? A good healthy ego.

Oh, does he have a highwaymen film for sale ?
And it's only $ 30,000.00 ?

I wonder why it hasn't been sold after all these years of offering it on the internet.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Doesn't this give you a warm fuzzy feeling ?

I imagine that federal employees who collect highwaymen art are in the minority, so it probably won't offend too many of my readers that I don't quite understand how this makes sense.

But then, I don't understand how a lot of Congressional economic decisions make sense.

Where is Robin Hood when we really need him ?

from AOL and

More Federal Workers Make Six Figures in the Recession
Filed Under:Economy, Deficit

The number of federal employees making over $100,000 per year has exploded in the first 18 months of the recession, USA Today reports, sending the total percentage from 14 percent to 19 percent. The highest-paid federal workers are seeing the largest increases: In the same period, the number of civil servants making over $150,000 jumped from 1,868 to 10,100. When the recession began, only one person at the Department of Transportation was making over $170,000. Eighteen months later, 1,690 employees do.The skyrocketing federal pay is systematic, reaching every level in every agency. Congress approved across-the-board raises of 3 percent in January 2008 and 3.9 percent in January 2009. President Obama has recommended 2 percent pay raises in January 2010, the smallest since 1975. Most federal employees get "steps" -- pay increases based on length of service -- that can run up to 1.5 percent per year.Several laws have made it easier to raise federal workers' salaries, particularly the National Security Pay Scale, which allows the Defense Department to award merit-based salary increases. And while many agencies prohibit employees from making more than the agency's head, increases in bosses' pay has allowed earnings to rise for everyone below.

Friday, December 11, 2009

So ....... happy Chanukah

So ....... happy Chanukah.

So........ always remember, a Jew disconnected from his roots and ignorant or unappreciative of his heritage is ready prey for the foreign waters that offer to quench his spiritual thirst.

I know these things as an "honorary" Jew since 1973, the honor bestowed upon me by the reigning Jews on the streets of Downtown Boston, in the heart of the financial district where the 7 storefront shops for rare coins, bullion, and most importantly the two high rise Jewelers buildings on Washington St. gleam in the shadow of the State House at the corner of the Boston Common.

My gift was from Myron Berton, Goldman, Goldstone, Leventhal, Kracov, Jack Stone, Sam Stone, Joe and Shirley Lipson, Herb Melnick, and even young Bruce Kutcher, (who is immortalized in my 1975 wedding pictures in a splendid pale green bell bottom jump-suit a la Elvis, complimented by a matching sombrero pimp hat).

Each and every one of them a sharp old school Jewish businessman.

Ah, the lessons I learned in nine years on Bromfield Street buying and selling have allowed me to keep dis bidness, this game of knowledge, running for like thirty more years.

Buy low, sell high, keep your word.

And always appear to be a mensch.

Know what I'm sayin' ?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiger's in Florida, right ? And in the news, right?

And I imagine most everyone has been inundated with the story of the Thanksgiving evening car crash, on private property, in Windmere Florida. If you follow sports news, as I do, you can't escape it.

Personally, I'm mostly disgusted by the "enquiring minds want to know" atmosphere that seems to be permeating our society. I don't watch Inside Edition, or TMZ, or any of that other crap that glorifies celebrity gossip and scandal. I'm big on personal privacy. Real big.

Tiger and Elin's personal lives are not my concern or any of my business. I'm sure everyone has their own take on the situation and they are certainly entitled to their opinions.

There has arisen a burning question in my mind, however, and it deeply concerns me. I have seen it raised in the media only once, but I imagine as time goes on we'll see it agin. Or not.

I hereby copy and paste what I just read in "Fanhouse" or some link connected to it.

What if we reverse the situation and Tiger is standing above a bleeding Elin holding a golf club after she's just wrecked her car?

Tiger's in jail, right?

I think it's pretty fascinating how society has a complete double standard when it comes to domestic disputes (of course, there's no proof that there was a dispute of any kind involved here, and Tiger has denied being physically attacked by his wife). The wife attacks the husband and we think it's funny.

The husband attacks the wife and we want him locked up and the key thrown into the Atlantic.

Does that really make sense?

I don't advocate domestic violence of any sort, nor do I advocate marital infidelity.

I do, howevah, advocate equal rights, or something along those lines.

This episode with the Woods family has caused a lot of questions to be raised, but I think this one may be the most important.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

News you may have missed

From the Treasure Coast Palm online news........

Both the Backus Gallery and Museum and Kelvin Hair representing "the highwaymen" have applied for public funds from tourism tax coffers.

As I understand it, the available money by law can only go an entity which will attract even more tourism, which of course, should generate even more tourism tax dollars.

So, teachers, firemen and police officers don't get a direct shot at these funds, but theoretically, increasing tourism in the area should generate additional taxes which could be used to help fund improvements to these more necessary county obligations.

Ah, politics and cash flow.

I have no comment other than to say what I know to be true.

"Politics is a tricky business."

Copied and pasted from TC Palm :

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — A $411,000 pot of money accumulated from St. Lucie County’s 5 percent tourist development tax is up for grabs, with a Jan. 15 deadline for applications approaching.
At least three organizations so far have told the county commission they deserve a piece of the tax proceeds to spend on facilities to increase tourism in St. Lucie County: the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, the A.E. Backus Museum and Gallery, and the Florida Highwaymen Artists and History Center.
The money comes from a portion of the tax levied on accommodations rented for six months or less. It was set aside by the St. Lucie County Commission for tourist-related facilities located north of Midway Road.
Most of the rest of the tax goes to pay the county’s share of costs for the New York Mets spring training stadium in St. Lucie West and tourism advertising.
State law requires tourist tax money to be used only on specific types of tourism-related programs or facilities.
The 31-page application and guidelines for a grant from the accumulated tax revenues is available on the county’s website, The St. Lucie County Commission will make a decision in March.
The loosely associated group of Florida landscape artists known as The Highwaymen are seeking money for the new Florida Highwaymen Artists and History Center, said Kelvin Hair, a second-generation Highwayman artist and son of the late Florida Artists Hall of Fame artist Alfred Hair. A location hasn’t been determined.
“We started out in Fort Pierce, yet, as of now we do not have a home,” Kelvin Hair told the St. Lucie County Commission in October.
The Highwaymen have been the subject of numerous articles, seven books, two documentaries, and Hair and his mentor Johnny Daniels appeared on the Today show in July. Daniels passed away before he could see the show. Elise Rollins, executive director of Lincoln Park Main Street, said the decline of the citrus industry that created the jobs which supported the community business district left business owners looking for a way to bring new life to the area.
“We feel we have found such an economic engine in the Highwaymen,” she said. “We must utilize our own assets if we are to be a viable community again.”
The A.E. Backus Gallery and Museum, which opened in 1960 with the help of private donations, has never asked for public funds, said Executive Director Kathleen Fredrick.
“You could call us the ultimate boot-strapping organization,” she said.
Plans call for a 15,000 to 17,000 square foot expansion of the current facility on the edge of Veteran’s Memorial Park in Fort Pierce, she told the county commission last month.
The expansion would include the first office space they’ve ever had, Fredrick said, climate control suitable for a museum of fine art which will allow them to become accredited by the American Association of Museums classroom space, room for a permanent exhibit of Highwaymen and Indian River School paintings, and a gallery showing Florida artists.
Outdoors, Fredrick said, plans call for a sculpture garden, benches, a fountain “and a place for people to give their dog a drink. We are always asked by people if we can give them some water for their dog.”
The museum draws thousands of people to the area, she said.

I make no judgments on who deserves the money. I'll leave that up to you, gentle reader.

I will say, however, I do not want dogs to be thirsty.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free appraisals................

........are worth exactly what you pay for them.

It's an old saying, but it's damn sure the truth.

Not to give away secrets, but here's how I take care of the countless requests I get every week. Believe me when I tell ya, there are a LOT of highwaymen paintings out there.

I cannot allow my time to be consumed by giving away free information.

It's taken me 15 years to learn what I know about highwaymen art, and 40 years of running my own business to learn what I know about people and how to deal with them.

Here's a copy paste of an email from yesterday and today:

In a message dated 11/18/2009 3:49:06 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,

David writes:

Hello, I have an original Alfred Hair painting that I am interested in selling. I was wondering what you would offer.
Attached are some photo's of the painting
Thank you,
David _____

Bob writes:

Subject: Re: Alfred Hair ~ Painting for sale
Hello David.

I don't make offers.

I'll appraise and certify it for you for $100.00 fee.
There is an example on my website.

How much would you sell it for if you don't want an appraisal.?
Get all your offers from everyone else you can find on the internet and decide.

Then I'll say yes or no.

regards, BOB

David writes:

Hello Bob, We are interested in an appraisal.
What would that value represent? Our re-sale or the amount that you would possibly purchase it for. When would you like to do the appraisal?
The painting is here in our office.
Our office is located at: ____________

Bob writes:

Hi, and thanks.

The value I put on the cert is based on submitting it to an insurance company for replacement, so I fix the number at approximate fair retail plus about 50 % or more.

But I also inform you of liquid value (my buy price), fair wholesale, fair retail asking price and fair retail settlement sale price in a separate email.

In your case, as in many I have done, I don't need to physically inspect it unless I'm going to buy it and lay out cash. I can tell it's a legit piece at this point from the images, which are excellent.

I'll probably ask you a few questions regarding the condition, signed lower left or right, whatever makes sense.............

I know it seems like a lot of numbers, five different, but they all make sense in a buy and sell market.

If you think that'll work for your needs, send me a check to:

Bob LeBlanc, ----------my address-------------

Let me know.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Florida art at it's finest.

Reflections: Paintings of Florida 1865 – 1965
From the Collection of Cici and Hyatt Brown

at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach

Book About the Exhibition
A 200-page hard cover catalogue will accompany the exhibition. This volume, Reflections: Paintings of Florida 1865-1965 From the Collection of Cici and Hyatt Brown is a fresh look at the ‘Florida school of painters’ and at the aesthetic pleasure and the historical and social significance which is reflected in a representative selection of paintings from the larger Brown Collection.
The book’s author, Gary R. Libby “hopes that this volume and the treasures it contains will contribute to the heightened public interest and enjoyment in the art, history and culture of Florida, including its important yet often overlooked role in the genesis of the visual arts in the South.”

I began my personal journey into the world of Florida Art in 1995, so I find this to be somewhat ironic.
Is that the right word ? Ironic ?.....Maybe it was fate, or more likely coincidence......Anyway, I am going to look into purchasing a case of these books with the intention of offering them to my customers for a little discount, if at all possible. The preview looks simply MAGNIFICENT.

So, email me at if you want to get on my list and I'll save you a copy, or ship you one when I get the details and release date. Should be this weekend.

Or visit I might post something there, I don't know yet.

I began my relationship with the Museum of Arts and Sciences by buying a copy of the Vickers Collection book by Gary Libby in 1995 for the purpose of using it as a sales tool at the antique shows where I displayed my inventory of Florida art for sale. A couple of years later I purchased several cases of the fresh, new Libby book, now out of print, Coast to Coast, the Contemporary Landscape in Florida. I would sell the book by itself, or I would gift it to my customers who purchased paintings from my inventory by the artists listed in the book. Most of the time I would carry works by Mitch Kolbe (the dust jacket cover-boy), Sally Boswell, John Stanford, Ellie Blair and the ever popular and prolific St. Augustine artist Emmett Fritz. I went through so many books that they recognized my voice when I would call to order another case. Eventually I bought their last two cases from the museum's warehouse and finally emptied the coffers of their retail store by buying their last five or six copies.

From the new book by Libby and in conjunction with the exhibition of the collection being exhibited at Daytona's Museum of Arts and Sciences:

I simply copied and pasted it. If it's copyrighted and I shouldn't have, then I imagine I'll hear from them.
I'll oftentimes just jump on things and then see what happens.
Know what I'm sayin', gentle reader ?

"In 1995, the year of Florida’s sesquicentennial - 150th birthday- as a state,little had been written about its art. Then in rather fast succession books and articles began to appear that cataloged little-known but important private and public collections of Florida art, while telling a part of story about the birth, development and flowering of serious art in Florida.Today both not-for-profit institutions and private individuals who actively collect Florida art have helped to stimulate, through exhibitions and publications, a need to know more about the art and artists who have captured, and continue to capture in paintings, the rich and diverse geography, people and customs of Florida.
Within that tradition of investigation and inquiry is Reflections:Paintings of Florida 1865-1965 drawn from the large and impressive collection of Cici and Hyatt Brown."

I am seriously excited about this book. It is LOADED with Florida masterpieces.


OK, it's later Tuesday morning now, and I have the first case being shipped here, so I should have them in time for the Stuart show next week.

I can't wait to smell that new book smell.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dueling events today.

These highwaymen festivals and celebrations and extravaganzabos are so plentiful now that we have DUELING EVENTS today.................

Today, folks, if you get movin fast, you have a chance at a highwaymen overdose.

First go here and click #1

Then you can start reading................

Event # 1 Go here to Fort Pierce (souvenir t-shirts available)

Event # 2 Go there to Cape Canaveral (food, booze and music available)

Biker and Blues Bash
November 15, 2009
Milliken's Reef
683 Dave Nisbet Drive
Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920




Not that it has anything to do with the highwaymen, but my spellcheck on this blog tells me McLendon is wrong, but Issac is OK. Go figure.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Ft Pierce obelisk

Here's the story, the obelisk is official. Add another highwaymen celebration to the list.

"Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music......."

Any publicity is good for our little market. Any publicity at all.

from the story:
"City Commissioner Reggie Sessions encouraged residents to see the lights shining on the obelisk at night because he said Avenue D has less crime, drugs and prostitution than it did 10 years ago."

One way to look at this statement from Commissioner Sessions : Ten years ago there was a better chance than there is now to get mugged while you were trolling Avenue D for a hooker and maybe a little crack cocaine. It's safer now with less crime than there was, but keep your head up and your wits about you while you enjoy the obelisk.

Here's the photo gallery. I think I spy some highwaymen who aren't officially listed highwaymen but say that they were highwaymen and still are. Oh well, this controversy has been going on for the last eight years.

Throw away Monroe's list of 26 and make up your own.

Start by taking Sam Newton off the list. If you don't believe me, ask him yourself. He's easily found.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sometimes it's fun...................... just read some of the nonsense that is stated on eBay as fact from an "art dealer" who implies that what he's telling us is factual. That he knows what he's talking about. Remember this is a seller with over 1000 positive feedbacks at 100% satisfaction.

As the policeman of the highwaymen market, I feel an obligation to straighten folks out from time to time. This is one of those times.

In "cyber-talk" it's time to LOL or SMH (shake my head).
Actually, it's 5:30 Friday and time to crack that first ice cold Bud Light.

Here's looking at you, gentle reader.


Seller info
mine! ( 1078) --

Time left:
6 days 23 hours (Nov 20, 200913:37:41 PST)
Item condition:
Yes it is signed and I will post more pictures of the painting and signature when I get home tonight! That is, unless someone uses "BUY IT NOW!"first, then I'm done! This is an Oil on Canvas Original! Remember, Sam is Harold Newton’s son, who was only a small boy in the fifties and early sixties when they were mostly creating their paintings on old building materials (Upsom board). Upsom board was used in "afforable"houses as a soffit material under the eaves of a roof. They painted rarely on canvas board because it was so expensive at any art supply stores. They did paint on masonite board quite regularly, but it wasn’t preferred because it will not hold a nailed “door trim” homemade frame to it. Upsom board easily nailed to the wood frame, and has a nice texture to paint on.

Sam had the benefit of his daddy’s money and could buy the canvas, and it was also a favorite gift for him at Christmas. This painting most probably was done under the direction of his father, Harold Newton, and it has been suspected by other knowledgeable art collectors who have seen this painting that Harold might have even painted the focal point (distant) Palm tree himself, and this painting is one of the very first Sam Newton paintings. I have been told this painting actually might have hung in their own house for a time, because the frame is original, and very much a late 1950’s style. If so, they must have been very proud of little Sam.

"Proud of little Sam" Gotta love it, given he had Daddy's money, too.

I emailed the seller through the system and attempted to politely correct him.

Sometimes these sellers get really pissed when I challenge their knowledge.

Here's what I sent the seller via the eBay system :

Dear mine!, Sam is Harold's brother. He began painting with his brother in the 1960's. He is alive and painting today, as well as selling his work directly on eBay. Whoever told you the interesting nonsense that you state in the listing is "full of "misinformation". BOB

For the full listing, go here.

Someone hit the Buy it Now option, so it is now in completed listings.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Press release................

What could be better than free advertising ?

In conjunction with promoting the December West Palm Beach antique show, a press release has been sent to umpteen news websites and print media for immediate publication.

Fred Taylor, author of the "Furniture Detective", has written a flattering account of our availability at this venue. I especially appreciate his use of the word "awesome".

He's right, of course.

Most of the art I buy to exhibit at these shows I attend around the state is, in fact, AWESOME.

Here's the link to a ton of those websites.

I'm not into antique furniture, but if you are, here's the link to his book. I bet it's excellent. Probably awesome.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A positive thing in the news........

From AOL:
Faced with lurking dangers to the budding recovery, Federal Reserve policymakers are sure to leave a key interest rate at a record low to entice Americans to spend more and help the economic turnaround gain traction.The economy started to grow again last quarter for the first time in more than a year.

From Bob:
I, too, would like to entice you to spend more.

See you in West Palm this weekend ? I promise to display enticing things.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Donald Rust

D. L. Rust, the artist whose wildlife oil paintings I love to buy, (I've bought and sold over a hundred, I think) has painted a John Perry sculpture for us. He's a good friend and has refused to charge us for it. In fact, it was such a good deal, I sent him another one, so I have one for my permanent personal collection and one for sale.

ISN'T THAT GREAT, READERS ? Everybody say "Yeah!"

The good news (for you, not me) is I forgot to bring it to Gainesville (Univ of Florida Gator country)last weekend for the antique show I did up there, or it would have been sold for sure.

Anyway, this thing is a great paperweight, or a desk ornament. The gator looks real (the original sculpture before Rust worked on it was a faux ivory made of resin). The gator is about 12" long mounted on a slightly larger natural cypress base.

Christmas is coming people. This would make a great gift.

Are you a UF Gator fan ? Ladies, is your attorney husband a UF Law School graduate ? Gentlemen, is your wife a UF Law School graduate ? Or a Medical School graduate ?

Or do you just like alligators in general ? They fascinate me, cold blooded prehistoric monsters in every pond and puddle in Florida. How cool is that ?

I'm offering it with free shipping anywhere in the United states for $ 190.00 firm.

I price his paintings (Rust's) at $375.00, and when a customer gets serious and asks for the "best price", I come down to $300.00. Then I offer two different for $ 500.00.

Donald Rust's work has been purchased by the SMITHSONIAN, and has been featured in the National Gallery.

Jeez, if he's good enough for the Smithsonian, he ought to be good enough for YOU, gentle reader.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Gover-nator, although a Republican... my kind of guy for approving this message. I'm pretty sure one of his "people" came up with it, but so what? Arnold rocks, even if he talks funny. And Maria used to be sooooo hot.
I just love it.

Highwaymen stuff:

In other news, Harold Newton's work is good to buy, especially right now, if it's not a plain, nothing, boring painting. Find paintings that have some "jump" to them.

That's what I look for, gentle readers. Better ones.

Otherwise, you really are just buying an autograph.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Larry is free !!!

I think I could eat an 11 pound lobster. Not at one sitting, though, but I could do it in two or three.|htmlws-sb-n|dl5|link3|

A guy named Pablo painted this stuff.............

You think Harold Newton's work is expensive ?

Like them or not, (I don't, which is totally irrelevant), Picasso's work is worth ridiculous numbers, often in the millions.

As an aside, things signed Picasso often show up on eBay, America's fence. They are never genuine. I'd give you some links to prove it, but just trust me.

If they were genuine, they wouldn't be on eBay, they'd go to Christie's or Sotheby's and get serious money realized.

Here's a yard sale story from AOL this morning.

AOL News
posted: 14 HOURS 18 MINUTES AGO

(Oct. 27) -- It may be the bargain of a lifetime. At a yard sale earlier this month, a woman from Shreveport, La., paid just $2 for a painting with a famous name on it: Picasso.
Tiesha McNeal told KSLA-TV that after she bought the painting, she saw that it bore the last name of the Spanish artist and she called the FBI.
Skip over this content

What drew McNeal to the work? "The colors, they're bright colors. It's kind of different. The way that the artist did it, it just kind of caught my eye," she said. "It looks like a woman, with a guitar or possibly a baby."
McNeal had a KSLA camera crew with her when she arrived at the home of the sellers, Edith and Jim Parker, to tell them how valuable the object might have been.
"It makes me sick that I sold it for $2," a shocked Edith Parker said.
Later, Parker told ABC News that she held the garage sale to help out the relatives of an elderly neighbor who had just died. The neighbor was an art collector, and Parker said she asked the relatives about the Picasso signature. They told her it was a fake, she said.
"I kept looking at this picture and said, 'Well it don't look like much,' and it was in this cheap little frame," Parker told ABC.
McNeal told KSLA that the FBI now has the painting. The bureau wouldn't comment on artwork's status to ABC or the local station. But ABC reported that the FBI said the painting is not on a national list of stolen art. And in an interview with KSLA, a local art professor expressed skepticism that the painting was genuine.
2009 AOL LLC. All Rights Reserved.
2009-10-27 12:33:35

Make your own judgments, but what struck me about the many disturbing things in this story is how the media (ABC News) went right to the source to inform the seller and then (gleefully I'm sure) to wallow in the seller's possible misery.

If you get AOL you can see a video interview of the buyer, the sellers, and a local art expert.
I haven't figured out how to post videos on this blog yet.

Everyone on it seems a little goofy, but maybe that's just me being too judgmental.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

update: additional results for America's fence

Scroll down to Oct 15. The forgery sold.

The buyer has given a positive feedback. These things, once again, astonish me, and they also make me wonder whether or not there was an ACTUAL LEGITIMATE transaction here.

copied and pasted from eBay feedback :

Feedback From Buyer / Price Date / Time
Very pleased with purchase. Item arrived quickly & safe! gregnbeck ( 464) Oct-28-09 11:08
Highwaymen Painting..H.Newton..Florida Scene..LOOK (#360198422408) US $400.00

once again here's the link while the image lasts :

Click here: Highwaymen Painting..H.Newton..Florida Scene..LOOK - eBay (item 360198422408 end time Oct-21-09 17:34:34 PDT)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The son of Alfred Hair.......

Kelvin Hair has constructed a beautiful new website.

If you click on highwaymen, the info is concise and to the point.
The same with clicking on Alfred Hair info, his dad.
As any fool can plainly see, Kelvin is also a very accomplished artist.

Here's the site:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Actual highwaymen info.........surprise

Found this today and thought I'd finally say something about highwaymen rather than my usual nonsense.
I offered a comment and have included it after the Editor's story.

I'm not sure the image will post here. I checked. No, it won't.

It's the sailboat Harold on my website that is pictured.

The Highwaymen
Posted by editor
May 1, 2009
The “Highwaymen” is a tag given to a loose-knit group of self-taught African American artists painting on the East coast of Florida; scenes of wind-bent palm trees, sand, surf, billowing clouds and vivid sunsets that were the essentials of Florida landscape painting that emerged following World War II. The name derived from their unique marketing strategy that consisted of traveling the highways and byways of central Florida to sell their paintings out of the back of their cars.
It is thought that they number some 20 artists that are still living, however for the most part many are unknown and have never received credit for their contribution to Florida’s art tradition. During these decades this group of friends, relatives and neighbors produced and sold an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 landscape paintings for $10 to $35 a piece, so the paintings were readily affordable to the average middle-class white worker.
They created an awareness of and appreciation for Florida regional landscape art and have encouraged what is considered the Indian River school of painting. They learned to paint by observation and practice; perhaps with a natural, untraditional lifestyle of marginalized and impoverished bent – however, painting for them was perceived a being a way out of the fields and groves.
This somewhat eclectic style of Florida landscape paintings were usually done on Upsom board or Masonite with whatever materials were at hand, including house paint. These paintings today sell and resell upwards from $1000; and, as these artists developed their talents and skills they gained respectable reputations and some still retain the highway marketing technique of promoting their artwork directly to the art collector.
Featured above is an oil painting by Harold Newton (1934-1994) on Upsom board measuring 30×48 inches executed in the 1960’s. It was the first highwayman painting to reach $10,000 when it sold in 2001.
Leave a comment...
Thanks for finding my website and using it for a reference. Here is some additional provenance for the readers of your blog. The Harold Newton sailboat painting that you have pictured as an example was brought to the Scott's show in Atlanta by a dealer from Maine (ay-yuh, been thay-uh) in 2001. A patent attorney and experienced antique picker bought it from the Mainer for $1,000.00, and since I had been teaching him about the highwaymen for several months, ( we attended every monthly show there for about two years) he showed it to me. I offered him $5,000.00 and he sold it. A couple of weeks before the NY Times article was published, I re-sold it for $10,000.00 to a so-called collector who was really a dealer. Word spread fast in the market and the writer of the Times article heard of it, then stated in print that Newton and Hair paintings were valued at $1,000.00 to $10,000.00. The article gave the entire nation a full color look at a burgeoning art market as well as establishing serious value for the two most important artists of the genre.

The sailboat painting has changed hands twice since then and currently resides in the Otto Collection. It is plated in the Enns book.

regards, readers of , Bob LeBlanc
Visit http://www.highwaymen-buy-sell-trade/. Read my blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here we go again.....


Highwaymen Painting..H.Newton..Florida Scene..LOOK

Click here: Highwaymen Painting..H.Newton..Florida Scene..LOOK - eBay (item 360198422408 end time Oct-21-09 17:34:34 PDT)

I emailed the Illinois seller (296 positive feedbacks, 100%) thru the eBay ask a question service as follows:
Dear moldysoldies,The experts will tell you this is an obvious forgery. I hope you have no money invested. Perhaps your reputation is invested however.BOB

We'll see what happens next, I guess.

No more guessing.

UPDATE Oct 21, 2009

Highwaymen Painting..H.Newton..Florida Scene..LOOK
Item condition:
Oct 21, 200917:34:34 PDT
Bid history:
1 bid
Winning bid:
US $400.00
$15.98UPS GroundSee more services See all details
Estimated delivery within 3-8 business days
No Returns Accepted

There you have it. Someone with very little taste in art is now screwed out of $400.00.
I qualify that by stating, if this buyer really really loves the painting, then I'm sure they are happy to hang it and display it for all visitors to enjoy.
It's not like there aren't a thousand Harold Newton art images to look at and compare on the internet.


These things that happen just astonish me. A two dollar yard sale painting with a forged H Newton signature sells for $ 400.00.

America's Fence strikes again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hogs, guns, and nine year old girls.

Yup, this is Florida. Not only are we getting overrun by six foot dinosaurs, pythons and the usual native snakes and gators, but now there's a problem with wild hogs.

The Florida solution ? Put guns in the hands of nine year old girls and send them out to blast the hogs straight into hell where they belong.

I personally have nothing against hogs, it's armadillos that give me headaches, digging holes without end and rooting around in my yard and making the dog go through the screen after them.

I also have nothing against nine year old girls and I have nothing against guns.
American citizens certainly have the right to bear arms.

It just somehow seems a little off kilter.

Oh, and of course, blame the Spanish for the problem

Here's the story copied from somewhere on AOL.

Wild hogs aren't native to Florida. They are thought to have been brought to the area by Spanish explorers, according to the SWFWMD. They root with their broad snouts to find food, which can greatly damage habitats.
"The District only allows hogs to be controlled through hunts when the damage they cause is at unacceptable levels, and damage is occurring more frequently and with increasing severity," the management district said.
Young hunters had to submit an essay about why they wanted to participate in the events scheduled for Oct. 17 and Oct. 24 at the Edward W. Chance Reserve's Gilley Creek Tract.
Cecilia Plummer, 9, of St. Petersburg, plans to hunt, she told the newspaper.
"They're creepy," she said of the hogs. She learned to shoot during a recent camping trip.
Each young hunter must be accompanied by an adult, and their guns must remain unloaded until they arrive at their hunting site.
Not everyone supports the idea.
"We don't think having a young child shoot an animal and watch that animal die before his or her eyes is a positive thing in any way," said Nick Atwood, the spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

Friday, October 2, 2009

appraisals and authentication

I have been declining offers to appraise and authenticate the newer work by the surviving highwaymen who are currently painting and marketing their work.

With canvas transfers such as this:

Item number: 250507325072

now being offered on eBay, I will now accept new paintings on canvas for physical inspection to determine exactly what they are.

Also, I know that there are quite a few giclee prints of Livingston Roberts' work, so I see a more pressing need for the naive collector to be protected from possible misrepresentation of these products.

I am not claiming that transfers, prints and giclees are worthless, far from it. They are, in fact, an opportunity for a collector to get a very affordable decorative piece of art by a favorite artist.

The true value of an original oil painting is considerably higher than that of a reproduction of the same scene. Scammers and crooks, of course, know this and use it to their advantage. EBay is a favorite place to misrepresent prints as original art, and it occurs much more often than you even want to know. If you think it's unusual, well.........dream on.

It takes a trained "eye" to determine the subtle differences in most cases. I've got that covered for you if you wish to take advantage.

Therefore I now offer to examine new paintings, or what LOOK LIKE new paintings by the highwaymen and issue certificates.

The fee will be the standard $ 100.00 per piece for my expert opinion.

Needless to say, you don't need this service if you are buying Robert Lewis's $ 75.00 five by sevens, but you might consider the service for a Roberts or McLendon with rare elements.

As "Protector of the Naive", I may sound a little arrogant, but keep this in mind, gentle reader, I am here for two reasons. To help you and to make a living as I do so.

No one, make that NO ONE, has more experience in this market.

I've seen a lot of highwaymen paintings, and a lot of art in general, but remember the words of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler:
"You ain't seen nuthin' til you're down on a muffin."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alfred Hair

I've seen an awful lot of unsigned Alfred Hair paintings at this point, maybe a hundred, maybe more. I no longer find it to be unusual. It was less than important to have a signature on these things forty years ago, it was only important to get 'em painted and sold.

I happen to have two unsigned Hair 24x36's, available right now, that the Tysons (remember them ?) have consigned to me to sell for them.

Occasionally, a little while after I sell one from inventory, the Twilight Zone effect comes into play, dimensions shift, life and the after-life intermingle, and these very same paintings appear on eBay with signatures. I have no idea how many times they have changed hands since I sold them, but................

I can document at least three such instances.

I felt it was my duty, as a protector of the naive, to fight the good fight and do what I could to get them removed from their listings, so far, successfully.
( I pause now to pat myself on the back.)
I'm not the police, but is fraudulent to forge signatures.

There is a fairly nice unsigned four footer on eBay right now. Scroll way down on the listing to see a special offer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another real quick one

Struck me funny. Maybe you, too ?

from SarahKSilverman
I feel pretty lucky. Thousands of people die every day and it's never me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A quickie : A headline today

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to St Pete.

St. Petersburg firefighters accidentally run over victim they were sent to help
By Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer In Print: Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beanie's place

This is certainly the lazy man's way of doing it, but I want to share this in case you missed it.
Copied and pasted directly from the Treasure Coast Palm.


ST. LUCIE COUNTY — During his lifetime, A.E. “Bean” Backus refused to allow the small art gallery on the Fort Pierce riverfront to bear his name.
The gallery wasn’t about him, he argued, it was a showcase for all local artists.
Now about to open its doors for a 50th season, these days the gallery’s reputation is inextricably linked with the Backus name. It’s the place that keeps his artistic and personal legacy alive.
“He was the most generous man I’ve ever known, a genuinely good human being,” said gallery Director Kathleen Fredrick, who spent much of her youth hanging around Backus’ studio.
But how do you do communicate that and his incredible talent almost 20 years after the man’s death?
“Our mission is to tell Bean’s story and to explain his artistic legacy,” Fredrick said, “and we need to tell it in a more compelling way than we have in the past.”
One way will be to create an expanded area of the gallery devoted to showing more of the gallery’s personal collection of Backus landscapes together with interpretative panels that describe his history and development as an artist.
To Fredrick, Backus has grown from being regarded as an interesting Florida landscape painter — a regional talent — to an important 20th century American painter in the same league as, say, Winslow Homer.
In 1958, a local businessman, Al Shapiro, persuaded Backus to support the building of a gallery in Fort Pierce. Shapiro wanted to name it after Backus; Bean would have none of it.
He wanted to showcase the burgeoning talent he saw on the Treasure Coast. Backus taught and encouraged a small army of budding area artists, including the Highwaymen.
He matched Shapiro’s $1,000 seed money, produced a rendering of a small minimalist-style building, urging the community to raise the rest of the $12,000 cost.
They responded with a flood of $50 and $100 checks. The smallest recorded contribution, Fredrick noted, was a $7 check from a lady who worked at the courthouse.
The original gallery, which opened in 1959, wasn’t much more than a roof held up with columns. There was a rock garden in the center and rainwater flowed toward the center of the open pavilion.
They hung artwork on cut nails on the outside of the building, hoping the deep roof overhang would protect paintings from summer rains.
That didn’t work, and by 1968 the gallery board decided to add walls and air conditioning and make the place a proper indoor gallery. They’ve gone from strength to strength ever since.
Whatever Backus’ reputation as an artistic pioneer, it’s the man Fredrick recalls with overwhelming affection.
“People who first met him saw the gregarious side: joking and friendly. But he was very modest, shy and retiring. He was the man with 10,000 friends. He didn’t have an abrasive bone in his body.”
Backus lived by a “pass it on” philosophy taught him by his Uncle Reg (who paid for him to attend art school in New York). In order for $1 to do any good, Uncle Reg argued, you have to give away $10. Nine dollars may go to waste, but the tenth will do the trick.
Yet Bean was pretty hopeless with money and, Fredrick is sure, if he’d ever been in charge of the business side of the gallery, they’d have had to shut the doors within a week.
“You can’t put artists in charge,” she says, “they use another whole area of their brains.”
Even though Backus rarely showed the world any ill-will, he did have his pet peeves, Fredrick recalled with laughter.
“He hated all intolerance, cigarettes, the banjo, and John Denver.”
I really wish I’d met him.

I, TOO, HATE JOHN DENVER, but damn it, I love my cigarettes. And I've liked the banjo ever since I saw "Deliverance".

Friday, September 11, 2009


There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

Lennon and MCartney, from In My Life (Rubber Soul)

At about this time of day in 2001 I took position on the couch and pretty much stayed there for a couple of days, as I had done 40 years earlier when the first Kennedy assassination stained our country.

As gut-wrenching as that murder was, watching the towers, with which I had become intimately familiar, come down with and on top of all those souls, on live TV, brought more tears to my eyes than the loss of a beloved president and hero had brought to a 14 year old boy.

When I was in travelling the country dealing in Rare Coins, I attended several years of bi-annual shows held in the Vista Hotel and booked my room there, nestled between the towers.

I would go up to Windows of the World at the cocktail hour but I'd get a little dizzy if I got real close to the windows themselves.

Today, gentle readers, I give you a gift of the late Jack Buck. He wrote this poem.
I'll give the link at the end if you'd like to see him read it on youtube.

Since this nation was founded under God,
more than 200 years ago,
We've been the bastion of Freedom...
The light which keeps the free world Aglow.
We do not covet the possessions of Others,
we are blessed with the Bounty we share.
We have rushed to help other Nations...
War is just not our nature...we
Won't start, but we will end the fight.
If we are involved we shall be
Resolved to protect what we know is Right.
We've been challenged by a Cowardly foe,
who strikes and then Hides from our view.
With one voice we say there's no Choice today,
there is only one Thing to do.
Everyone is saying the same thing
And praying that we end these Senseless moments we are living.
As our fathers did before, we shall Win this unwanted war.
And our children will enjoy the Future we'll be giving.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Definitions and an opinion

Found this somewhere stumbling around the internet. It's a little clumsy, like I am, but it spells a few things out. Copied and pasted, uncorrected.

The opinion at the end rings true.

Description explanations: We adopt the same terms used by auction houses worldwide when cataloguing works of art. They are: The first name and surname of the artist: In our opinion this is a work by the artist. The name of the artist preceded by "after": In our opinion this is a copy of the work of the artist. Bears signature/date/inscription: In our opinion the work has been signed/dated/inscribed by a person other than the artist. Attributed to: In our opinion this is probably a work by the artist. Circle of: In our opinion this is a work of the period of the artist and showing his influence. Follower of: In our opinion a work executed in the style of the artist but not necessarily by a pupil. Manner of: In our opinion a work executed in the style of the artist but of a later date. You agree to these terms by bidding. They're good enough for Sotheby's and Christie's so they must be good enough for us!
We firmly believe it is better to buy an original painting by young or unknown, but extremely talented master artist, or even in manner of great master painters or attributed, but definately not buying Giclee, prints, serigraph or copy prints made on cheap machine from China, which is strickly business and nothing else, just take your money today but tomorrow render it worthless. If you believe some Giclee is worth thousands, good luck but thats nothing but throwing your money through the window, because any kind of reproduction by machine has no hand or soul of a master artist who put his heart into his paintings. We think it is better to
support original art.

It always amazed me that consumers would visit a gallery and pay thousands for contempory artists' giclees in fancy frames.

For those of you out there, except for the artists themselves, producing giclees of highwayman art, I fart in your general direction.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't miss the pony ride......

.....I mean, I wouldn't.

Hey, highwaymen art collectors, posting this just in time.........

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, August 20, 2009...................Spady Museum in Delray Beach
"See how crafts were made way back when. Exhibitors will demonstrate how to make lye soap, brooms and other crafts. Highwaymen artist R.L. Lewis will be painting and raffling off one of his original works, painted on-site.

Kids' activites include pony rides, face painting, bounce house, petting zoo and old-time games."

Hey, pony rides rule.

Or if you just want calendars and mousepads, go here :
Or coffee mugs and tee shirts, go here:
or here:
or for stationery, here:

Or if you just want to be confused, go here:
or here for "official" confusion:

Just sharing the knowledge, boys and girls.
You know, this will be very useful if you're not in the market for superb vintage paintings that will increase in value over time. Everyone can afford a mouse pad, right ? But a Harold Newton, well.......................

I've been neglecting this blog, I know, and I feel guilty about it.

I've been writing other stuff and have been focused on that. That's my official excuse.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I've always loved baseball.........

and here's some personal stuff that has nothing to do with art.

Here's how old I am.

HBO is running a documentary on Ted Williams this coming Wednesday. I saw a trailer on TV and it includes film of Ted's last at bat. If you watch the background, 3 rows back of the visitor's dugout, (we're in Fenway Paaaahhhk), you see me at age 12 with my Grandpa. We were among the 10,000 in attendance. Sept 28, 1960, babies, 5 decades ago. Ted went deep on the last pitch he saw, rounded the bases head down, then retired from playing after 21 years with my beloved Red Sox............the only Baseball Hall of Famer to finish his career by hitting a home run his last time at bat.

In case you didn't know, Ted Williams was the greatest hitter who ever lived.

Harold Newton was probably painting a sunset in Florida while all this was going on in Boston. I don't think he cared about Ted Williams, but maybe. They had several things in common.

Being the best at what they did for a living, for one. Fishing for another.
And don't forget, lovin' the ladies.

Like my famous cousin, John says, "Stay thirsty my friends."

July 29......a new comment on "I've always loved baseball.........":

Great story - I am a huge O's fan. However we travel in the summers often to New England and I always catch a Sox game. In fact we have gone enough times that one of my sons has deserted me and is a Sox fan. Great stadium and town. On the day you were at the game my mom went into labor and I was born in the wee hours of Sept 29,1960.
Todd South

Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson was bizarre, for sure........

...but since the news of his death broke, I just cannot get this out of my head.
And I'm not what you'd call "a fan".

"Billie Jean is not my lover
She's just a girl who claims that I am the one
[ Michael Jackson Lyrics are found on ]
But the kid is not my son
She says I am the one, but the kid is not my son"

I challenge ANYONE to listen to it and not want to at least tap your foot.

Same thing with "Beat it".

I also wonder if he deserves to rest in peace.

Although the accusations against him were probably legitimate, his brain was undoubtedly warped due to the way he was "handled" as a pre-pubescent celebrity child in the no-holds-barred shark filled world of the West coast entertainment industry.

Like Elvis, he had no chance at being "normal".

At least that's my take on him, the so-called "King of Pop".

Oh yeah, I figure some of the highwaymen listened to his music while they were creating some of their art.

And that, gentle readers, is the tie-in.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Officially summertime, sum-sum-summertime.

The solstice is upon us today and I celebrated this morning's sunrise, as I do every summer solstice, by sacrificing a virgin on the stone altar in my back yard, and making a wish.

I've been doing this for about 8 years now. Previously I had been just killing chickens and the occasional lamb (as they do in the islands, mon), but I thought going way back to Druidism might help increase sales, and and it worked, so I'm staying with virgins.

I mean, I have to do SOMETHING to get some sales going for the summer, because there are just no decent shows to do til August that are within 7 hours driving time. Potential buyers don't get to see all the great stuff I offer for sale except thru the internet. They don't know I have something new and fresh unless I work the phone and become Joe the telemarketer.

I guess I'll go do some more of that today.

By the way, as if the gators, snakes and spiders weren't bad enough here in south Florida, now we got 6 foot dinosaurs multiplying. Here's the link:

Happy Father's day tomorrow to those of you who were successful at that.

Until next time, as my cousin John likes to say, "Stay thirsty, my friend".

He would like us to think he's the most interesting man in the world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rest in Peace J. Daniels

This afternoon about one o'clock Johnny Daniels joined the list of deceased highwaymen.

We now have eight souls on that list.

I can just about hear Ray Charles singing, ".......When the Smoke Cleared, There was Thunder from the Throne, and Seven Spanish Angels took another Angel Home."

Rest in peace, Johnny, you have left us plenty to remember you by.

Comment received:

Hello Bob,
I, too, was very sorry to hear about the sudden death of Johnny Daniels, who seemed in great spirits and health back in April for the Fort Pierce Highwaymen Festival. He was one of the best and most talented of the artists and he will be missed.
Thank you for keeping track of all the news involving this most interesting group of people.
Catherine Enns

May 31, 2009 8:01:00 PM

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shows are becoming scarce................

....especially with summer upon us. So there's no show activity to report. Next weekend I'll be in Melbourne, and last year's May show up there was very good. But that, of course, was last year.
As a bonus, we all watched the space shuttle launch at 5 pm as the show had just closed. It sure looked close, but it was surprisingly quiet, opposite to what I expected.

June 5, 6, and 7 will be the final show of the season in West Palm Beach. The new promoters are thinking about going back to a full years schedule, a show every month.

I sure hope they will, (he said selfishly).

DMG World Media, the British Bozos who owned the show prior to the Puchsteins and Tuckers, flat out panicked when we had the year of the hurricanes and cancelled out all July to October shows for the future. Oh, gee, the billion dollar conglomerate lost a little money because the Salvation Army, as well they should, commandeered the Fairgrounds for emergency operations a couple of times that one stormy season. As a result, rather than taking a "risk", these twits (rhymes with Brits) eliminated 20 or so potential "paydays" to their loyal Florida vendors who worked the summer shows, hundreds of us. I lost all respect for the ball-less bastards at that point, for shrinking their annual contract from 12 shows to eight. They could not have been more dealer-unfriendly.

Now we've got Florida people in charge, and unlike the Brits, they have cojones. That was proven by the fact that they stepped up to the plate and bought into this show while weaker promoters are shriveling up and barely staying functional.

And, having known Bill and Kay, and Yvonne and Jim for years, I know they love and appreciate their dealers (vendors) and do everything they can to treat us right.

So, from the beginning of June until August, I have no shows scheduled. Every summer I think about maybe doing a Mt Dora, or even going back up to Atlanta for a Scott's show again (we did them years and years ago). Maybe this summer I'll be able to overcome my distaste for Doyle at Mt Dora and the drudgery of the trip up I75 to Atlanta and back.

As far as sales, we sell stuff when there are no shows, too. Check out a couple of kick-ass Fritzes we just posted and sold on the Other Florida artists page. And a gorgeous and super-rare James Ralph Wilcox original watercolor from the 1890's. It's always the best stuff that sells.

Until next time, gentle reader, keep a cool tool.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The trend continues.

Yup, it does. Reporting on the WPB show for May 1, 2 and 3, we once again had a whole bunch of small sales.
Listed artist, Caroline Norton, 16 x 12 oil, impressionist Florida Palm, $ 550.00
Listed artist, Paul Turner Sargent, 10 x 12 oil, impressionist/ abstract Palm group $ 600.00
Listed artist, Donald Curran, 8 x 10 oil, killer Key West street scene, $ 300.00
Listed artist Frederic Bates, small pencil sketch, maritime circa 1900 $ 175.00
Unsigned impressionist oil on board Florida bay with moored boats $ 180.00
Several other small sales, including a brighter than usual Harris print ( 1920's or 30's ) and a miniature hand colored J R Wilcox print circa 1890's.

I wish I could report some highwaymen sales, but no, they all happened the week before at our Gainesville show. At least those highwaymen paintings were good ones.
How about a special Alfred Hair, only 10 x 8 on canvasboard, for $ 4,000.00 ? And that was cheap for its rarity. Go to our website Hair page for a look.
(NOTE to the uninitiated: This does not make ALL Alfred Hairs worth $ 4000 or better, as much as we would LIKE them to be.)
We also sold, that weekend, a gorgeous masonite Harold pine tree portrait for $ 3500 and a Hair 24 x 18 river with flowers for $ 1500. Also another Harold, 24 x 18 on stretched canvas for a very reasonable $ 1500. Of course, all our prices are very reasonable. All four of these paintings went to three different savvy, experienced collectors of highwayman art. People who "know what they're doing." May God bless them and keep them.

Although the Safety Harbor Museum 10th annual highwayman extrava-bazongo was scheduled to close the end of April, they have decided to extend it thru June, so I am leaving some inventory there to be available for sale, should anyone wish to visit. There are still 7 or 8 Harolds and a couple of Hairs, along with a Hezekiah signed A Black, a Lemuel, a couple of great Sams, and a 70's S M Wells.

If you live over here on the west coast, where there is less traffic and a slightly slower life style, a visit to the museum in the next few weeks will give you the opportunity to purchase an investment quality piece at or near the bottom of the market. Due to the recent activity with better pieces, I'm tempted to raise prices, but will hold the line just for you, gentle reader. A purchase will also help the museum, and that's a "good thing." We donate a percentage of all sales to benefit them.

In other highwaymen news, the newest book, the eighth highwaymen book, this one by Enns has been released. It is the best one yet. We are pleased to have bought and sold about twenty of the better works plated in the book. Ah yes, but alas, just like all the other books about the highwaymen market, it is a well written history book. Perhaps someday, I'll write about the other side of the story, the commercial side, the excitement and disappointments of a supply and demand market.

What, you didn't know there were eight books ? I'll list them for you.

The Highwaymen, Monroe 2001
Harold Newton, by his sister, Rosetta Humphries 2004
The Buckner Brothers, by Ellis Jr, 2004
The Highwaymen, Bob Beatty, 2006 softcover 2006
The Highwaymen, Beatty, expanded Hardcover edition, 2006
Harold Newton, Monroe 2007
Al Black's Prison Murals, Monroe 2009
The Highwaymen, Catherine Enns, 2009

You could say there are actually nine if you count the Ft Lauderdale Museum's publication of Highwaymen, Newton and Hair which kicked off their exhibit in 2006.

We won't count the Backus books, three of those plus a high quality exhibition catalog. He's not a highwayman, despite what some folks tell me at shows.

Until next time, gentle reader, don't let your meat loaf.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A good book.

Business improved even more at the WPB show last weekend. Most individual sales were small, (I define "small" as a single transaction under $ 500.00), but the trend is a good one in that there are more and more individual transactions occurring. People seem to continue to loosen the purse strings little by little. Cash is flowing.

That's what our little art market needs, public spending (on unecessary items). The show was much busier than it has been recently, attendance was strong.

There is, however, a lot of empty time as we wait for someone to take an interest in art at these antique shows we attend. I mean, we are there usually from 9 to 5.

So, to eliminate personal boredom and to try to stay sane, I read books.

My friend, Peggy, gave me a great one last weekend in WPB and I can't put it down.

It's called Water For Elephants.

You might like it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March is damn near gone...........

..and I've been neglecting this thing. Sorry.

My apologies to all three of you who read it. I've been busy trying to buy and sell, do my taxes, help the museum, monitor the market, get rid of a 1997 Buick Park Avenue, and on and on, more than write this mindless dribble.

The current highwaymen market in a nutshell: great paintings by the more talented artists are strong, and the myriad of plain old run-of-the-mill paintings continue to show weakness. If you like this kind of stuff, if you believe in volume and completion of a "set", it's a great buying opportunity across the board for lower end, less eye-appealing highwaymen paintings. The key word here is "cheap", or as we might say in a presentation, "less expensive".

If you only invest in the great ones that come on the market, well, get in line, please. It's like the deli counter at Publix, take a number. These opportunities seldom knock.

Yes, even in this tough economy, although the news media seems to have finally slightly toned down their universal message of "let's panic, let's jump off buildings, we're all gonna lose our houses", the better paintings are immediately salable. That's key, for without liquidity, there is no market.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This song got stuck in my head.......

.........early this morning, and I don't really know why. I don't think I've actually heard it for ages.

So I thought I'd sing it to you, hopefully get it out of there.

I think it was done by Marty Robbins about fifty years ago. Back in the radio days. Jeez, that's five DECADES.

I see some parallels to the news as it's reported by today's media and the way they hook the public into listening to their slanted reports of the economy, causing widespread anguish, the gnashing of teeth, and most importantly, a fear of spending any money.

Whoever wrote the song was tired of the headlines of the day, same as I am.

If you're under thirty years old, you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, but history repeats itself. You're probably not reading this, anyway, so go back to your XBox and kill a bunch of imaginary people. Or play Rock Band and pretend you're Steven Tyler, or that other girl, Freddie Mercury. :O)

(Not that there's anything wrong with, ahem, that). :O)

OK, now I'm singing..............................

"Let's think about living
Let's think about loving
Let's think about the hooping and the hopping and the bopping
And the lovey dovey doving

Let's forget about the whining and the crying
And the shooting and the dying
And the fella with the switch blade knife
Let's think about living
Let's think about life."

The only way the economy will continue to improve is if the public can improve their collective mindset.
More of you have to stop sitting on your hands and go out and spend some money.
Cash HAS TO FLOW for us to rise from the bottom of this cycle.

Forget about the whining and the crying.
What we need is a good kick in the ass.

Like I said, I'm old school.

Friday, February 13, 2009

2009 Kickoff ....Part 2

February is the shortest month of the year, so there aren't too many days off.

Feb 1st was the grand opening of the Safety Harbor Museum's Tenth Annual Highwaymen exhibit and sale. It just doesn't seem like Y2K was a decade ago, but I actually counted on my fingers just to make sure and I had to use all ten. Math whiz, eh ?

We helped the Museum, as we have in the past, fill in some holes they had in their quest to hang paintings by each of the 26 highwaymen. This year, all they needed was a George and an Ellis Buckner, and an Alphonse Moran.

Moran, a barber, was too busy cutting hair before he passed on to the next life, I guess, so his art work is often hard to come by. I bet I've seen two hundred Harold Newton paintings for every one painting I've seen by Moran. I had sold a sweet poinciana by him last May, though, and was pleased that the collectors who own it allowed us to use it for the exhibition. It's a great one, too.

The Buckner brothers were more prolific, however, and it was much easier to find a couple of nice ones, a seascape by Ellis and a poinciana by George.

Also, on display as part of the exhibit, is the Schlesinger painting, the Harold Newton self portrait that was featured in Antiques and Art Around Florida last summer.

The museum has graciously allowed me additional wall space to display some working inventory, (stuff I've got for sale), about a dozen Harolds, four Hairs and a few miscellaneous highwaymen, including an upson Hezekiah Baker signed by Al Black and a 24 x 48 Mary Ann Carroll on canvas done in 1990.

We did the West Palm show last weekend, and again, as in January, the crowd was ENORMOUS. Larry, one of the out-front outside vendors at the show told me he has NEVER seen the line of customers so long, waiting for the show to open at noon on Friday. The public was spending money, people, fewer dealers were complaining.

I saw headlines yesterday that retail spending was way up in January and I can vouch for that based on first-time sales to new retail customers. Best show we've had since the beginning of the summer.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

News of the day, good and bad...........




WASHINGTON (Feb. 4) - Call it the maximum wage. President Barack Obama wants to impose a $500,000 pay cap on executives whose firms receive government financial rescue funds, a dramatic intervention into corporate governance in the midst of financial crisis.

"If the taxpayers are helping you, then you've got certain responsibilities to not be living high on the hog," President Barack Obama said Tuesday.


They say, "You learn something new every day."


In Hong Kong, a woman is legally allowed to kill her cheating husband -- but only if she uses her bare hands. The husband's lover, however, may be killed in any manner desired.


In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals -- so long as the animals are female. It is illegal to have sex with a male animal, however.


In Switzerland, a man may not relieve himself while standing up, after 10 P.M.


In Thailand, it is illegal to leave your house if you are not wearing underwear.


In China, women are prohibited from walking around a hotel room in the nude; a woman may only be naked while in the bathroom.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009





WHY ??????











Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So, I'm at this antique show, see, and............

......the display is set up, finishing touches are all in place in my booth, and the first question I get from one of the first people through the door is, "Are you the artist ?"

I know they mean well, and they are just trying to initiate some pleasantries, but gawd, it has gotten so OLD. I mean I've heard it at least a thousand times. I just smile and say, "No, I buy and sell art created by quite a few artists, "important" listed ones, talented professionals and amateurs, as well as Florida's highwaymen."

Sometimes I'll just amuse myself and say, "Yes, I painted this one in 1925 and signed it Paul Turner Sargent", or some smart-ass thing like that. I don't do it very often, but if, like, three people in a row ask me that, I'm liable to. I'm not at risk because these people would never buy a painting, anyway. I know this to be an undeniable fact based on the first thousand who asked.
I've never seen the first nickel from any of them.

This is not whining, (remember, I promised not to), it's venting, and it's developing into a list of my personal Pet Peeves.

The second most popular question is, "Where is your location?" I get this almost as often as "Did you paint these?" I guess they want to come visit some other time, when they are not quite so busy as they are right now when all my stuff is right in front of them.

So, I tell them, "I don't have a bricks and mortar gallery, I have an internet gallery and I attend shows, like this one, around the state. Right now is the best time for you to see what I have to offer." Stock answer, no self-amusing twists on this one.

Next is, "Do you have a business card ?" "Yes, I have hundreds of them. Here you go", I say, "these are perfect for grocery lists." And I do believe 75% of my cards are used for that, especially after I give them the idea.

There is this one guy, he visits my booth at every WPB show. Little guy with a ball cap, always in short pants, maybe he's seventy. He's been doing this for at least 6 or 7 years, probably longer. He never asks a price on anything, or shows obvious interest in any paintings, he only goes right to the open "Coast to Coast" book I have on display to enhance and fortify the art I offer by the artists who are in the book, usually Blair, Stanford, Kolbe and Emmett Fritz.
AND HE STANDS THERE AND READS IT for about five minutes. Every show, every time.

He always takes a business card. He doesn't ask if I have one because he knows from experience right where they are. Every show, every time, he must have picked up fifty of them. At a nickel apiece, it's a small price for me to pay for the personal amusement factor.

I actually LOVE this guy and I'll be saddened if I stop seeing him.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just a quick note.......

I'll follow up on this later, (after I read it myself) but it seems encouraging......

Finally, a positive spin on AOL. Again, have we turned the corner ?

THE HEADLINE : Secondhand Stores Shine in Weak Retail Market

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hey, this is Florida.............

............and the thermometer on my lanai is reading 40 degrees this morning. Why is it that I'm colder when it's in the forties in Florida than I was when it was often below freezing all those years when I lived in New England and worked in Boston ?

It was an exceptionally beautiful sky this morning though, as the sun was about to come up. Looking east, there was a gorgeous blush of yellow gold on the horizon behind the silhouette of trees, gradually working its way up to light blue, then the deeper blue of daytime. A few dark gray clouds drifted across the gold and graduated up to white puffy ones as they met the blue. And as a bonus, a crescent moon hung up there in the darker blue. I like a daytime moon when you can see the full roundness, the darker part as well as the brilliant white reflection of light.

Ah, but the color didn't last very long.

Of all the thousands of highwaymen paintings I've seen in the last fifteen or so years, only George Buckner seemed to be able to capture that particular "look" in some of his later works. I'm not sure even Backus could capture it the way George did. (Sorry, Kathleen). When I see one of those Buckners, it makes me think of Martin Johnson Heade, one of the great ones.

I think the skies down here are, in general, spectacular. When people comment on the highwaymen paintings I display at shows, most of the time they'll say how nice they are, how the artists have captured the moment. But sometimes, a self-proclaimed expert will still say to their friend, who they are trying to impress, " That's awful, I don't like any of these highwaymen paintings, never did. The sunset doesn't look like that." They couldn't be more wrong. They are just not aware. These are undoubtedly the same people who drive in the left lane 10 mph under the limit. They are just not aware. From the stupid tribe.

As I drive east on the way to a show in the early morning hours, or returning towards the west as the sun goes down, I have seen every color in the spectrum paint the sky, including green. When Brian was with me, he'd often say, "There's a McLendon sunset over there" and there it was, by God, orange and yellow with a touch of sky blue pink behind the dark silhouette of a pine tree. All that was missing was the crown molding frame.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 Kickoff

Let's hope it's a trend.

Sales have picked up the pace at the first two shows of the new year. Great results.

We don't fool around, we went to work at 7am Jan 1, 2009, New Year's Day. What's that you say ? It was a holiday ? Supposed to sit back and watch bowl games on TV ?

So, we hammered down four hours plus on the road to West Palm Beach, unloaded the van at the main exhibition hall of the fairgrounds, and set up most of the display. Had to be ready for the crowd that we hoped would attend when the show opened Friday at noon. We were ready by then, and as I stepped out front for a breath of fresh air (read: to have a cigarette), I was astonished by the size of the line of people waiting for the doors to open. Biggest crowd I've seen for at least a year. Maybe it had to do with the magic touch of the new owners of the show.

Interest was strong, sales were much better than the previous 6 or 7 shows. I began to think,"Hey, maybe we've turned the proverbial corner. Maybe the public will loosen up and start spending again." It's no secret that small businesses have been struggling to make ends meet, just as you have been, gentle reader, and we were no exception. Especially at the shows we've attended around the state in nasty old 2008.

For the first time since I can't hardly remember, we made an actual profit from sales at a show.

Next up for us was the Community Center show on Sanibel Island, which resulted in even stronger sales than we enjoyed in WPB. Say "Hallelujah !"

We have available a group of Harold Newton paintings from his bright and beautiful masonite period, and some of them just walk and talk and could probably cook breakfast for you, too. Sorry, haven't had time to photograph and post them on the website. If the public, whether or not they have ever even heard of the highwaymen, could buy these paintings with compliments, we would definitely be sold out.

We'll know shortly if CHANGE from pessimism to optimism has actually come in anticipation of the new administration. If only the news media (damn their eyes) would shift out of their "doom and gloom" mode, we all can get off to a fresh start psychologically, adjust our attitudes from forced depression to limitless hope.

It doesn't take much to influence a relatively small market (like vintage highwaymen art) to start a new cycle. Let's hope the prices of the investment quality pieces can get off their flat line and start showing some increases again.

Next up, Ft Myers show, followed by Punta Gorda, then back to WPB.

My New Years resolution is to try and more consistantly update this blog.

Until next time, gentle reader, don't let your meat loaf.