On July 31, 2014 at the J. Levine Auction titled Summer 2014 Catalog Auction, I purchased three framed prints (lots 6147, 6148 & 6158.) The lots were described as being from George Catlin’s work Native American Indian Collection, published by Day & Hagh [sic,] McGahey the lithographer. | Trusting in the description, I bid absentee from Texas. Once the items were recieved, I quickly determined that the prints were not published by Day & Hague, McGahey the lithographer (which would have been in 1844) but instead they were facsimilie reproductions published by the Swallow Press (Chicago) in 1970. I was able to determine this because the paper was clearly late 20th Century and the paper dimensions were 22 3/8″ x 17″ which were the exact Swallow Press Edition’s dimensions. I spent $1976.50 plus shipping for the three prints. Complete Swallow Press Editions which include all 25 prints sell for $750 (see Carpe Diem Fine Books, Monterey, CA.) | I contacted the auction house by phone immediately to report what I supposed was an honest mistake. After all, the prints were not examined out of the frames and had sterling provenance having come from the Bison Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona. My claim was met by immediate skepticism by the lady who took my call. She insisted that I hire a certified appraiser to support my claim and stated that whichever way that appraiser determined, I would not be compensated for the expense. I explained that I was the largest antique print dealer in Houston, Texas (in business for over 30 years) and that as such, it was I who was usually consulted by certified appraisers concerning research in this area. | On August 11, 2014, I emailed “Katie” at J. Levine Auction & Appraisal summarizing the incident as I have above. I explained that I was the aggrieved party and that I would place a claim with Visa for compensation and immediately return the items. Visa’s investigation sided with my claim. | Recently I was informed by another auction house that I had “one unpaid item strike with the low value of $10” that I must clear before being allowed to bid with them. This auction house suggested it was associated with J. Levine’s posting stating I did not comply with their terms & conditions. | The prints on which I successfully bid were not the only “Catlin” prints at the J. Levine Auction & Appraisal that day. Many others were sold to unsuspecting buyers. | I would like an apology from J. Levine Auction & Appraisal and the removal of the derrogatory posting and $10 claim. They should also contact all other successful bidders of these prints and inform them that they were sold facsimilie Catlin prints which J. Levine represented as original.
This review (J Levine Auction & Appraisal LLC) was originally published at Skeptic Files.
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