Michelle Knows Antiques is a great way to find the value of your antiques. Submit your antique for appraisal on our easy to use form. Here is a recent appraisal from Michelle’s column in Discover Vintage America:
Q: I have two pictures that are prints by an artist identified as Averill that hung in my home growing up. One is a white open rose and one of yellow roses. “Averill” is in the left hand corner and “Reliance Picture Frame Co 2-6-1942” is on the left hand corner of the prints. On the back of both is “439” and they were purchased for 49 cents at a Maxwell variety store with the number 1053 47 on the sticker. They are in their original frames. How can I go about determining their value.
A: Questions about this company and artist come up often and while I have never been able to locate much information on either. I will let you know what I have found. Reliance Industries of Chicago, IL was the parent company with several divisions going back to the late 1930s or early 1940s. They had the “Reliance Picture Frame Co.”, “Reliance Print Co.” and the “Reliance Co.” Basically, they purchased lithographs and prints in a variety of sizes at wholesale prices for resale to the public but they also had a staff of artists who would paint original pieces. Lithographs or prints were then made from the original paintings.
The prints, frames and prints in frames were sold through the local variety stores, Kreske, Woolworth, and Ben Franklin. They were inexpensive and for the most part very pretty prints in a variety of frame styles. You will see a quite a few paintings by known artists and then there is Averill. I have been researching Averill for years and cannot find any information indicating who this artist might be. My conclusion is that Averill was a staff artist and this was their alias or nom de plume.
Reliance Industries was purchased by Condecor Inc. around 1972. At some point in the 1980s Condecor Inc. became Decorel but I cannot find any further use of the Reliance name associated with this company. In 1995 Decorel was sold to a company, or person, named Newell. On your prints the date of printing is clearly noted, “2-6-1942”. The numbers on the back were internal company numbers to indicate either the print or the style of frame.
The average price on an Averill print in original frame in excellent condition is $30-$35.
note – All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawn shop prices are about ½ or less of resale value.