Monday, July 7, 2014

A William Hamilton Sketchbook Page

A sketchbook page by cartoonist William Hamilton currently on eBay is dedicated by the artist to someone named Kevan. The ink sketches on both sides of the sheet are in Mr. Hamilton's signature style. The selvage at the edge of the page shows where the sheet was torn from a sketchbook's spiral binding. Such sketches as this may be "rare"--the eBay seller's term--to the market, but they are not rare in their existence. Artists fill sketchbooks constantly, and the pages are plentiful even if they don't get out much.

Putting a dollar value on such a rare yet plentiful item isn't so simple. If there were a real demand for these pages, artists would be happy to sell any number of them once they were no longer needed. The more well-known the artist, the greater the market demand generally. The Buy It Now price here of $899.99 is to my mind quite steep, well exceeding the sale price of at least some of Mr. Hamilton's finished drawings. There is a Make Offer option as well, suggesting the seller might be willing to entertain a reasonable offer.

William Hamilton. Sketchbook page, recto, signed and inscribed "For Kevan/Wm Hamilton"

William Hamilton. Sketchbook page, verso

Note:  Don't miss my previous posts on William Hamilton.

Sketchbook pages by New Yorker cartoonists show up relatively infrequently on eBay, but there are two there right now, the subjects of the last two days's blog posts. The usual pattern is that a page is gifted by an artist to a friend or maybe to an admirer of the drawing and it remains in the confines of that person's home for perhaps the better part of a lifetime. Then one day it receives some publicity briefly in order for a sale to be made, and soon, if all goes well, it disappears into another collection, that of the buyer. We live in a digital age now and matters don't have to remain this way. Owners of such sketchbook pages can scan them or photograph them and pass them along to me or someone else willing to display them and—voilà!—the world is a richer place. My door is open....


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