<<< Continued from previous page

N.C Wyeth, father of Andrew Wyeth, is another of the Brandywine illustrators.

He illustrated some 112 books, including Treasure Island, The Yearling and Robinson Crusoe. Wyeth, like the others, also used his talents to produce posters, calendars and advertisements.

All of the art by the Brandywine artists is instantly recognizable - diaphanous maidens with flowing hair, streams of golden sunlight, nature at it's most perfect, exuding a Pre-Raphaelite aura. Even a battered copy illustrated by a Brandywine artist will sell - and may work well as a breaker book. Since many Brandywine illustrations appear in poetry books, a quick spin through the 800s or the poetry section would also be in order. Look for Mother Goose books in the 398s, which is also where you'll find their fairy and folk tale efforts.

Edward Gorey, an illustrator who rose to prominence thanks in part to the PBS series Mystery, has an avid following.

Early on, Gorey worked at the Doubleday art department, illustrating books by other authors, and created dust jackets, most notably for children's author John Bellairs. Collectors will snap up books with Gorey dust jackets. In fact, this is one case where an ex-library copy of a book may be preferred, providing the dust jacket is protected by a Mylar and is absent a call number label. And do note in your auction if the dust jacket is pasted down or cut in any manner. Books with Gorey dust jackets will show up in the children's fiction or children's chapter book section of an FOL sale. If I run out of space in the title field when listing at eBay, I'll drop the author's name in favor of including "Edward Gorey." He is usually much more important than the beleaguered writer.

Gorey's art is instantly recognizable, being slightly gothic or darkly Victorian in appearance. There are many Gorey spin offs - T-shirts, tote bags, mugs, stationary and so on - all of which are good fodder for an eBay auction.

I always check the mug sections of thrift stores for those with literary tie-ins. You'd be amazed at how many there are. A true devotee of an illustrator will want as many examples of their favorite's work as possible. Granted, most don't sell for vast sums, but a minimal investment of a quarter or so can be parlayed, with little effort, into a $10 or $20 sale.

Everyone knows Dr. Seuss of Cat in the Hat fame, but not everyone knows that he got his start writing and illustrating advertisements and also did some propaganda and political cartoons during World War II.

He's responsible for coining the phrase "Quick, Henry, the Flit," which appeared in ads for 17 years. If you come across ca. 1930s issues of The Saturday Evening Post, flip through them for his artwork. It's pretty easy to spot if you are familiar with his children's books. You can find many examples of his work on eBay.

Another, more obscure artist, Boris Artzybasheff, illustrated an eminently forgettable 1928 Newbery award winner, Gay Neck, which is now more noteworthy for its art than its content.

He also did numerous covers for Time magazine, wrote and illustrated The Seven Simeons, and illustrated a version of Aesop's Fables which is highly collectible. Copies of Aesop's Fables are cataloged in the 398s, right along with the fairy and folk tales, and occasionally you'll find them in the fiction or short story section.

Generally speaking, you'll find copies of Heidi, Black Beauty, Treasure Island and other children's classics in the children's fiction/chapter books area. Always take the time to open the book and check for the illustrator. These sorts of books are easy to spot; often they are thick and appear in unattractive library bindings.

A few tips: Books with glossy illustrations are usually the most desirable. Also, in your auction description, it is helpful to specify how many illustrations are in color and how many are in black and white.

These days more and more FOL sales being overrun by groups of Scan Locusts. The children's section, however, is one area they tend to ignore - not enough bar codes! At your next FOL sale, wander over and peruse the kid lit. And always remember that you can't always tell a good seller by its cover, especially if you come across an ugly, buckram library binding.

Want to read more articles by
BookThink's Children's Book Editor, Guusje Moore?
Click here.
If you liked this article, Digg it!

 Subscribe in a reader