The Galleries

Aviation Art - Valuations for Robert Taylor

More than any other aviation artist, Robert Taylor consistently produces images that sell out and appreciate in value. This is a testiment to two things, the quality of his paintings and the professionalism with which his publisher, Military Gallery, present and market his work. The recent trend towards lower standard edition sizes but with small value added sub-editions with extra signatures has helped maintain exclusivity and keep secondary values up.

Our Rising Stars selection are prints from the last year or so that in our opinion are set to rise significantly in value over time.  If they don’t then you will have the consolation that they are all exceptional images and a lot better to look at than a stock certificate.

Our Top 5 Robert Taylor editions by value below is headed up by JG52 and its hard to see anything else replacing it easily, given its Who’s Who line up of unrepeatable Luftwaffe signatures.

JG52

Issue: £125
Current: £2100
Change: 1680%

Sigs: Hartmann, Hrabak, Galland, Kruprinski, Obleser, Rall, Steinhoff.

JG52 by Robert Taylor

Channel Dash

Issue: £330
Current: £1950
Change: 590%

Sigs: Glunz, Paul, Galland, Schopfel, Schneider.

Channel Dash by Robert Taylor

Knights of the Eastern Front

Issue: £180
Current: £1150
Change: 610%

Sigs: Hartmann, Hrabak, Ihlefeld, Krupinski, Rall, Steinhoff.

Knights of the Eastern Front by Robert Taylor

Ace of Aces

Issue: £125
Current: £1100
Change: 800%

Sigs: Hartmann

Ace of Aces by Robert Taylor

Eagles out of the Sun

Issue: £255
Current: £1050
Change: 382%
Sigs: Galland, Griswalski, Hrabak, Krupinski, Neumann, Obleser, Rall, Rudorffer, Schuck, Steinhoff, Trautloft, Wolfrum.

Eagles out of the Sun by Robert Taylor

RISING STARS
These relatively recently released editions look likely to accelerate in value quickly.

Dawn Eagles Rising

Dawn Eagles Rising

Dambusters
The Impossible Mission

Dambusters - The Impossible Mission by Robert Taylor

Opening Sky

Opening Sky

Schweinfurt
The Second Mission

Schweinfurt - The Second Mission by Robert Taylor

Target Bearing 270

Target Bearing 270 by Robert Taylor

Some other titles by Robert Taylor that just missed our top 5 include, Eagles High £995, Eagles at Dawn £995, Gathering of Eagles £895, High Patrol £895, Mission Completed £800, JV44 £750, Knights Cross £700, , Return of the Belle £800 and Voyage into Destiny £700.

About Early Robert Taylor Prints – Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and Dual of Eagles

We are finding that we are being offered these prints on a regular basis for potential resale. Often the seller has inherited them and is not knowledgeable about them or aviation art in general, so we thought some information about them would be helpful.

These were Robert Taylor’s first aviation print releases and were issued in 1979 as open editions (1980 for Dual of Eagles). In 1985 Robert Taylor’s publisher, Military Gallery, decided to move exclusively into limited edition prints which were becoming increasingly popular at the time. These early titles, amongst others, were removed from sale as open editions and reissued as Restricted Editions of 1500 prints. They were artist and pilot signed, but were not individually numbered in the way they would be today. The term Restricted Edition was used as Limited Edition would have been inappropriate for prints that had also been available as an open edition.

Spitfire was signed by Douglas Bader and Johnnie Johnson, Hurricane by Bob Stanford Tuck, Lancaster by either Leonard Cheshire or Norman Jackson and Dual of Eagles by Douglas Bader and Adolf Galland.

Dual of Eagles by Robert Taylor

Dual of Eagles

Spitfire by Robert Taylor

Spitfire

As for values, these are very much dependent on condition and there are a number of factors that have conspired to ensure there are very few mint condition examples around today:

Framing - this is often a problem. These early prints were actually relatively inexpensive at the time of issue and were usually framed accordingly without the conservation methods we would use today. Our experience is that when removed from the frame typical problems include fading, cropping, mould, and damage caused through the use of non acid free tape. Serious collectors are often reluctant to pay significant money for early framed prints for this reason.

Fading – the quality of paper and inks used at the time were not nearly as good as those used today and the prints were much more susceptible to fading. This is probably the biggest single problem. The concept of collecting prints was in its infancy so most prints would have been bought with the intention of framing and displaying them, so most will have been exposed to fading and framing issues. It is sometimes difficult for the untrained eye to judge the extent of fading, particularly without an unfaded example for comparison, the usual giveaway is a noticeable blue tint to the print.

Signatures – in the early days some signatures were still done in ink, e.g. Douglas Bader on Dual of Eagles, whereas pencil does not fade with time ink does, we have seen some examples were the ink signatures have virtually disappeared.

Stored in original tube – these sometimes turn up and the owner will assume they are mint condition. Unfortunately cardboard tubes are not a good environment for prints, the tubes are usually made from a cheap cardboard material and chemicals are likely to leech out over time and damage the print – this often manifests itself in a light grey mottling known as ‘foxing’. Plus every time the print is taken out to show someone it receives unnecessary handling.

A mint condition print will never have been framed and will have been stored flat between acid free materials. If we had mint examples in our possession we would probably advertise Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster at around £500 each and Dual of Eagles around £700. For poor condition examples we have seen them change hands for as little as £50.

NOTE: As always if you are looking for values for insurance purposes please get a second opinion as the values we quote are based on our own experience and another dealer may have a different view.

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All images copyright Robert Taylor.

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