Q: Please tell me the value of these gold etchings of Lionel Barrymore sketches and how to go about selling them.
A: Lionel Barrymore is best known for acting, but he was also an artist. Born April 28, 1878, he went to Paris to study art sometime in the mid-1890s.
He returned to the United States in the early 1900s to enter the family business of acting. He had his first role in a Broadway play in 1907, and his first credited film role came in 1908 with the silent film “Paris Hat.” Lionel Barrymore was not really happy with acting and could be found drawing between scenes on movie sets.
He did produce some etchings during his lifetime, and these can be valuable. But your prints were mass-produced years after the actor’s death in 1955 by Brown and Bigelow, which is a company best known for its production of calendars and promotional materials. Estimates of the prints’ age vary from the late 1950s to the 1970s.
The photos you sent are fuzzy, but we believe the Brown and Bigelow logo is in the lower-left corner of these images. The “Barrymore” pieces normally came in sets in a portfolio. They must have been printed in rather large numbers because they are available across the country.
At least one of the prints appears to be damaged. We definitely see four longitudinal creases in one print, and these will make the image practically worthless. The other print may be in good condition, but its monetary value for sales purposes is probably less than $50.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson have written a number of books on antiques.