Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vintage Paint By Number Paintings on eBay

A picture is worth a thousand words, or maybe dollars on eBay. Well, not quite a thousand dollars but collectors are hunting for PBNs (Paint By Numbers) art. Yes, that’s right, the old, vintage (and sometimes ugly) kits you probably painted as a child. The kits were first developed in the 1950’s and contained a printed, numbered canvas and oil paints packaged in gelatin capsules with corresponding numbers. The popular companies were CraftMaster and Picture Craft. In the 1980’s collectors began scouting out the artwork and kits of these companies. Some galleries even had PBN shows and in 2001 the Smithsonian Museum held an exhibit which fueled the collecting even more.

Like many other collectibles, originals or firsts seem to draw the most interest by collectors. In this case, the 36 original designs of CraftMaster artist, Dan Robbins are truly considered fine art by some in the art world. The pieces of Adam Grant, another CraftMaster artist can bring anywhere from $40 to hundreds of dollars for first generation pieces. "Love Ballet", an 18" x 24" ballet scene, and "Ballet Intermission", 12" x 16", are two of his most popular first generation CraftMasters. His super CraftMaster masterpiece, "The Red Shoes", which measures 27" x 36" can bring close to $800.

Collecting today is often subject specific. There are collectors of cats, dogs, cows, flowers, birds, --almost anything is probably collected by somebody! Some '60s vintage pictures can be bought for two or three dollars. Thrift stores are still good sources, as are yard sales and flea markets but antique store owners often think they have a rare piece and are starting to raise prices. Limited edition series such as Dracula, the Mummy and Frankenstein are becoming more popular. Even unopened kits in mint condition sell very well.

What makes these folk art paintings unique and appealing? Experts think a desire to relive the memories of the past has created the appeal for vintage PBN paintings. It has a nostalgic feel.PBNs gave the average person the opportunity to experience art without having any artistic experience. Every piece is different even if there are millions of the same sets out there. Every person brought their own individual expression to how they painted them.Some painted outside the lines, changed the colors, added images, or painted over what they didn’t like so no two will ever be the same.

Here are a few recently completed PBNs on eBay:



Cowgirl PBN - Sold for $149.99




George Washington PBN - Sold for $87.72



Vintage Paint by Number - Sold for $76

There are all kinds of neat little profitable niche markets like this hiding on eBay. And who ever would have thought a simple hobby would produce such sought after art?

Ten Little-Known Highly Profitable Niche Markets on eBay

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