First Edition David Roberts Lithographs have been highly collectible almost from the moment of their publication. This is in part due to their large format, which allows them to be displayed as significant works of art, but primarily it is due to their quality and beauty - they are considered some of the finest tintstone lithographs ever produced.
Some of the Top Egypt and Nubia Prints
Aboo Simbel (two large views & large interior)
|Philae (Views under the Portico, the Island of Philae, and the Hypaethral Temple)|
|Karnak (Large views of Hypostyle Hall)|
|Gizeh (Appproach of the Simoon, and the large views of the Pyramids and Sphinx)|
|Cairo (Silk Mercers Bazaar, Mosque Al Mooristan, Mosque of Metwaleys)|
|View Under the Portico of Edfou|
|Statues of Memnon During the Inundation|
|Some of the Top Holy Land Prints|
|Jerusalem (Mosque of Omar, and the large panoramas of the City)|
|Petra (El Khasne, El Deir)|
|Convent of St. Catherine (Principal Court, Mt. Horeb)|
Collecting Roberts Prints is generally done in one of two ways: collection of complete bound volumes of SE or RSE prints, or collection of individual prints for display or framing. To collect complete bound volumes has become an expensive proposition. A complete set of all 247 prints, typically in four or six volumes, will usually cost in excess of $80,000 at retail. The Egypt and Nubia volumes are considered to be more desirable as a whole than the Holy Land volumes - an Egypt and Nubia set would typically bring in the range of $50,000 at retail, with the Holy Land volumes selling at about $30,000. It is often difficult to find the very best full folio prints being sold apart from the bound volumes, and when they do come onto the market they are quite expensive. Serious collectors who wish to have the "top" prints for framing and display will sometimes buy the volumes for the purpose of extracting the top prints for their collections, selling off the rest of the images.
The relative values of the individual prints vary tremendously depending on the subject matter. As with different paintings from any individual artist, some of the images are simply more popular and critically acclaimed than others. The best full folios generally bring at least 3 times the price of the lesser full folios, and 4 times what the best half folios will bring. It is therefore important to buy from a reputable dealer to avoid overpaying for a less desirable image.
Prices continue to rise steadily, as the popularity of the prints seems to transcend fashion in print collecting, and the supply of volumes and prints is forever dwindling. It is very, very difficult to tell how many first edition originals of each print survive today, but a credible estimate would seem to be less than 1500 worldwide - how much less is unknown. Only a small portion of these come onto the market in a given year. The Approach of the Simoon is the signature and most valuable of all the prints. It is increasingly difficult to find this print being sold apart from the volumes, and its price in good condition will now typically exceed $7,000. The other top prints, which currently sell at retail in the range of $2,500 to $3,000 each (as of 2010), are shown in the table at right. For more information on pricing and values, see the online catalog section of this website.
While it is difficult to predict the future value of these prints, buying and holding quality artwork as an investment has proven to be a wise decision in the past. As seen in the framed RSE Principal Court of St. Catherine's below, they are beautiful investments that can be enjoyed while they appreciate in value.