Heart-tugging cupid photo print has sentimental value to thousands of collectors.
Written at the bottom of this old picture, measuring about 25 by 21 inches, is “Cupid Awake” and “M.B. Parkinson.” The frame and backing are wood. I’d like to know its value.
—C.B., Kalamazoo, Michigan
What’s it Worth?
Your framed print is half of a sentimental set from New York photographer M.B. Parkinson. Both “Cupid Awake” and “Cupid Asleep” featured Josephine Anderson, the 4-year-old daughter of a friend, as the model. She continued modeling as an adult, and collectors seek out those later prints as well.
Parkinson sold the rights to his 1897 Cupid photographs to Taber Prang Art Co. In an ironic twist, Taber Prang refused Ohio Art’s $100,000 offer for the rights, only to see Ohio Art snap them up for just $10 in 1938 when Taber Prang went bankrupt. Ohio Art, today best known for making the Etch A Sketch, still holds the rights.
“Cupid Awake” captured people’s hearts with her sweet innocence, while “Cupid Asleep” showed her clinging to her arrows in slumber. The prints sold by the thousands and continue to sell today. You’ll find old or new ones in wood or metal frames, in oval or rectangular shapes and a variety of sizes. Yours is an earlier print, with oval oak frame and wood back, with estimated value of $65.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)