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Peter Helck Acrylic of Old #16


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In 1962 my father James McLean commissioned Peter Helck to paint an acrylic of Old #16 in the Vanderbilt Cup Races. The following acrylic painting which is 18.5 x 32 inches on a 26.5 x 40 board has been in our family since then. It is rare as it was copyrighted but never mass printed for the public. I also have the pencil sketches and a note from Peter Helck. It is time to find it's next custodian. This is in excellent condition. How would you value it? Where is the best place to offer it?

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If it were mine, I’d find an auction house specializing in art, and familiar with the artist.  They would authenticate it, and as a real Helck painting would fetch thousands.  Easy to Google, even the sketch has value, though it’s hurt by the careless smoker!  Good luck with finding a good home for it…

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I too think an auction house that deals with paintings is one data point you would want to get. Additionally I’d want to bring in one of the top auction houses for classic cars. They will bring a different perspective and frankly have in their database some clients who they know they can call for interesting things that allow you to own “one of one”.

 

I am a complete “rube” in my knowledge of original art pricing, so I have no idea of the value of the piece.   However, I would be curious about what price it brings. 
 

my gut tells me that with authentication of Peter Helck as the one who brushed it on, and the sketches......  someone with deep pockets who has “almost everything “ would chase after it. 
 

good luck and it would be great if you share with us how this turns out. 

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10 hours ago, John Bloom said:

I too think an auction house that deals with paintings is one data point you would want to get. Additionally I’d want to bring in one of the top auction houses for classic cars. They will bring a different perspective and frankly have in their database some clients who they know they can call for interesting things that allow you to own “one of one”.

 

I am a complete “rube” in my knowledge of original art pricing, so I have no idea of the value of the piece.   However, I would be curious about what price it brings. 
 

my gut tells me that with authentication of Peter Helck as the one who brushed it on, and the sketches......  someone with deep pockets who has “almost everything “ would chase after it. 
 

good luck and it would be great if you share with us how this turns out. 

I have correspondence with Tim Helck before he passed on noting the commission from my father. James McLean was a bit of a public figure as an executive at Shelby American and Hurst. He was very active in the horseless carriage club too. 

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David, what a great painting!   The sketch, although unfortunately damaged by a careless smoker, is part of the history of this great piece. The two items should not be separated.  It is unique and of a scene that is highly sought after.  Old Number 16 was a favorite subject, not only because of its historic significance but because the late Peter Helk was of course one its caretakers.  I've seen the car in person and it is simply a wonderful car, one of the most exciting things I've ever seen.  In my own collection I have a race program and photo taken at the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup race there on Long-Island.  The painting, especially being such a unique piece has great value in many ways.  Of course there are collectors of Peter Helk's work.  There are also Vanderbilt Race enthusiasts who collect. I'm going to email you through this site's Private Email system (referred to as "PM" for private message) with contact information for a collector I know who can provide some more information regarding its potential value.  He too is an enthusiastic collector and would represent a wonderful caretaker.  If eventually it needs to go to auction he might be able to make some recommendations.  Keep in touch and let me know if you have any difficulty connecting.

Best wishes,

Terry

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