Rings with colored diamonds sold for $30,000-$143,000 this month at Christie’s New York.


Q: My grandfather bought this work by Charles Pont some time ago. It was signed by the artist in 1933 and is still in its original frame. How do I determine present value and how can I sell it? I understand that Depression art is hot now. Is that actually true?

A: Before sorting out the info requested, we should tell readers about the artist. Charles Ernest Pont (1898-1971) was an American artist and Baptist minister. He was born in France; his middle “E” is alternately known as Eugene.

The work seen in an image sent is a black-and-white open landscape with storm clouds. Media used in unclear. Pont worked in several media, including prints, pen and ink, pencil and watercolor. His works  are known for realism and crispness of image.

The reader already has a feeling that his work might have value. When this is the case, I suggest one start to research with a Google search for the artist. Works for sale can pop up.

Next, to get an inkling of sale activity and prices, run a free search on eBay and www.liveauctioneers.com online. Since determining potential value calls for accessing a sales record, then pay for short-term use of www.worthpoint.com and www.artnet.com

That’s how smart collectors access past sales and auction results.

The sites also yield contact info for auction houses that sold the artist. That’s how one finds who moved goods for higher prices.

Here’s an example: From 1999 to 2006, Pont works failed to sell at auction. In 2006, a Pont wood engraving sold at Swann Galleries in New York for $850. Early this year, another wood engraving sold on eBay for $220. And at www.oldprintshop.com, we found Pont watercolors offered for $850-$1,500. See how the market has opened through the years?

So yes, American art sells well today, with Depression-era works a popular (and growing) area .

The reader has an appealing work. Aesthetics are on point. After he does his homework, he could well make a successful sale.

Q: Are these ceramic eggs worth anything? 

A: The molded, oversize, hollow ceramic eggs seen in images appear to be decorative pieces produced in the Far East for export.

The fantasy Louis XVI style fetes rendered in gold on a black glazed surface are transfers, or decals. The pair is not old and value is as contemporary decorative objects.

Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. SendEmail Danielle Aranet at smartcollector@comcast.net