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I recently found four miniature portraits at the local flea market. I bought all for $15. They are pictured here. Three have ivory or ivory and wood frames (I know ivory will be an issue if I try to resell them); the fourth has a wood frame. I believe they are watercolor paintings on panels, probably ivory panels. Three have domed glasses; the one in the all-wood frame has a beveled glass and is the only one signed, though I can't make out the name. The images are all about 2 1/2"-3 1/2". There is some hand-written information on the back of a couple of them, but the only word I can make out is "Karolyn" on the back of the octagonal frame.

From what I can see on line, these miniatures are probably from the 19th century. Prices range from $50 or less up to many hundreds of dollars. I assume the value is much higher for known artists (signed or not) and known sitters.  But I'd be interested to know any thoughts of anyone who is familiar with this type of miniature, including date, relative quality, and value. Thanks.

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The frames appear to be bone, not ivory.  The "paintings" appear to be cut-outs from a magazine, likewise the wording on the reverse. The boy dressed in blue is Gainsboro's "Blue Boy".  The women could be wives of early USA presidents.

The pictures have minimal value; the frames if authentic could be worth researching.  If not bone, then they're plastic, made to look old.

Tom, there was already more of a discussion at this location:


As I mentioned previously, they are not cut-outs from a magazine. They are water color miniature paintings. I don't know for sure if the frames are bone or ivory, and I'm not sure it makes much difference, except for the difficulty of selling ivory. They are certainly not plastic. The use of cut-outs of old printed texts to back the pictures seems to have been typical for these; many such examples are found on line.


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