Why Are Marc Chagall Paintings Valuable?

Marc Chagall (1887–1985) was one of the most prolific artists of the twentieth century. His work is associated with many modernist artistic styles of that era, such as Fauvism, Cubism, Suprematism, and Surrealism, yet his work resists easy categorization. While much experimental art of the twentieth century led to increasingly abstract artistic expression, Chagall’s images embraced figurative and narrative art that married elements of modernism to more traditional imagery.

Born in the Russian Empire to a Hasidic family, Chagall spent his youth attending local Jewish schools and studying Hebrew and the Torah. Many of the themes he incorporated in his work derived from his early studies. He also discovered his love of art in those days, and in 1906 he began formally studying art, first under the Russian portrait artist Yehuda Pen and then with artist Leon Bakst. In 1910 he moved to Paris—in early paintings like I and the Village the characteristics of Cubism, the leading avant-garde movement of the time, are clearly visible.

Even during this early time in Paris, Chagall maintained his connections to his hometown, both figuratively and literally. His paintings included subject matter from village life, including pastoral scenes and weddings. In many of them, figures float freely in the sky, symbolizing his nostalgic affection for his home. These supernatural elements of his work are considered precursors of the Surrealist movement. He also returned to Russia to visit during these years, and on one of those visits he met Bella Rosenfeld, who he married in 1915. Although the couple had planned to move to Paris after their marriage, the advent of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution trapped them in Russia until 1923.

By this time, his reputation in modern art circles enabled him to travel throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and brought him important artistic commissions. In addition to Jewish themes, his art also incorporated themes from the Christian Bible. In 1931 he traveled to the Holy Lands. Unfortunately, war once again interrupted his career, forcing Chagall and his wife to flee to New York City ahead of Nazi persecution in 1941. He returned to France in 1947, a widower, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Although he is best known for his vibrant paintings, Chagall also produced numerous etchings, and later branched out into sculpture and ceramics. He produced stained glass windows for notable buildings such as the synagogue at the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem and the U.N. Building in New York, and murals for locations such as the New York Metropolitan Opera. He was also noted as an accomplished set and costume designer in his time.

Chagall’s skill in evoking emotion through dreamlike imagery that nonetheless remained grounded in his personal experience touched a chord that resonates with viewers to this day. Nowadays, his most important paintings command steep prices at auction, with the record held by Lovers, which sold for $28.5 million in November of 2017.

For collectors seeking to own a more affordable example of Chagall’s artwork, Auction King offers a selection of high-quality limited edition giclees featuring images that exemplify his unique artistic style. Every piece is authenticated by our expert team so that you can bid with confidence on the artwork that speaks to you. Register today for a free online account to find your next treasure.

Why Is Tanzanite Worth Collecting?

Those who appreciate fine jewelry know that gemstones can be found in a rainbow of different colors. Some, while beautiful, are widely available and therefore inexpensive, even in larger sizes. Others are extremely rare and costly. The law of supply and demand dictates that stones that are both attractive and scarce will be more pricey, because there simply won’t be enough to go around for everyone who wants one. Somehow, however, that rule has not yet caught up to tanzanite, one of the premier gemological finds of the twentieth century.

Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 in the Mererani foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Named for the country of its origin by Tiffany & Co., who recognized the commercial potential of the find, tanzanite has a similar hardness to emeralds (without that stone’s brittleness) and is a thousand times rarer than diamonds. Experts believe that the geologic conditions that formed tanzanite in the roughly four-square kilometer area where it is found are unlikely to be duplicated anywhere else on earth. This means that when this source is completely mined, collectors will lose the ability to buy tanzanite on the primary market. While there is disagreement on when this will occur, even optimists concede it will happen within the current generation.

The properties of tanzanite caused by its unusual geological origins are an important part of its beauty. The blue-violet stone exhibits pleochroism, which means that an individual stone will show different colors depending on the direction from which it is viewed. A fine tanzanite will show flashes of blue, violet, and burgundy. As with most colored stones, saturated color and superior clarity considerably increase the value of tanzanite.

Given its unusual characteristics and rarity, you would expect tanzanite to easily surpass diamonds in price. In the short time it has been available, it has already become the second-most popular blue gemstone, behind only sapphires. Currently, though, even top-quality tanzanite in sizes of 3 carats or more is only around $750 per carat, whereas a one-carat diamond will fetch thousands of dollars, and larger high-quality diamonds can be tens of thousands of dollars per carat. This means that the price of tanzanite does not truly reflect the reality of either its relative scarcity or the imminent disappearance of its source.

While it may be easy for interested buyers to find attractively priced tanzanite at the moment, that won’t always be the case. With the supply of unmined tanzanite decreasing and the Tanzanian government enacting tighter controls over what remains, tanzanite prices are already showing signs of going up. Collectors can expect that the tanzanite they own will increase in value over time, as the inevitable tightening of supply occurs. If they have not yet obtained this lovely stone, time is running out for buying one at artificially low prices.

At Auction King, our selection of tanzanite rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings is constantly updated with new and beautiful finds. Our live online auction gives our bidders the opportunity to purchase independently appraised fine jewelry at a fraction of retail prices, all from the convenience and comfort of their own homes. Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning!

Those who appreciate fine jewelry know that gemstones can be found in a rainbow of different colors. Some, while beautiful, are widely available and therefore inexpensive, even in larger sizes. Others are extremely rare and costly. The law of supply and demand dictates that stones that are both attractive and scarce will be more pricey, because there simply won’t be enough to go around for everyone who wants one. Somehow, however, that rule has not yet caught up to tanzanite, one of the premier gemological finds of the twentieth century.

Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 in the Mererani foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Named for the country of its origin by Tiffany & Co., who recognized the commercial potential of the find, tanzanite has a similar hardness to emeralds (without that stone’s brittleness) and is a thousand times rarer than diamonds. Experts believe that the geologic conditions that formed tanzanite in the roughly four-square kilometer area where it is found are unlikely to be duplicated anywhere else on earth. This means that when this source is completely mined, collectors will lose the ability to buy tanzanite on the primary market. While there is disagreement on when this will occur, even optimists concede it will happen within the current generation.

The properties of tanzanite caused by its unusual geological origins are an important part of its beauty. The blue-violet stone exhibits pleochroism, which means that an individual stone will show different colors depending on the direction from which it is viewed. A fine tanzanite will show flashes of blue, violet, and burgundy. As with most colored stones, saturated color and superior clarity considerably increase the value of tanzanite.

Given its unusual characteristics and rarity, you would expect tanzanite to easily surpass diamonds in price. In the short time it has been available, it has already become the second-most popular blue gemstone, behind only sapphires. Currently, though, even top-quality tanzanite in sizes of 3 carats or more is only around $750 per carat, whereas a one-carat diamond will fetch thousands of dollars, and larger high-quality diamonds can be tens of thousands of dollars per carat. This means that the price of tanzanite does not truly reflect the reality of either its relative scarcity or the imminent disappearance of its source.

While it may be easy for interested buyers to find attractively priced tanzanite at the moment, that won’t always be the case. With the supply of unmined tanzanite decreasing and the Tanzanian government enacting tighter controls over what remains, tanzanite prices are already showing signs of going up. Collectors can expect that the tanzanite they own will increase in value over time, as the inevitable tightening of supply occurs. If they have not yet obtained this lovely stone, time is running out for buying one at artificially low prices.

At Auction King, our selection of tanzanite rings, pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings is constantly updated with new and beautiful finds. Our live online auction gives our bidders the opportunity to purchase independently appraised fine jewelry at a fraction of retail prices, all from the convenience and comfort of their own homes. Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning!

How to Prevent Silver Coins from Tarnishing

As is the case with many kinds of collectibles, the condition of a rare or unusual coin can have a significant influence on its value. Ideally, a coin should be in pristine condition, without significant wear or abrasion, in order to command the highest price. Silver coins present an additional challenge to the conscientious collector, however, because the precious metal tends to tarnish over time, and a heavily tarnished coin may be less attractive to potential buyers than an unblemished one.

Tarnish is caused by the reaction between silver and hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is present in minute quantities in the air. Over time, a dull grey or black coating will form over the surface of a silver object as the top layers of the metal react chemically with the gas. In areas with high humidity or high levels of air pollution, silver will tarnish faster. Polishing silver that has become tarnished can cause abrasion and even remove small amounts of the precious metal, so the key to long-term preservation of silver in a superior state is preventing tarnish from forming in the first place. This is especially important to note for silver coins that are collected for their numismatic value—the value derived from their history or rarity—rather than just the price of the precious metal they are made of, because damage caused by cleaning can significantly reduce their worth.

The first step is to be careful in how you handle silver coins. The oils from your skin, skincare products like lotions, and other common chemicals can predispose silver to tarnish, so it’s best to handle them as little as possible. Wash your hands before touching them and pick them up by the edges. Some collectors will even use white cotton gloves to handle their coins to prevent any possible contamination. Handle the coins over a soft surface, such as clean towel, so that they will not be nicked or scratched should you accidentally drop them.

Next, make sure that the storage materials you choose for your coins are specially designed to eliminate chemicals that could discolor or damage them, such as acid in paper or PVC in plastics. Some popular types of coin storage include:

  • 2x2s: Flat cardboard containers lined with clear mylar designed to hold one coin each.
  • Coin flips: Inexpensive clear plastic square sleeves for individual storage.
  • Air-tites: Round acrylic cases that snap closed around a single coin, allowing viewing on both sides.
  • Slabs: Sonically sealed clear plastic containers, usually put on high-value coins by professional grading services.

Proper storage materials can help reduce the chances your silver coins will be exposed to tarnish-causing agents.

Finally, temperature fluctuations and humidity will promote tarnishing. Keep your coins in a cool, temperature-controlled location, and keep the air around them dry by either putting moisture-absorbing silica packets nearby or running a dehumidifier. Even sealed coin storage containers are not 100 percent air-tight, so keeping your collection in the right environment is critical for good long-term results.

AuctionKing.com offers a wide and constantly updated selection of fine collectibles for the particular bidder. Our site combines the convenience of online shopping with authentic live-auction action run by a family with three generations in the business. Now the excitement and opportunity of bidding in a live auction can be yours no matter where you are. Register today for a free online account and start bidding!

10 Coins in Your Pocket That Could Be Worth Good Money

In these days of virtual payment methods, pocket change may seem like more of a nuisance than a potential source of wealth. However, that collection of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters may be hiding unknown treasures. The type of valuable coin you’re likely to find among modern examples are error coins, which have subtle differences from perfectly minted coins that make them attractive to collectors. You’ll have to have a sharp eye and a magnifying glass to spot the differences, but here are some that you might find lurking in your spare change:

  1. 1969-S Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – In a doubled-die coin, the die itself is made incorrectly, producing an image where elements are doubled. In this extremely rare example, every element on the obverse side except for the mint mark is doubled. Possible value: $35,000
  2. 1970-S Small Date Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – The doubling on the obverse of this coin is most clearly seen in the motto “In God We Trust” and in the letters “LIB” of “Liberty.” Possible value: $3,000
  3. 1972 Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – This example of a doubled die coin shows strong doubling on all elements on the obverse side of the coin. Authentic examples also have a tiny gouge near the edge of the coin above the letter “D” in “United.” Possible value: $500
  4. 1984 Double Ear Lincoln Penny – The doubled die error on this coin makes it appear that there is an extra earlobe below Lincoln’s ear on the obverse image. Possible value: $230
  5. 1995 Lincoln Penny with Doubled-Die Obverse – Many of these are still found in circulation today. Doubling is clearly seen in “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.” Possible value: $20 to $40
  6. 1999 Wide “AM” Reverse Lincoln Penny – On the reverse of a typical penny, the letters “A” and “M” in the word “America” are nearly touching. In this rare example, that gap is wider than usual because the mint mistakenly used a proof die to strike normal circulation coins. There are also examples of this coin dated 1998 and 2000, but ones from 1999 are the rarest. Possible value: $5 to $600
  7. 1982 No Mint Park Roosevelt Dime – U.S. coins are printed with a small single letter that indicates the mint where they were made (“S” for San Francisco, “P” for Philadelphia, and “D” for Denver). In 1982, the Philadelphia Mint forgot to add their mark to thousands of dimes. Possible value: $30 to $50
  8. 2004-D Wisconsin State Quarter with an Extra Leaf – Thousands of this state’s quarters somehow ended up with an extra leaf on the left side of the ear of corn featured in the design. Possible value: $200 to $300
  9. 2005 “In God We Rust” Kansas State Quarter – A grease build-up in the coin die led to an interesting typo on some of this state’s quarters. Not the most valuable error coin out there, but a definite conversation piece. Possible value: $100
  10. Presidential Dollar with Edge Lettering Errors – The U.S. began issuing dollar coins with images of our nation’s presidents in 2007. Each coin should have an inscription around the circumference of the coin, which is applied after the coin is struck. Examples with either missing or doubled inscriptions can be valuable. Possible value: $50 to $3,000 (depending on president and type of error)

Auction King seeks out unusual, interesting, and valuable collectibles to add to our inventory every day. We triple-check the authenticity of every item on our site so our customers can bid with confidence. Register today for a free online account to start bidding!