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Fine Art/Edwin Deakin Paintings



I have two Edwin Deakin paintings and 5 studies which have been in my family and out of circulation for years.  One of the paintings is of the Customs House in Monterey, California which was done in the 1800's (as were they all).  The Customs House has great historical significance for California.  One of the studies is of Mount Tallac near Lake Tahoe and another of China Town in San Francisco.  The other painting is a still life of roses.  Deakin is famous for his paintings of the California missions and was a noted California artist.  A Customs House painting by E. Evelyn McCormick sold at Bonham's in December for $90,000.

I have appraisals of my paintings from about 20 years ago (California appraiser), and I assume they have appreciated considerably since then.

In your opinion, what would be the best way to sell these paintings, and what are the options?  About five or so years ago I discussed them with Butterfield's but was a little uncomfortable with that process because of all the fees and low reserve prices that were suggested.  My inexperience and lack of knowledge in this area makes me very cautious.  Is auction the best way to sell since it gets the most exposure?

I sincerely appreciate your thoughts.  Thanks in advance!

Dear Chris, Auction does get the most exposure, but what made you uncomfortable previously is worse now. Sellers' commissions are higher and they charge for everything: catalogue photos, insurance, packing and shipping, etc. Plus a long lead time until auction, 30 days or more for payment, and if buyer defaults they don't pursue the purchase.
Since so many dealers are buying at auction now, they will pay pretty much the same price as the auction would receive...and no commissions or waiting. And dealers are attracted to paintings that have been private for a while.
If you like, send images, sizes and any specific information to my email at
I will then have a better idea what to advise.

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Daniel A. Hynes


Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.


35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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